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Three and four year old free nursery places
All three and four-year-olds in Medway are entitled to 15 hours
of free nursery education for 38 weeks of the year.
Children in Medway can receive their free nursery education:
Some nurseries, pre-schools and most childminders operate for
longer than 15 hours a week and/or more than 38 weeks per year. At
some of these you may be asked to pay a fee for the extra hours or
days that your child attends.
- A child born on or between 1 April and 31 August will become
eligible for a free place from 1 September following their third
- A child born on or between 1 September and 31 December will
become eligible for a free place from 1 January following their
- A child born on or between 1 January and 31 March will become
eligible for a free place from 1 April following their third
Your child will be entitled to a free part-time place from the
beginning of the school term (one, three or five) when they have
reached the eligible age. Find out the school term
Once your child enters the reception class of a
primary school, the nursery education arrangements will stop.
List of nurseries, pre-schools and accredited childminders
Get a list of
pre-schools and childminders
in your area from the Medway Family Information Service or by using
the contact details below.
If the group your child attends opens for less that 38 weeks
each year, a proportion of the funding is still available. However,
if you choose to use a setting that is only open for a shorter
period each term you will not be entitled to a free place at
another group for the remainder of the 38 weeks and you would need
to pay any fees that are charged.
What you need to do
You do not need a voucher or to register your child with the
Find out about the different schools, nurseries, pre-schools and
childminders in your local area and choose one that best suits you
and your child. If you phone the FIS on 01634
335566, it will provide you with a list of childcare
options for your area.
Talk with the person in charge, who will tell you when your
child can start their free part-time place. Make sure you
know about whether there are any additional things such as care
during school holiday periods, or full time hours to suit working
parents, that you may need to pay for.
How it works
Medway Council provides funding to nurseries, pre-schools and
accredited childminders so that your child's place of up to 15
hours per week will be completely free of charge to you.
Groups must not make any charge for the first 15 hours nursery
education. They should not charge parents fees in advance for the
free hours, even if they offer to refund them at a later date.
At the beginning of terms one (September), three (January) and
five (April), the nursery provides the council with a list of all
eligible children. Payment is made directly to the nursery's
bank account or to the childminder.
Attending more than one group
For most children it is best if they only attend one pre-school
or nursery. However, there may be situations that mean your
child needs to spend time in more than one group - for example if
they live at different addresses for part of each week, or if you
have work commitments.
Your child can receive their funded hours at two different
groups (for example six hours at one pre-school and nine hours
in a maintained school nursery class). It is important that you
tell the person in charge if your child is attending more than one
group when you first enrol. Attending more than one pre-school or
nursery can be difficult for a young child, and they will be able
to help your child.
Changing groups during the same term
If you need to change the group your child attends, it is best
to arrange this move at the start or end of a term. You should give
your nursery provider plenty of notice that your child will be
leaving so that they can help provide a smooth transition.
If your child changes the group they attend during
term-time (for example if you move home), you must ensure that you
have given the agreed notice to your nursery provider so that your
child's free entitlement may be transferred to the new group.
Free nursery places pilot for two-year-olds
The government is planning to introduce part-time nursery
education of children aged two years who live in low-income
households. This is scheduled to start in
Medway Council is piloting free places for two-year-olds in a
small number of settings across Medway. During 2012
places are very limited and cannot be guaranteed. Please
speak with your local Sure Start Children's Centre who will tell you
what is happening in your local area. Alternatively, contact the
Family Information Service, using the details below, for your
nearest provider offering free places for two-year-olds.
Your child may be eligible for some free childcare if your
family is getting at least one of the following benefits:
Family Information Service free nursery education for three and
four-year-olds leaflet (pdf 237KB). To download this pdf you
will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have it on your
computer, please use our advice page.
Please access the Family
Information Service Directory for further information on Early
Years and Childcare.
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