Free early learning for two year olds

ContentsFlying Start

How do I apply for a place?

You can apply by completing our online form. You can also contact the Families Information Service on 01332 642610.

We will need to take your details, your child’s details, and your National Insurance number. Once we have this information we can check if you are eligible and send you confirmation.

Do I qualify for a free place for my two year old?

You can claim a free place for your child if you receive one or more of the following...

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income-based Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA)
  • Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Help from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS)
  • Pension CreditChild Tax Credit and / or Working tax Credits where your household income is £16,190 or less
  • Your child has a disability and receives Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) / Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • Your child is adopted
  • Or the child is looked after by Derby City Council.

When does my child qualify for a place and when can I apply?

If you are entitled, free early learning is available from the term after your child turns two and finishes at the end of the term in which your child turns three. You can then claim the three and four year old 15 hours of free early education.

You can use the table below to work out when your child's free place will start and end...

Child's birth dateThey are eligible for a free place from:Their free place ends:You can apply for a place from:
1st January and 31st March The beginning of the summer term (April) At the end of the spring school term as your child turns three 1st January, before the April you want to take up childcare in.
1st April and 31st August The beginning of the autumn term (September) At the end of the summer school term as your child turns three 1st May, before the September you want to take up childcare in.
1st September and 31st December The beginning of the spring term (January) At the end of the autumn school term as your child turns three 1st October, before the January you want to take up childcare in.

What do I do if I get a free two year old place?

  • If you are eligible we will send you a letter of confirmation and list of childcare providers that deliver two year old childcare places
  • Contact any providers on the list and arrange to visit, once you have decided which provider you want to use check if they have a place at the times you need.
  • Give your letter to your chosen childcare provider – they will let us know that you have taken the place for your child.
  • Once you have secured a place, your childcare provider will ask you to sign a parental contract to claim the funding and ask to see your child’s birth certificate or passport and a utility bill or bank statement showing your current home address.

You MUST have taken up your place by the time we complete a headcount of funded children. This is generally in January, April and September. If you haven’t signed a parental contract and started using childcare by headcount then you will not be able to take up your place that term.

What if I need more than 15 hours of childcare a week?

If you want more than 15 hours a week then you’ll have to pay for the extra hours. Talk to the nursery or provider that you’re using to check how and what they would charge for the extra hours.

Are these 'free' places totally free?

If you are just using the 15 hours of free early education, the only other thing you might have to pay for is your child’s lunch. You would need to talk to the early years provider you want to use about what options they offer and what the possible cost might be. Any extras should be agreed before your child takes up the place, and we would recommend that these extras are confirmed in writing.

If you’re paying for extra childcare then your provider might make you pay a registration or administration fee as well as paying for lunch.



Useful forms

Contact details

Post address: Families Information Service
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street
Phone: 01332 642610
Minicom: 01332 640666

Families Information Service
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street