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Funded early learning and childcare

Funded early learning and childcare is free to parents, but funded by the Scottish Government.

You can get up to 1,140 hours of funded early learning and childcare a year (around 30 hours a week in term time) if your child is 3 or 4 years old. You may be able to get more funded hours in your area, or access them earlier as the Scottish Government is adding more funded hours.

Visit your local council's website to find out what is available in your area.

Visit Aberdeen City CouncilVisit Aberdeenshire CouncilVisit Angus CouncilVisit Argyll and Bute CouncilVisit Clackmannanshire CouncilVisit Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council)Visit Dumfries & Galloway CouncilVisit Dundee City CouncilVisit East Ayrshire CouncilVisit East Dunbartonshire CouncilVisit East Lothian CouncilVisit East Renfrewshire CouncilVisit Edinburgh CouncilVisit Falkirk CouncilVisit Fife CouncilVisit Glasgow City CouncilVisit Highland CouncilVisit Inverclyde CouncilVisit Midlothian CouncilVisit Moray CouncilVisit North Ayrshire CouncilVisit North Lanarkshire CouncilVisit Orkney Islands CouncilVisit Perth and Kinross CouncilVisit Renfrewshire CouncilVisit Scottish Borders CouncilVisit Shetland Islands CouncilVisit South Ayrshire CouncilVisit South Lanarkshire CouncilVisit Stirling CouncilVisit West Dunbartonshire CouncilVisit West Lothian Council

There are different funded childcare schemes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If your child is 2 or almost 2 years old

Once your child qualifies for early learning and childcare, they'll stay qualified - even if you get a job or if your situation changes in other ways.

Local councils may offer funded early learning and childcare to people who do not meet the criteria on this page. Check with your local council to find out what happens in your area.

Funded early learning and childcare is available for 2 year olds who have experience of care. This includes children who either:

If you as a parent have experience of care, your 2 year old can also access funded early learning and childcare. If you think you qualify or want more information, contact your local council.

Your 2 year old can also get funded early learning and childcare if you get one of these benefits:

  • Income support
  • Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance 
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • State Pension Credit
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (Support for Asylum Seekers)

If you receive tax credits or Universal Credit, then you can earn a certain amount of money and still be eligible. These income thresholds change annually.

From 1 April 2022, if you are on Child Tax Credit:

  • but not Working Tax Credit, then your earnings can be £17,005 or less
  • and Working Tax Credit, then your earnings can be £7,920 a year or less

If you are on Universal Credit, then your household take-home pay can be £660 a month or less.

"Take-home pay" is the money your household receives from work after tax, National Insurance and any pension contributions have been taken off. Your award letter will tell you how much your take-home pay is for the claim period. This should be £660 a month or less.

How to claim your funded early learning and childcare place

Visit your local council's website to find out how to claim your funded early learning and childcare place.

Visit Aberdeen City CouncilVisit Aberdeenshire CouncilVisit Angus CouncilVisit Argyll and Bute CouncilVisit Clackmannanshire CouncilVisit Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council)Visit Dumfries & Galloway CouncilVisit Dundee City CouncilVisit East Ayrshire CouncilVisit East Dunbartonshire CouncilVisit East Lothian CouncilVisit East Renfrewshire CouncilVisit Edinburgh CouncilVisit Falkirk CouncilVisit Fife CouncilVisit Glasgow City CouncilVisit Highland CouncilVisit Inverclyde CouncilVisit Midlothian CouncilVisit Moray CouncilVisit North Ayrshire CouncilVisit North Lanarkshire CouncilVisit Orkney Islands CouncilVisit Perth and Kinross CouncilVisit Renfrewshire CouncilVisit Scottish Borders CouncilVisit Shetland Islands CouncilVisit South Ayrshire CouncilVisit South Lanarkshire CouncilVisit Stirling CouncilVisit West Dunbartonshire CouncilVisit West Lothian Council
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