Free Early Years Education for 2 Year Olds

Up to 15 hours' free childcare for eligible 2 year olds

Eligible 2 year olds are entitled to up to 15 hours’ free childcare over 38 weeks.

Are my children eligible for free childcare for 2 Year olds?

You can check whether you are eligible for free childcare on the Childcare Choices website.

When will my child receive a free place?

Funding for 2 year olds will start from the term after your child’s 2nd birthday, as long as you have applied for and obtained a valid eligibility code.

Children born between       Free places start from

1 January to 31 March                  Summer (from 1 April)

1 April to 31 August                      Autumn (from 1September)

1 September to 31 December      Spring (from 1 January)

What types of childcare can I use?

You can access free childcare for eligible 2 year old’s with any approved childcare providers, who are registered to access Southend-on-Sea Borough Council early education funding.
These include:

  •  Pre-schools
  •  Day nurseries
  •  Childminders
  •  Some School nursery classes

How do I apply for 2 year old funding?

  • You can apply online for your eligibility code at
  • You can search for a Southend childcare provider at
  • If you know a local childcare provider that you would like to use you can contact them directly and they can complete an eligibility check for you and if you are eligible they can arrange a childcare place (subject to availability). Ask your childcare provider how the free hours can be taken (don’t forget to ask about any extra charges that may apply in addition to the free hours or services)
  • 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

Page last updated: 22/10/2019