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Early education and childcare for children is funded by the UK Government for children in England. The child’s age will determine which scheme applies and whether childcare is universally available or only available to eligible children.  

Government funded early education and childcare is not classed as a public fund for immigration purposes, so can be accessed by a child regardless of their immigration status. However, some schemes have eligibility requirements relating to the immigration status of the parent(s) and so may not be available to all families. 

The different rules for each scheme are set out on the following pages according to the child’s age. This information applies to schemes in England unless stated otherwise.

Information about funded early education and childcare in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is provided by the respective governments: