Kent Children and Families Information Service

Registered early years childcare providers are required to offer what is known as the Early Years Foundation Stage.

This is the first stage of the National Curriculum and is called this because it aims to give children secure foundations for later learning. It builds on what children already know, their interests and what they can do and helps them to develop using play activities.

Your child is entitled to 12.5 hours, free early education per week for up to 38 weeks per year, funded by Kent County Council.

From September 2010 the hours are increasing from 12.5 to 15 hours per week for up to 38 weeks per year.


This funding starts the term following your child's third birthday. You can find out more and which childcare providers offer the service by calling the Kent Children and Families Information Service on 08000 32 32 30 .

When can my child start?
A child is eligible for the free entitlement in line with the DCSF table below:

  • 1 January to 31 March - Term beginning after Easter
  • 1 April to 31 August - Term beginning in September 
  • 1 September to 31 December - Term beginning after Christmas

Where can my child access his/her place?
Your child can access a place at any of the following:

  • Private day nursery
  • Pre-school playgroup 
  • Independent school 
  • Nursery school or nursery class in an infant or primary school including special schools 
  • Childminder who is part of an accredited network

However, providers must be registered with both OfSTED and Kent County Council to offer the service so please check directly with the provider or call the Kent Children and Families Information Service to find out.

What must I do to claim the Free, Early Education funding or to access my child’s free place?
Approach the provider of your choice to request a place after you have checked that they are registered with Kent County Council. When you have secured a place, Kent County Council will fund the provider directly.

What if I want more hours than my free entitlement?

If you want your child to have more hours per week you will have to pay the extra cost yourself.

When does the extension to the amount of hours start?

From September 2010 the amount of hours your child can have increases from 12.5 to 15. For more information on this please contact the Kent Children and Families Information Service.

Where can I get more information about the Early Years Foundation Stage?

The Government’s Department for Children, Schools and Families has published an information pack and leaflet for parents. This is available from the DCSF website.

Children and Families Information Service
08000 32 32 30

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