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Free childcare and early education places

In this section

  1. Free childcare and early education places for 2, 3, and 4 year olds
  2. Does my two-year-old qualify for free childcare and education?
  3. FAQ's
  4. The expansion of funded childcare from April 2024

Does my two-year-old qualify for free childcare and education?

Does my two-year-old qualify for funded childcare and early learning?

Funded childcare and early learning for two-year-olds is available to eligible children from the term following their second birthday. Your child may be entitled to it if you or they receive one or more of the following:

  • income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s 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
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit (or both), and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

Two-year-olds can also get free childcare if they:

  • are looked after by a local authority
  • have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • have left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order

If you’re a non- UK citizen who cannot claim benefits

If your immigration status says you have ‘no recourse to public funds’, you may still get free childcare for your 2-year-old. You must live in England and your household income must be no more than:

  • £26,500 for families outside of London with one child
  • £34,500 for families within London with one child
  • £30,600 for families outside of London with two or more children
  • £38,600 for families within London with two or more children

You cannot have more than £16,000 in savings or investments.

Once you have applied, the local authority may ask for evidence of your earnings. You will be required to supply evidence that you have no access to public funds, such as a Biometric Residence Permit.

When does the place start if my child is eligible?

You can apply for a place when your child is 21 months old and children can start in a place the term after they turn two years old. More information is available by reading our frequently asked questions.