Free early learning for two year olds

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If parents are in receipt of Universal Credit (UC) then they will be entitled to Free Early Education Entitlement for their 2 year olds. This has come into place recently in May 2016 and will continue to help many families access that important childcare funding, that will positively impact their little ones development. To find out more, read the 'are you eligible' section below.

What is the free childcare offer for 2 year olds?

Did you know that your two year old could have up to 15 hours of free childcare each week? This could be used at a day nursery, playgroup, pre-school or with a registered childminder.

Quality early learning within settings can help your child:

  • learn
  • play
  • make new friends
  • experience new activities
  • get ready for school

It can also help you:

  • have more time
  • take up a college course
  • go back to work
  • meet other parents
  • get ideas of how to help your child play and learn

Please watch the folowing video to find out more about the free 2 year old childcare and how it can benefit you and your child 

Are you eligible?

Is your household income less than £16,190 and are you in receipt of of Universal Credit (UC) or Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit?

Or you must get at least one of these benefits:

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income-based Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA)
  • Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Help from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) - Section 6 only of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Pension Credit Child Tax Credit and / or Working tax Credits where your household income is £16,190 or less


Your two year old is looked after by the Derby City  Local Authority or has a Child Protection Plan. Children with adoption orders, residence orders or special guardianship orders are also eligible.


Your child has a disability and receives Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) / Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

If you are entitled, your child can start the term after they 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.

How to get a place and when do they start?

To find out if you are eligible, please contact The Family Information Service on 01332 640758. You can also check online from the comfort of your own home by visiting the Free Childcare Check. You may prefer to text START to 8727 or you can also apply within your local childcare settings and children's centres. Please note, any information you provide for the eligibility check will be treated in confidence and only used for checking if you qualify for free childcare and other funding opportunities. This information may be shared with HMRC and the Department for Education.

If you give your consent to these terms then please continue with your application. If you need to withdraw your consent at any time then please contact the Families Information Service.

Child's birth date

They 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.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions document for the answers to your questions about this offer.

Become a Parent Champion

Are you looking for a new and exciting volunteering opportunity that will help you in the future, and help other parents right now? When it comes to finding out about what is going on locally, parents are often the best people to help. You know all about those things that every parent needs to know because you have experienced it and can talk about them in a friendly and informal way, particularly if you used childcare, or if your child has any additional needs. We are looking for a handful of passionate parents to become our very own Parent Champions. You would volunteer a few hours each week at places where parents attend. If you might be interested in volunteering just a few hours by talking to other parents about childcare options/ what on in the community, then get in touch. In return you will gain valuable experience, friends, confidence and a referee for your future employment should you need it.

Find out what existing parent champions say.

We would love to hear from you!

Useful forms

Contact details

Post address:
Families Information Service
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street
Phone: 01332 640758
Families Information Service
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street