Free early learning for two year olds

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News and Updates

Universal Credit: 

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.

You may also want to visit  This government webpage outlines a range of funding options which you may be entitled to. It also allows parents to sign up for updates and notifications on tax free childcare as well as other government childcare cost schemes. 

January 2018 update: Universal Credit are being rolled out in Derby in 2018 and the eligibility criteria for the two-year-old offer and EYPP for families who receive Universal Credits are currently subject to consultation


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, maintained nursery, playgroup, pre-school or with a registered childminder. If you do not want to use 15 hours straight away, you can always build this up over time and as your child gets older increase the amount of funded hours they use.

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

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)
  • Universal Credit (UC)
  • Income-based Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA)
  • Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Help from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) - section 95 part 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. All families are eligible for free three and four year old childcare, find out more about three and four year old childcare 

Getting a Place

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 applying online.

You may want to 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 using our contact details at the bottom of the page.

If you are finding it difficult to find childcare in your area, or that is appropriate to you families needs please complete this form and we will help you.

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.

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