If you receive financial support you could be eligible for free childcare for your child when they turn 2. (Children looked after by the local authority automatically qualify for this childcare).
How do I apply for free childcare for my 2 year old?
Find out if you qualify
What happens if my child is eligible?
If your child is eligible, the online eligibility checker will give you a reference number which remains active for six weeks. It must be checked by a childcare provider within six weeks of issue and being reserved a place, even if your child cannot start straight away.
If the reference number is not checked within six weeks, it will expire and you will need to use the eligibility checker again to obtain another valid reference number.
Where can my child take up their free childcare?
You can use the free childcare at any good or outstanding OFSTED registered childcare provider or childminder.
To find a list of childcare providers and childminders please view our Children and families service finder.
Search for a childcare provider
Find out more about
choosing the right childcare provider.
When can my child start?
To find out when your child would be able to start a 2 year funded place, use the start calculator document below:
How many free hours does my child get?
Every eligible child is entitled to access a maximum of 570 hours of free childcare for 2 year olds. This is split into three funding blocks in the year following the child’s 2nd birthday, on the following basis:
- a maximum of 15 hours per week over a minimum of 2 days per week
- a maximum of 10 hours in a single day
- a minimum of 2½ continuous hours in any one day
- take all or part of their free childcare and education for 2 year olds at a single setting or a maximum of two settings (including maintained sector schools)
Is there any other way my child can qualify?
Your child may also eligible if they:
- are under a child protection plan (Section 47)
- are a child in need (Section 17)
have higher special needs and disabilities (SEND), as evidenced by the early years descriptors and high needs block.
- are subject to a Special Guardianship Order, child arrangement or adoption order.
If you think your child meets one of the above criteria, you will need to speak with the professional working with your family and ask them to make a referral. Parents and carers cannot make a self-referral.