Free childcare places for eligible two year olds

Check if you qualify

Families earning less than £16,190, with a two year old, could get up to 15 hours of free childcare per week at a day nursery, pre-school, childminder or in some school’s nursery class.

Two year olds with an education and health care plan can also benefit.


Your two year old can get free childcare if you have, or are on:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit
  • tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • support through part six of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • the Working Tax Credit four-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

They can also get free childcare if any of the following apply:

  • they're looked after by the council
  • they have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • they get Disability Living Allowance
  • they've left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order

The 15 hours must be used over at least two days each week and parents/carers can use a maximum of 10 hours a day between 8am and 6pm.

Child's birthday When you can claim
1 January to 31 March The beginning of term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August The beginning of term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December The beginning of term on or after 1 January

If they're eligible, your child can claim a free place from the beginning of the term after they become two years old.


If your child was born on 15 February 2015 you can get free childcare when the next term starts after 1 April 2017.

Find out if you are eligible

To find out if you can get free childcare for your two year old child you can:

 Complete the Me2 Funding Request Form 2017-18 [PDF, 117KB]

  • Text your name, date of birth, National Insurance number, address, and the name and age of your child to 07887 057367.
  • Contact your local Children's Centre,
  • Talk to your Health Visitor
  • Telephone Early Years Team on 01752 307450

For income related enquiries, details will be checked against the official Department for Works and Pensions secure online tool and a limited HMRC service. A letter will be sent to the parent/carer confirming eligibility and this letter can be presented at your childcare provision as proof of eligibility.

For more information about free childcare and finding registered childcare provision in your area use our childcare finder.