Who is eligible for 2-year-old funding and how do I apply?
Some 2-year-olds are eligible for 570 hours of free childcare per year. That’s 15 hours of free childcare per week when taken term time only (i.e. over 38 weeks of the year), or you may choose to ‘stretch’ your hours by taking less hours over more weeks (e.g. 11 hours per week over 51 weeks).
You can apply for 2-year-old funding online – you will receive an immediate response. You will need your national insurance number, plus evidence to support your application.
If you need any help with your 2-year-old funding application or have any queries, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and an officer will contact you. Alternatively, phone the Family Information Service on 023 9268 8830.
What happens next?
If you are entitled to the funding, you will receive a 2-year-old funding voucher which will tell you the earliest date your child can start their funded place. You will need to show this to your childcare provider when arranging your child’s early education place. We can’t backdate funding before the date on the voucher.
When can I start claiming 2-year-old funding?
If eligible, you can start claiming 2-year-old funding the term after your child turns 2 and the date stated on your 2-year-old funding voucher (whichever date is later). The earliest date your child can start depends on their birthday:
- Birthday between 1 January and 31 March – You can claim at the beginning of term on or after 1 April
- Birthday between 1 April and 31 August – You can claim at the beginning of term on or after 1 September
- Birthday between 1 September and 31 December – You can claim at the beginning of term on or after 1 January
You can apply in the term your child turns 2. For example, if your child turns 2 on 15 February, they will become eligible to receive funding from 1 April and the earliest you can apply will be 1 January.
How long does 2-year-old funding last?
Funding will continue until your child becomes eligible for early education funding for 3 and 4-year-olds the term after their third birthday. This funding continues even if your circumstances change, i.e. you return to work or your household income increases. More information on early education funding for 3 and 4-year-olds can be found here.
Am I entitled to any additional funding to help pay my childcare costs?
Depending on your income and family situation, you could be eligible for additional support to help pay your childcare costs. View the help with childcare costs page to find out more or go to the Childcare Choices website. You can also use the childcare calculator to find out what help you could be entitled to and to help you decide what options suit your family best.