Free education places for early years have been opened.

Hertfordshire County Council are inviting people to apply for free early year's education places for children aged between three and five.

Children between these ages are entitles to 570 hours of free early education per year until they start school, but the council has extended this to 30 hours of free childcare per week, which equals 1,140 hours per year.

Cllr Terry Douris, who is responsible for education, said: "Hertfordshire benefits from an abundance of fantastic childcare providers located throughout the county.

"Early Years education plays a vital role in preparing young children for their entry into the school environment by providing a solid grounding in all aspects of physical, social and emotional development."

According to Ofsted, 96 per cent of all early years care providers in Hertfordshire are graded good or outstanding.

To find your nearest early years provider and for more information visit