Delivering free childcare and education for 2 year olds

Register to deliver funded places or change your payment details

You can use our online form to:

  • register to deliver funded places.
    • if you are already registered for free childcare and education for 2 year olds but you wish to register for free entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds or 30 hour free childcare, you will need to complete this section
    • you do not have to re-register for 30 hour free childcare if you already offer free entitlement but you do still need to ensure that you have completed an annual provider agreement
  • complete the annual provider agreement
    • The annual provider agreement must be completed to continue receiving early years funding. Please note that the updated provider agreement for 2018 to 2019 will be available shortly – additional time for submissions will be allocated accordingly.
  • update your bank details
Register to deliver funded places, update bank details or complete an annual provider agreement

Checking eligibility

Any family living in Northamptonshire can now use the Online Eligibility Checker (OEC) to find out if they are eligible for funding. They can then use the reference number provided to reserve a childcare place.

The Online Eligibility Checker issues a reference number (beginning with AF) for all checks made, including those that are not eligible, so it is extremely important that you check that the reference number is:

  • a reference number confirming eligibility for funding
  • still valid - that the reference number hasn't expired

Childcare providers are expected to check the eligibility of all reference numbers given to them. If a place is offered to a family and the reference number is not eligible, no claim for funding can be made and no funding claim will be paid.

The reference number is active for 6 weeks. A parent or carer must have it checked within 6 weeks of issue by a childcare provider and reserve a place even if the child cannot start immediately; the childcare provider will keep the reference number.

If no place is found or reserved within 6 weeks the number will expire and the parent must obtain a new reference number by using the OEC again.

How do I check the validity of the reference number?

To check the reference number obtained by a parent or carer use the tool below.

Eligibility checker tool

How do I receive payment for a free childcare place? 

Funding rate for 2017/18

The free childcare and education for 2 year olds funding rate has been finalised for the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year and has been set at £5.10 per hour.

Information on the hourly funding rates and supplements for free entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds (FE) is available on the free entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds web page.

Headcount day information

For information on headcount dates and the dates that forms will be open, please see the document below:

Registered providers can make their headcount claims by logging into the provider portal and completing them.

If you have any enquiries regarding the provider portal and the headcount claims, please view the frequently asked questions document below:

Please use the below guidance document for information on how to use the provider portal:

Following the monthly payment of headcount claims, a detailed payment report will be sent to providers to give a full breakdown of payments and all Early Years supplements received. A guidance document for these reports can be found below:

Other information regarding funding claims will be made available in the Early Years Bulletin.

Parental declaration

Below is the  parental declaration that acts as the contract between the family and the provider of the free childcare for 2 year olds, the free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds and 30 hours free childcare.

Please note: The privacy notice must be viewed by the parent or ​carer before they sign the parental declaration.

If you require assistance regarding the parental declaration, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Further support and guidance

Discretionary funding

There are currently no discretionary funded places available through Northamptonshire County Council for 2 year olds whose family do not meet the national eligibility criteria.

Free childcare for 2 year olds poster

To promote the free childcare and education for 2 year olds in your childcare setting, please download the poster below:

Free childcare for 2 year olds - guide for providers

The updated provider agreement for 2018 to 2019 will be available shortly. Please see the statutory guidance below for more information.

Statutory guidance - early years and childcare

The county council is bound by the statutory guidance. These guidelines are issued to all local authorities by the Department for Education (DfE) on the delivery of the free childcare for 2, 3 and 4 year olds.

Operational guidance

SEND Code of Practice

Local authorities must ensure they meet their duties under the Equality Act 2010 and take account of the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice 0 to 25 when securing free places.