Nursery education (free)

Free nursery education for two, three and four year olds

Free Nursery Education, also known as Early Education and Childcare, is available for all three and four year olds and also two year olds who meet certain criteria.

More information for three and four year olds can be found on the webpage Early education and childcare for three and four year olds

To find out more about free places for two year olds, including whether your child may or may not be eligible, please read the information below and the following documents:

Is my child entitled to a place?

Two year olds who meet the criteria below are eligible for a free place for up to 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year. Free places can be offered by a variety of providers including school nurseries, private nurseries, pre-school playgroups and childminders as long as they are included in Bury's Directory of EEC providers for two, three and four year olds.

Your child is entitled to a place if:

  • Household income
    • You already claim Free School Meals for a child in your family
    • You claim certain benefits, these are:
      • Income support
      • Income based Jobseekers Allowance
      • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
      • Support under part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (Asylum Seeker)
      • State Pension Credit - guarantee element
    • You are entitled to Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit and your household income is less than £16,190
      • This includes the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • SEN (special educational needs) or disability
    • The child you are claiming for has an Education, Health and Care plan or Statement of Special Educational Needs
    • The child you are claiming for receives Disability Living Allowance
  • Other
    • The child you are claiming for is adopted or has a Special Guardianship Order
    • The child you are claiming for has a child protection plan (this may not be applicable in areas other than Bury)
    • The child you are claiming for is looked after by the local authority

What do I do next?

If you think you might qualify, you need to fill in the online referral form below. Alternatively, you can complete a referral form at your local Children's Centre or through another professional e.g. health visitor or social worker.

Apply for Early Education and Childcare 2 year old funding

You will be informed at the end of the application, as to whether your application has been successfully submitted or not. Please note, if your application is successful, a confirmation letter will be sent to the email address you provide on the application form within five working days. Confirmation will not be sent in the post.

What else will I have to do?

If you are eligible we will give you all the information you need for your child to access their place. It's simple and straightforward and you won't have to get involved in making any payments to your chosen childcare provider as they'll get the money directly from us.

When could my child start?

The free place starts from the term after your child's second birthday. A child born on or between:

  • 1 April and 31 August is eligible for a free place from 1 September following their second birthday
  • 1 September and 31 December is eligible for a free place from 1 January following their second birthday
  • 1 January and 31 March is eligible for a free place from 1 April following their second birthday

I am a registered childcare provider, what do I do next?

If you would like to be included in Bury's Directory of EEC providers for two, three and four year olds please see Information for registered childcare providers.