Currently all three and four year olds are entitled to 15 hours a week of free early learning (from the term after their 3rd birthday).
From September 2017 this will be doubled to 30 hours for working families.
To qualify, both parents need to be working (or the sole parent must be working in a lone parent family) and each parent earns on average:
- a minimum equivalent to 16 hours per week at national minimum wage or national living wage
- less than £100,000 per year
Families where one parent does not work or neither parent works will not usually be eligible for the entitlement unless:
- both parents are employed but one, or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on maternity or paternity leave, adoption leave or statutory sick pay
- one parent is employed and one parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring
- one parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits