Early education places and funding

All three- and four-year-olds and some two-year-olds in England are entitled to 15 hours of funded early education and childcare each week for 38 weeks of the year.

Funded early education and childcare is provided by a range of different early years settings and childminders around North Yorkshire, such as:

  • nursery schools;
  • nursery classes in schools and academies;
  • governor-run early years provision;
  • day nurseries;
  • pre-schools;
  • childminders; and
  • private daycare providers on children's centre sites.

You can view a map showing the location of early years settings and childminders around the county here.

Information about the different types of funding

Jump to two year old funding

Jump to three and four-year-old funding

Jump to 30 hours extended entitlement


Some two-year-olds in England are entitled to funded early education and childcare. There are eligibility criteria that you must meet, details of which are below. You can claim up to 15 hours per week for up to 38 weeks of the year.

To be eligible for a funded two-year-old place, you must receive one of the following benefits or credits:

  • Income Support;
  • Child Tax Credit and have a joint annual income not over £16,190;
  • Working Tax Credits and have a joint annual income of no more than £16,190;
  • The Working Tax Credit four-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA);
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA);
  • Universal Credit - from 1 April 2018, if you are entitled to Universal Credit you must have an annual net earned income equivalent to and not exceeding £15,400, assessed on up to three of your most recent Universal Credit assessment periods;
  • Support through part six of the Immigration and Asylum Act; or
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit.

Contact the early years funding team on 01609 532394 if:

  • Your two-year-old child receives Disability Living Allowance; or
  • From 1 April 2018, if your two-year-old child has an education, health and care plan prepared under section 37 of the Children and Families Act 2014.

Children looked after by a local authority (under section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989, see explanation below), such as with foster carers, are also entitled to a funded two-year-old place. Children are also eligible if they are no longer looked after by a local authority as a result of an adoption order, a special guardianship order or a child arrangement order (within the meaning of section 8(1) of the Children Act 1989) which relates to either or both of the following:

  • with whom the child is to live; or
  • when the child is to live with any person.

Looked after children are children who are provided with accommodation by a local authority for more than 24 hours on a voluntary basis or who are under a care order. The child may be living with foster carers, in a residential home or with parents or other relatives.

To confirm your place please contact the early years funding team on 01609 532394.

Please note, even if you have been confirmed as eligible for two-year-old funding by another local authority, you must still apply for funding with North Yorkshire if you would like to send your child to a North Yorkshire childcare provider.

If you are resident outside of North Yorkshire, i.e. you pay your council tax to a different authority and you want your child to attend a North Yorkshire provider, please contact the families information service on 01609 533483 or email fis.information@northyorks.gov.uk.

You can check if your child is eligible and apply for two-year-old funding here:

Apply for two-year-old funding

If you have any queries, please contact the families information service on 01609 533483 or email fis.information@northyorks.gov.uk.

If your child is eligible, you can take up their place from the beginning of the term after their second birthday. The date you can claim will depend on when their birthday is.

Child's birthday When you can claim We must receive applications by
1 January to 31 March the beginning of term on or after 1 April Last week in April
1 April to 31 August the beginning of term on or after 1 September Second week in September
1 September to 31 December the beginning of term on or after 1 January First week in January

If you require additional hours of childcare over and above the funded 15 hours you will be able to discuss the charges for this with your childcare provider.

You may not be able to apply until three months before you are eligible, the system will not allow you to apply too early. Please refer to age guide above.

To offer two-year-old places, providers must have been:

  • judged 'good' or 'outstanding' at their most recent Ofsted Inspection; or
  • for a North Yorkshire County Council locality sufficiency assessment to have determined that a provision judged to be 'requires improvement' but not yet re-inspected by Ofsted is able to offer funded places during a period of improving practice under review.

To guarantee your place the early year providers must see the confirmation letter about two-year-old funding from us. You will receive this by post or email after you apply.

