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Free places for 2 year olds

Two year olds who live in households which meet the eligibility criteria are entitled to free childcare places of up to 15 hours a week over 38 weeks. This is a total of 570 hours in each 12 month period from the school term after their second birthday.

In order to qualify, parents must be in receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • tax credits and have an annual income under £16,190 before tax
  • the Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • the Working Tax Credit 4 week run-on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit


one of the following must apply:

  • the child has a current statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care plan
  • the child gets Disability Living Allowance
  • the child is looked after by a local council
  • the child has left care under a special guardianship or an adoption or child arrangements order

When should I apply for 2 year old funding?

The ideal time to apply is the school term before your child’s second birthday. You can apply before or after this, however we are unable to confirm eligibility before the child’s second birthday.

I am eligible - what happens next?

You will receive a letter confirming your eligibility for the funding.

Give the tear off slip on the bottom of the confirmation letter to your childcare provider to start claiming funding.

Please note: not all providers accept 2 year old funding. If you need assistance finding a childcare provider who takes the two year old funding, please contact our Two Year Old Outreach Worker by:

I am not eligible - what happens next?

We will write and let you know that you are not eligible for funding. More information on help with childcare costs is available on the government’s website Childcare Choices

What happens when my child turns 3?

All children are entitled to free early education funding from the term after their third birthday; this is known as the universal entitlement. A child in receipt of 2 year old funding will automatically transfer to the universal entitlement the term after their third birthday.

Contact Information

Display Name Family Information Service

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