The lowdown on free education and childcare for 2-year-olds
Find out what childcare and free education your 2-year-old is entitled to
We’ve put together a helpful guide to help you understand what free childcare and education may be available to you should you need it.
If you’re living in England there are a variety of free childcare and education options available for some (not all) 2-year-olds.
How do I know if I’m eligible to claim free childcare/education?
To be eligible to claim free childcare or education for your 2-year-old you would need to already be receiving one or more of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Universal Credit - if you and your partner have a combined income from work of £15,400 or less a year, after tax
- Tax credits and you have an income of £16,190 or less a year, before tax
- The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- Support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
- The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
Is this the only criteria that is eligible?
No, there are some other ways that a little one can get free early education and childcare. For example, if any of the following apply:
- They’re looked after by a local council
- They have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
- They get Disability Living Allowance
- They’ve left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order
If I find out I’m eligible, what happens next?
If you have been approved for free education or childcare for your little one, you must choose an approved childcare provider and the free care will start from the term after your child’s 2nd birthday.
How do I find out more information on this?
It is advisable to contact your local childcare provider or local council to find out more to get the ball moving.
Do the same rules apply if I live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland?
No, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own specific rules so contacting your local childcare provider or council will help you understand what is available in your area.