Your entitlement to free early learning and childcare for two year olds

Do you qualify for this support?

To be able to get this support, the child must be from a household where parents/carers are receiving one or more of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Jobseekers Allowance (Income Based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (Income Based)
  • Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit but not Working Tax Credit with annual income less than £18,725
  • both maximum Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with annual income of up to £8,717
  • Universal Credit where the monthly household earned income does not exceed £726 (A copy of your online Journal Statement confirming your monthly payment and take-home-pay must be provided with your application.)
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Alternative criteria

  • parents who are care experienced
  • two year olds who are looked after, under a kinship care order, or with a guardian become entitled from the moment they have this status on or after their 2nd birthday. They do not need to wait until the first term after as those on qualifying benefits do. Councils can use their discretion to allocate places sooner. 


Download and complete an application form

Following receipt of the completed application form, benefit information will be checked. You will receive an email which confirms whether or not your child qualifies for a place. 

Those in two year old childcare places will move on to nursery in the term after their third birthday.  When your child starts depends on their date of birth (see below).

Children are eligible to take up their funded place the term after their second birthday as follows:

Child's second birthday falls between       Entitlement Begins
1 March and 30 September   August or after your child's second birthday
1 October and 31 December   January
1 January and 28 February   After Easter break