All 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to up to 15 hours’ free childcare over 38 weeks. Working parents who meet the criteria could be entitled to an extra 15 hours’ free childcare for their 3 and 4 year olds.

Are my children eligible for 30 hours’ free childcare?

You can check whether you are eligible (and apply for 30 hours’ free childcare) on the Childcare Choices website.

You must make the application the term before term starts, in order to receive funding. You can apply for the funding to start any term after your child turns three.

When will my child receive a free place?

Funding for 3 and 4 year olds will start from the term after your child’s 3rd birthday, as long as you have applied for your eligibility code by the end of the term before.

Children born between                      Free places start from

1 January to 31 March                                            Summer (from 1 April)

1 April to 31 August                                                Autumn (from 1 September)

1 September to 31 December                                Spring (from 1 January)

What types of childcare I can use?

You can use the 30 hours’ free childcare with approved childcare providers, who are registered to access Southend-on-Sea Borough Council early education funding.

These include:

  • Pre-schools
  • Day nurseries
  • Childminders
  • School nursery classes

There are many childcare providers in the borough of Southend, on the SHIP website.

How do I apply for 30 hours’ free childcare?

  • Look for a childcare provider at
  • Apply online for your eligibility code at
  • Take your code to your childcare provider
  • Ask your childcare provider how the free hours can be taken and about any extra charges that may apply in addition to the free hours or services

Watch the video HERE

For more details please click HERE.