Birmingham City Council

Free childcare for three and four year olds

Is your child three years old this year?

The early education entitlement (EEE) for children aged three and four years old can be accessed for up to 15 hours per week for a minimum of 38 weeks. This is from the school term after their third birthday until they start in Reception class.

When can my child receive their free place?

A child born between Will be eligible for a free place from
1st April to 31st August September
(The start of the Autumn term following their third birthday)
1st September to 31st December January
(The start of the Spring term following their third birthday)
1st January to 31st March April
(The start of the Summer term following their third birthday)

Who can provide the early education entitlement?

Childcare providers in the private, voluntary, independent and maintained sector, these include:
  • Full day care nurseries
  • Pre–schools
  • Playgroups
  • Nursery classes
  • Nursery schools
  • Childminders
  • Independent schools

The childcare provider has to register with Birmingham City Council and agree to certain terms and conditions. This includes being inspected by the Government inspectors Ofsted.

The Children's Information and Advice Service (CIAS) has a list of childcare providers available in your area and fact sheets on choosing childcare. Contact CIAS on tel: 0121 303 1888 or by email: familyinformation@birmingham.gov.uk.

Do I have to pay?

If your child only receives 15 hours of childcare then you do not have to pay anything. The childcare provider is responsible for claiming payment for your child’s place directly from Birmingham City Council. No vouchers or money will be given to you.

If your child is attending the provision for more than 15 hours you will be charged the childcare providers standard rate.

For information and advice on tax credits, visit www.hmrc.gov.uk/TAXCREDITS or contact your local children’s centre through the Children's Information and Advice Service.

Some full time places are available for three and four year old children who meet a specific admissions criteria. Full time places will be offered to eligible children in Local Authority provision in the first instance. Eligible children will only be able to take up a place in a private, voluntary or independent setting if Local Authority provision is full.

In order for schools, private, voluntary and independent sector providers to be able to offer a full time place to an eligible child, they must meet the quality criteria agreed by Birmingham City Council.

Can my child change childcare provision?

Not during the term unless it is an exceptional circumstance such as moving into Birmingham from another area.