Every child aged three and four is eligible to access free early education. The free places are available in settings that are Ofsted registered and are on the local authority register of eligible providers.

The funding allows you to access up to 15 hours per week during school term time (38 weeks per year).  The hours can be spread  over more weeks of the year, up to a total of 570 hours.

More information can be found in a parent’s guide to free early education for three and four year olds.(PDF 3.38MB)


Some three and four year olds can now access the equivalent of 30 hours free childcare a week.

All three and four year olds are entitled to 15 hours per week, for 38 weeks per year from the start of the term following their 3rd birthday. From September 2017 this increased to 30 hours per week for those children whose parents meet the national eligibility criteria.

There is more information on the Childcare Choices website where working parents can check their eligibility and make an application.  There is also a childcare calculator to show eligible families how much they could receive.

Every three months parents are required to reconfirm that they are still eligible for 30 hours and Tax Free childcare.  If a parent’s details have not changed they only need to tick a box in their childcare service account to confirm their details remain the same.

Parents should receive two reminders to reconfirm (4 weeks and 2 weeks before the reconfirmation deadline).

If a parent misses the reconfirmation deadline they will receive a message telling them that they are no longer eligible for 30 hours and Tax Free childcare.  When a provider validates the parents code it will show that they are in their ‘grace period’, which means the child will be able to continue to access their 30 hours place until the end of the term.  To take up a place in the following term parents will need to reconfirm.  This can be done through their childcare service account even if they have missed their reconfirmation deadline.

If you have set up an account but are unsure how to access it, please take a look here.

As you will be aware, some parents have been unable to access Tax Free Childcare through their childcare accounts for technical reasons.  These parents may be able to claim compensation, and get the government top-up as a one-off payment. There is also the possibility of the government refunding costs caused by the service not working as it should.

HMRC has put together some guidance on how parents should go about claiming compensation.

Here is a list of Bolton providers who are offering 30 hour free childcare places.

If you have any questions about the online application process please contact HMRC on 0300 123 4097 as Bolton Council staff are not able to assist with this process.

Nursery Admission Arrangements

Is there an application form I need to complete?

The application form that the parents/carers will be required to complete when requesting admission to a new school can be found below.

 Admission Primary Form Part 1
 Admission Primary Form Part 2

The Achievement Cohesion and Integration Service (ACIS) supports families who are new to the UK and speak English as an additional language (EAL), including families from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities to apply for school places in Bolton.