Early Learning for 2 Year Olds

  • For Families in England receiving some forms of support
  • With 2-year-old children
  • 15 hours of free childcare or early education for 38 weeks
  • To be able to take up 15 hours of free childcare for you 2-year-old you or your child must meet the eligibility criteria. Please visit GOV.UK for further information.
  • A total of 570 hours per year, that you can use flexibly with one or more childcare providers.

Your 2-year-old can get free childcare if you live in England and get one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income based Jobseekers 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:

  • have a statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan.
  • get Disability Living Allowance
  • have left care under adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order.
    Contact your childcare provider or local council to find out more.

Find out more here

Free Childcare for 3 and 4 year olds – 15 hours (universal entitlement)

All 3 and 4 year old children are entitled to a maximum of 570 hours of free childcare a year (15 hours a week for 38 weeks a year).

Children can access their funding with us the term after their 3rd birthday. Free childcare is an opportunity for your child to play and learn in a quality environment that will help to extend their skills and experiences, develop their confidence and prepare them for school.

30 Hour Funding

Working parents with 3 and 4 year old children may be entitled to an extra 15 hours a week of flexible free childcare giving them 30 hours childcare a week for at least 38 weeks a year (1140 hours a year).

Eligibility Criteria:
The additional hours will be available to families where:

  • Both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family);
  • Both parents are working includes circumstances where:
    • One or both parents are temporarily away from the workplace on parental, adoption, maternity or paternity leave;
    • One or both parents are temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay;
    • One parent is employed and one parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring; or
    • One parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits.
  • Each parent has a weekly minimum income equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage or living wage (parents do not necessarily need to actually work 16 hours a week, but rather their earnings must reflect at least 16 hours of work at national minimum wage or national living wage),
  • Neither parent has an income of more than £100,000 per year.

The definition of ‘working’ will include employed and self-employed persons and parents on zero hours contracts who meet the criteria.

Many parents have irregular work patterns and the government are keen that the childcare is offered flexible to meet parent’s needs. Parents who are studying and grandparents or other family members with parental responsibility for a child aged 3 or 4 will be eligible for the extended entitlement if they meet the above criteria.

Important – if your child is in reception, you can’t get free childcare. Once your child is of compulsory school age, they’re no longer eligible.

You’re not eligible if:

  • you’re in receipt of a childcare grant
  • you’re a full-time student/an intern
  • you’re not entitled to receive public funds.

For more information click here: Free Childcare for 3 and 4 year olds – 30 hours (Extended Entitlement) | Family Information Service Hub (

Childcare Choices

Childcare choices points you in the direction to see if you are eligible for help with your childcare costs and the link below has various links to point you in the right direction. 

Childcare Choices | 30 Hours Free Childcare, Tax-Free Childcare and More | Help with Costs | GOV.UK