You are here


Two year old offer

You could claim up to 15 hours of free, flexible early education and childcare if, from September 2014, your family receives one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit (Currently subject to Government consultation)
  • Income Support.
  • Income based Job Seekers' Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigrations and Asylum Act 1999
  • The Guaranteed element of state Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit / Child Tax Credit with an annual income of no more than £16,190

Children are also entitled to a place if:

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

You can check if you are eligible for the 2 Year Old Offer using the Citizen Portal.

Find childcare in your area on our two year old delivery map.

Families can find out more about support with childcare costs at the Government’s Childcare Choices website.

See below for list of local providers.

Related documents

30 hours entitlement

Eligible working families with children aged 3 to 4 years are entitled to 30 hours of free childcare a week (38 weeks of the year i.e. school term time). This is a total of 1,140 free hours a year.

Find childcare in your area on our 30 hour providers map.

Parents of 3 and 4 year olds will need to meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for 30 hours free childcare:

  • they earn or expect to earn the equivalent of 16 hours at National Minimum or Living Wage over the coming 3 months:
    • this equates to £120 a week (or c.£6,000 a year) for each parent over 25 years old or £112.80 a week (or c.£5,800 a year) for each parent between 21 and 24 years old
    • this applies whether you are in paid employment, self-employed or on zero hours contract
  • where one or both parents are on maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave, or if they are on statutory sick leave
  • where one parent meets the income criteria and the other is unable to work because they are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have been assessed as having limited capability to work
  • where a parent is in a ‘start-up period’ (i.e. they are newly self-employed) they do not need to demonstrate that they meet the income criteria for 12 months
  • if a non-EEA national, the parent must have recourse to public funds

A parent will not meet the criteria when:

  • either parent has an income of more than £100,000
  • either parent is a non-EEA national and subject to immigration control (and has no recourse to public funds)

Families can apply through the Government’s Childcare Choices website.

Eligible children can receive the 30 hours from the start of the term following their third birthday. Families are no longer entitled to the 30 hours when they start full-time education (i.e. reception year at school).  Parents must register for the 30 hour offer on the Childcare Choices website the term before they want to start taking their 30 hour entitlement.

See the 30 Hours - Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Families can register for the 30 hour entitlement and find out more about support with childcare costs at the Government’s Childcare Choices website.

Related documents

Universal 15 Hours (3 & 4 Year olds)

All three and four year olds are entitled to 15 hours of early education per week over a minimum of 38 weeks. Children can take their 15 hour entitlement the term after their 3rd birthday.’ 

A child may access their free place through:

  • nursery schools or nursery classes attached to schools
  • playgroups
  • child care day nurseries
  • private/independent schools
  • childminders

Call 0345 2000 109 for a list of local childcare providers.

Three and four year olds born between dates shown (inclusive) will be eligible for a free place for up to three terms per annum from:

1st April to 31st August.
The start of the autumn term following their 3rd birthday. That is September.

1st September to 31st December.
The start of the spring term following their 3rd birthday. That is January.

1st January to 31st March.
The start of the summer term following their 3rd birthday. That is April. (Please note that this is the case even if the Easter break falls after 1st April).

Families can find out more about support with childcare costs at the Government’s Childcare Choices website.

Related documents

Childcare sufficiency

This report sets out how we are doing in providing childcare support.

Related documents

Tax-free childcare

Tax-Free Childcare is a new Government scheme to help working families with their childcare costs.

Parents will be able to open online childcare accounts to pay their registered childcare providers directly. For every £8 parents pay in to these accounts, the Government will add £2, and the total amount in the account can only be spent on childcare. Parents can receive up to £2,000 in Government support per child, per year, or £4,000 for disabled children.

See Parent Guide under 30 hour entitlement section for more information.

Related documents

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Support to access the free early education and childcare places is available to children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.  More information can be found in the ‘Free early education and childcare places’ section of the Local Offer.

Early years Pupil Premium

The Early Years Pupil Premium is additional funding for early years settings to improve the education they provide for disadvantaged 3 & 4 year olds.  For more information see the link below 

The eligibility criteria for the Early Years Pupil Premium is currently subject to Government consultation.   

Share this page