Free Early Education


From the term after your child turns two, they might be able to have up to 15 hours a week of free flexible childcare, for 38 weeks per year. This is called Free Early Education and it is paid for by the government.

Attending early education at a registered provider, for example a nursery, playgroup or childminder, can help your child:

  • Make new friends and share
  • Build their confidence
  • Learn and develop

How to claim the free place

To claim the free place you will first need to check you are eligible, click here to go to the online Lancashire County Council eligibility checker.

Lancashire County Council will send you an email or letter if you can claim which you will take with you to book a place with your chosen childcare provider. You can use t

Am I eligible?

You can use the online checker one term before your child becomes eligible for a free place. If eligible, your child can start at any point in the term, as long as either you or your child meets one of the eligibility criteria.

You must be getting one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit and/or Working Tax Credit, and have an annual income (as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC)) that does not exceed £16,190
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit

If your child is eligible for other reasons, you'll need to be referred by a professional. Take a look at the table here that shows you the other ways you could be eligible and how to check if you are.

If you would like any further information take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions or contact the Lancashire County Council's Family Information Service.