Free early education and childcare for 2 year olds

Did you know that some children who are aged 2 years of age can access 15 hours of free early education and childcare?

Who is this for?

Currently the criteria for 2 year olds in England to get free early education and childcare is the following:

All 2 years old who are looked after by the Local Authority (LA).

Those 2 year olds whose parent/carers are in receipt of one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income based Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit and have an annual income not over £16,190
  • Working Tax Credits and have annual gross earnings of no more than £16,190 per year
  • Universal Credit
  • If the child has a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan
  • If the child is eligible for Disability Living Allowance
  • If the child has left care through special guardianship, child arrangements order or through an adoption order.

If your child is eligible, you can start claiming free early education after your child turns two. The date you can apply will depend on when their birthday is as proof of eligibility only lasts for two months from the day of application.

Eligibility
A child turns 2 in the periodApplication periodChild will be eligible for a funded place from the start of: 
1st April to 31st August 1st July - 31st August 1st Sept (Autumn term)
1st Sept to 31st Dec 1st Nov - 31st Dec  1st January (Spring term)
1st Jan to 31st March 1st Feb - 31st March  1st April (Summer term)

Am I eligible?

To find out if your child is eligible please complete the online application form below or visit your local children's centre. 

How do I find a place?

The Family Information Service Directory has a list of all the childcare services that offer the free entitlement.

Parents and carers can search this list by area to find the nearest childcare providers. 

Alternatively parents can contact the Family Information Service who will be able to provide a list of places best suited to you.

Once you know which childcare provider you are interested in you should contact them directly to visit and enrol your child.

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