All three- and four-year-olds

All three- and four-year-olds are entitled to funded early education and childcare for 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year. This is known as universal funding. Some families will be eligible for an additional 15 hours funding, which is known as extended entitlement funding, and needs to be applied for through HMRC. You can read more about eligibility criteria and how to apply for the additional hours further down this page. Your child can take up their funded place from the beginning of the term after their third birthday. The Government funding for your child's funded entitlement is paid directly to the provider. You should discuss how you are able to take up your child’s funded hours directly with you chosen childcare provider.

If you require additional childcare over and above the funded entitlement of 15 hours, or 30 hours if eligible, you will be able to discuss any charges for this with your childcare provider. You do not need to apply for the 15 hours of universal funding. To claim this simply talk to your childcare provider.

The date you can claim will depend on when your child turns three years old.

Child's third birthday When you can claim
1 January to 31 March the beginning of term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August the beginning of term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December the beginning of term on or after 1 January

Example: if your child was born on 15 April 2015. They'll become eligible to claim funded childcare from the start of term following 1 September 2018.


Three- and four-year-old children will be eligible for disability access funding if they meet the following criteria:

  • the child is in receipt of child disability living allowance and;
  • the child is accessing funded childcare at a North Yorkshire early years funded provider.

To claim this funding you must tell your childcare provider that your child is currently in receipt of Disability Living Allowance. You will be required to name the specific childcare provider and provide them with a current Disability Living Allowance award letter to enable the claim to be made.


The childcare provider (nominated by the parent on parental agreement) will be entitled to receive a one-off payment of £615 in a financial year (April to March). This additional funding is intended to help to eliminate barriers that may prevent children in receipt of Disability Living Allowance from accessing their funded place. You should discuss directly with your childcare provider how this funding is to be used.

Please note, a child is only eligible if they are currently in receipt of disability living allowance and will not be granted this funding if the award letter is not produced.

Disability access funding is not available for two-year-old children.

Early education providers are regulated and inspected by Ofsted. You can find out more about their inspections and read their inspection reports on the Ofsted website.

Extended 30 hours childcare entitlement for three- and four-year-olds

Some families are able to claim 30 hours of funded childcare, instead of the universal 15 hours that is available to all three- and four-year-olds. This supports working parents with the affordability of childcare and enables parents to work, or to work more hours.

Families in North Yorkshire who meet the eligibility criteria may be entitled to access an additional 15 hours of funded childcare each week.

Eligibility criteria

The national eligibility criteria which families need to meet are:

  • both parents must be working (or the sole parent if in a lone parent family);
  • each parent must have a weekly minimum income equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage or national living wage; and
  • each parent must have an income less than £100,000 per year.

You would also fit the criteria if:

  • both parents are employed but one (or both) is temporarily away from the workplace on maternity, paternity, parental or adoption leave, or on statutory sick pay;
  • one parent is employed and one parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring; or
  • one parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits.

Parent's eligibility for the autumn term will be checked using the HMRC online application system.

    Further information on eligibility

    A 'parent' is defined as a person who has parental responsibility or care for the child. In cases where a parent has remarried or is living with a partner, the step-parent or partner must also meet the earnings threshold.

    The definition of 'working' includes employed persons, self-employed persons and parents on zero hours contracts who meet the above criteria.

    • All three- and four-year-old children are entitled to the universal 15 hours funding per week, regardless of a parent's income.
    • Please check that your chosen provider can offer the 30 hour extended childcare entitlement. Being eligible does not mean that a child will be guaranteed a place.
    • Children in a maintained reception class are not eligible for the 30 hour extended childcare entitlement.
    • Foster carers are eligible for the extended entitlement if they meet the criteria set out above for their own children.
    • Foster carers who look after early years children from the term after their third birthday can now apply for the 30 hours extended entitlement if they are in paid work outside of their fostering responsibilities. Foster carers will apply via a manual process through the early years funding team, ensuring that applying for the extended entitlement does not impact on the child’s care plan.
      The supervising social worker and the child’s social worker will support the declaration as applicable on a case by case basis and the early years funding team will process each application via the eligibility checking service to generate an eligibility code, which the foster carer will then take to their early years childcare provider to be validated as normal.

