Funded early learning for two year olds

Early learning childcare encourages your child to:

  • 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.

Your two year old can get funded early learning and childcare if you live in England and if you claim one 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
  • Child tax credits or Working tax credits (but not both) and you have an income of £16,190 or less a year, before tax
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

Or your two year old:

  • Is looked after by a local authority
  • Has a statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • Gets Disability Living Allowance
  • Has left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order

Or if you’re a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits:

Your 2-year-old may get funded childcare if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act and have either:

  • Claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as 'part 6')
  • Been refused asylum in the UK (known as 'section 4')

A 2-year-old you care for may also get funded childcare if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and you have any of the following:

  • Leave to remain with 'no recourse to public funds' on family or private life grounds
  • Support from your local council because you have ‘a child in need’, for example they have a disability or a child protection plan
  • The right to live in the UK because you’re the main carer of a British citizen (known as a 'Zambrano Carer')

If you are entitled, your child can start the term after they turn two and finish at the end of the term in which they turn three. All families are eligible for funded three and four year old childcare, find out more about three and four year old childcare.

  • If your child's birthday falls between 1st January and 31st March, they are eligible in the summer term after their second birthday.
  • If your child's birthday falls between 1st April and 31st August, they are eligible in the autumn term after their second birthday.
  • If your child's birthday falls between 1st September and 31st December, they are eligible in the spring term after their second birthday.

To find out if you are eligible, contact the Family Information Service on 01332 640758. You can also apply online from the comfort of your own home.

You can also visit the government's Childcare Choices website which outlines a range of other funding options you may be entitled to. It has a childcare calculator to give you an estimate of how much help you could get with childcare costs. Parents and carers can sign up for updates and notifications on tax free childcare as well as other government childcare cost schemes.

Have a look at our childcare directory to see all the providers offering two year old places in your area.

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