Free early education and childcare

2 year olds

15 hours per week free childcare is available for 2 year olds who meet the below criteria. Eligibility is based on combined household circumstances.
Your 2 year old can get free childcare if you get any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit (or both), and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • 2 year olds can also get free childcare if they:
  • are looked after by a local authority
  • have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • get Disability Living Allowance 
  • have left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order

If you’re a non-UK citizen who cannot claim benefits, you may still get free childcare for your 2 year old if your household income is less than:

  • £34,500 for families with one child
  • £38,600 for families with two or more children

You must have no more than £16,000 in savings or investments.

Apply for free childcare for 2 year olds

You can apply by contacting an approved childcare provider in the borough which is registered to offer free places for 2 year olds.

They will ask you to provide proof of eligibility, for example a benefit award letter or they can request an eligibility check on your behalf. They will also let you know when the funding can start.

Find a free childcare provider

When will my child be eligible for the free entitlement?

Child born between Term they can start
1 September and 31 December is eligible from January Spring Term
1 January and 31 March is eligible from April Summer Term
1 April and 31 August is eligible from September Autumn Term