Last updated: 16 October 2023

Next review: 16 October 2024

You do not need to apply for the universal 15 hours of free childcare for your child. Your childcare provider will claim the funding on your behalf directly from Waltham Forest Council.

All 3 and 4-year-olds are entitled to 570 hours of free early education per year. It’s usually taken as 15 hours a week over 38 weeks of the year (split into three terms).

However, if your child‘s provider is open all year round, such as a day nursery, the free hours will be spread equally over those weeks. For example, if your child attends a provider that is open for 51 weeks a year, they will receive 11 hours a week.

National limits
National limits are set by the government about how the free sessions can be offered meaning that:

  • no session can be longer than 10 hours
  • a maximum of 15 hours per week can be taken over a minimum of two days

You should discuss with each provider that you contact how they will spread the free hours over the week. Some may offer specific packages, whereas others may be flexible to your requirements. Please note, if you require extra hours of childcare, you will be charged for this.