      Foster carers should contact the families information service on 01609 533483 for more information and support.

    • Two parent families where one parent does not work (or neither parent works), or lone parents who do not work will not be eligible for the extended entitlement.
    • Where one parent is working (and meets the income requirements) and the other is not working because they are disabled or are in receipt of benefits relating to caring responsibilities or a disability (e.g. in receipt of carer's allowance), we will treat these households as eligible.

    To apply for your extended entitlement you will need to:

    • Access the Childcare Choices website and create an account.
    • Enter your details - if you are eligible you will then receive an 11 digit code (you may be asked for additional information at this stage before the code is issued).
    • You must take this code to your early years provider or school.
    • Your provider or school will then validate this code with the council before your early education and childcare place is agreed.
    • You will also need to re-confirm your code every three months.

    Dates by which you need to apply for your 30 hour code for 2019 terms:

    • for the Spring term 2019, from 1 January - apply by 31 December 2018
    • for the Summer term 2019, from 1 April - apply by 31 March 2019
    • for the Autumn term 2019, from September - apply by 31 August 2019

    The 30 hour code application deadlines have been set by the Department for Education. We recommend that you apply at least three weeks before the deadline date, in case of any delays when receiving your code. Your childcare provider may have set their own deadline for validating 30 hour codes prior to the beginning of each term, particularly providers who are closed for the Summer holidays, for funded places beginning in September. Please discuss with your childcare provider when you are required to provide them with your 30 hour code, in order to ensure your child will receive the funding.

    Tax-free childcare and 30 hours funded childcare are two separate government schemes that may help parents with the cost of childcare. You can apply for both through one online application via the childcare service.

    To qualify for either scheme, parents must be working and each earning at least £120 a week (on average) and not more than £100,000 each a year.

    Parents can use tax-free childcare alongside the 15 and 30 hours free childcare schemes in England, or any free childcare hours provided by the Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish governments.

    Parents can't use tax-free childcare at the same time as they receive childcare vouchers, Universal Credit or tax credits. However, 30 hours funded childcare can be accessed alongside these schemes.

    When you apply, you'll be considered for both of these services through the same application. You can check the funding available to help you with childcare costs and apply for funding through the Childcare Choices website.

    To access your account and to view your eligibility codes for free childcare, visit the site below and sign in. You will be asked some security questions and to provide your Government Gateway ID, which you will have received when you applied. Once logged in, you can find your codes under "30 hours free childcare" or "Secure messages". 

    Sign in to childcare service account

    If you have concerns about finding childcare to access your extended entitlement please contact the families information service:

    Email: fis.information@northyorks.gov.uk
    Telephone: 01609 533483
    Mobile: Text “info” to 07624 802425

    Further information about early education places and funding

    Once you have chosen the place for your child, you will be asked to sign a parental agreement that says when your child will attend.

    This agreement will run for at least a school term and possibly for the whole school year. Once you register for early education funding through your child's provider, we will pay the grant directly to them.

    Every early learning provider has an admissions policy that clearly states how they offer free learning and childcare places. You may wish to ask for a copy of this.

    It is likely to be some time before the number of nursery places in local authority-maintained nursery schools and classes matches demand. Priority for admission is in the following order:

    First: children with a statement of special educational needs.

    Second: children who are recommended by the assistant director of children's social care, including children in the care of the local authority, or by the appropriate designated medical officer. We will only consider applications in this category if they are supported by a recommendation from a doctor, social worker or other appropriate professional which says that it is essential for the child to go to the preferred school and no other.

    Third: children from homes with poor conditions or overcrowding, or from a background which could affect their educational development. This should be supported by the recommendation of a doctor, social worker or other professional.

    Fourth: children within the normal area of the school, giving priority to the eldest child first.

    Fifth: children from outside the school's normal area, giving priority to those whose home is nearest the school. 

    If you would like us to consider your child for a local authority-maintained nursery place, first speak to the headteacher of the school.