Free Childcare Entitlement 

Great news! Parents of qualifying children can benefit from free childcare hours at Apple Blossom Day Nurseries.

We currently offer:

  • 15 hours free per week for qualifying 2 years olds.
  • 15 hours free per week for all 3 – 5 year olds.
  • 30 hours free per week for qualifying 3 – 5 year olds.

Regardless of which offer you want to take advantage of, the funding becomes available the term after your child reaches the appropriate age.

So, if your child turned 3 just before Christmas you’d be able to access the 3 year old funding from the January term. If they were born after the new term has started you have to wait until the next term starts to be able to access the free place.

2 year free places (15 hours)

Free 2 year old places are available subject to qualifying criteria. That normally means that you have to be in receipt of some sort of means tested benefit or your child will be accessing disability living allowance.

3 – 5 year old free places (15 hours)

Every child qualifies for 15 hours free from the age of 3, there are no qualifying criteria.

3 – 5 year old free places (30 hours)

30 hours per week free places are available for qualifying children. In order to qualify you must be working more than 16 hours per week and earning less than £100k per year. You’ll need to apply for a code from the local authority before the term starts. The cut off date for these codes is often several weeks before the new term.

When can I use my free hours?

You can use your free hours to attend sessions or days at Apple Blossom.

Free hours are calculated based on the regular academic terms. 3 terms per year, totalling 38 weeks. That means your entitlement is how many hours you are entitled to multiplied by 38 weeks.

With Apple Blossom you can choose to take the full entitlement (15 or 30 hours) during term time only. Or you can choose to stretch your hours over the year so that you child can continue to attend all year round, including school holidays.

Stretching your hours reduces the amount of hours each week as you annual hours are spread across the while year; this means 30 hours becomes 22 hours stretched and 15 hours becomes 11 hours stretched.

Things are changing

At present free childcare is only available for children aged over 2, but the government free entitlement to childcare is changing.

From September 2024, 15 hours of free childcare will be extended down to the age of nine months for working parents. From September 2025, working parents of children aged nine months and upwards will be entitled to 30 hours free childcare per week right up to their child starting school.

Apple Blossom will continue to offer free places as the government scheme evolves and this page will be updated to reflect those changes as they take effect.

Need help?

If you need any help at all or have any questions about free place entitlement please get in touch and we’ll be glad to talk through your own personal circumstances and help you access the funding you need. Either contact the Apple Blossom setting of your choice direct or email