Free education and childcare for 2-year-olds

Free education and childcare for 2-year-olds

Your 2-year-old can get free childcare if you live in England and get one 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

  • 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 free childcare if they:

You may have to pay for extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.

If you're a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits

Your 2-year-old may get free 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 you have either:

What do I do next?

If you think you might qualify, you need to fill in the online referral form below.

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 automatically. Confirmation will not be sent in the post.

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

Frequently asked questions

pdf icon Frequently asked questions about free early education and childcare (EEC) for eligible 2 year olds [300kb]

Contact for Family Information Service