Free Early Years Education for 2 Year Olds

Quality early years care can help your child:

  • Learn
  • Play together with friends
  • Experience new activities
  • Get ready for school

It can also:

  • Give you more time
  • Help you take up a College course
  • Help you go back to work
  • Give you ideas of how to help your child play and lear

If your child is aged two, you can get 15 hours of free early education per week at a childminder, nursery or pre-school, provided that you are receiving either:

  • Working Tax Credits (and have an annual income under £16,190)
  • Qualifying benefits: Income Support, Income-based Job Seekers Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Your child will also qualify if:

  • they are, or have been, looked after by the council (e.g. a fostered child) or
  • they have been adopted
  • they qualify for Disability Living Allowance

The 15 hours of free early education per week must be taken over at least two days.

Places are available from the term after your child is two until the end of the term after their third birthday. At that point they will automatically qualify for the free 15 hours per week early education which is available to all children. This will means that they will normally have continuity at the childcare setting you chose, until they are eligible to go to school.

How To Apply

There are three ways to apply:

  • If you know a local childcare provider that you would like to use you can contact them direct and they will check with us that you qualify and make arrangements for a place
  • You can contact Children’s Centres – for information and contact details see our SHIP website or your Health Visitor can put you in touch with your local Centre - they will advise and broker a local place for you
  • You can contact the Early Years Team on 01702 212071 and they will make the arrangements for you

Page last updated: 20/03/2017