Guide

Help paying for childcare
Last updated: 15 October 2019

When funded early learning and childcare can start

Your local council will tell you what's available in your area.

If your child is eligible for funded early learning and childcare, they will start at the beginning of a school term, such as:

  • August (the beginning of autumn term)
  • January (the beginning of spring term)
  • March or April (the beginning of summer term)

When your child starts will depend on their birthday.

Birthday When your child can start funded early learning and childcare
Between 1 March and 31 August August (autumn term)
Between 1 September and 31 December January (spring term)
Between 1 January and last day February March or April (summer term)

If your child is still 4 years old on the date they are due to start primary school, you can defer your child's entry to primary school by a year.

If your child is deferring entry to school for a year, you can:

  • automatically get an extra year of early learning and childcare funding if their 5th birthday is in January or February
  • apply to your local council and request an extra year of funding if their 5th birthday is after the beginning of the autumn term, in August, and before 1 January - your local council will decide if your child will get an extra year of funding

Even if your child is not granted an extra year of funding, you can still choose to defer their entry to school for a year.

Learn more about when your child can start school.

Find a list of some of the organisations which can offer early years support here.