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Funded care and education for 2-year-olds

A young boy doign a headstand on grass with the words: Let's go! Your 2-year-old might be able to get 15 hours of funded childcare. Check it out now!

Would you like to:

  • give your child a head start?
  • be able to go back to work?
  • give your child high-quality learning and care?
  • have some time for yourself?

15 hours of funded childcare per week could help.

If you receive an invitation in the post, your child may be entitled to 2-year-old funding – but you will need to check your eligibility.

Check your eligibility now

If you have not received an invitation but think you may be eligible, you can still check your eligibility or call us on 0345 155 1013 so that we can check for you.

If you are eligible you will be sent either an email or a message (you can choose which). If someone checked your eligibility for you then you will receive a letter in the post. Please take this information to your chosen nursery, preschool or childminder as proof of your eligibility.

Only those providers that are judged as good or outstanding by Ofsted will be funded to admit 2-year-olds. Occasionally, if there are not enough good or outstanding places in an area, a provider with a ‘requires improvement’ outcome will be funded. Find approved providers that take funded 2-year-olds.

Your 2-year-old is eligible for funded childcare if you receive any 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 and your household income is £16,190 a year or less 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)

2-year-olds can also get funded childcare if they:

  • are looked after by the Local Authority
  • have an Education, Health and Care Plan
  • get Disability Living Allowance
  • have left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order

Parents or carers of foster children, children who are in the care of another local authority, children with additional needs or adopted children should apply online and attach supporting evidence to their application.

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 free childcare if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and (one of the following applies):

  • you have leave to remain with ‘no recourse to public funds’ on family or private life grounds
  • you have the right to live in the UK because you’re the main carer of a British citizen (known as a ‘Zambrano Carer’)
  • you are excluded from claiming public funds as a consequence of immigration status, or lack of immigration status
  • you are in receipt of support under section 17 of the Children Act 1989

Find out more about these definitions at GOV.UK: Free education and childcare for 2-year-olds.

If you have any questions about 2-year-old funding please email

Further information and advice

The Childcare Choices website contains lots of useful information on the government help that is available towards childcare costs.

The charity Employers for Childcare offers personalised advice and guidance to families so they get the financial support they’re entitled to.

Search Pinpoint for childcare providers registered to offer 2 year old funded places