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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?

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

Free early education 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 Jobseekers' Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • universal credit - for places starting in the summer term of 2018 (on or after April 1, 2018) or any following term, if a parent is entitled to universal credit, they must have an annual net (after taxes) earned income equal to or not more than £15,400. This is based on up to three of the parent's most recent universal credit assessment periods
  • tax credits and they have an annual income of less than £16,190 before tax
  • the guaranteed element of state pension credit
  • support through part six of the Immigration and Asylum Act 
  • the working tax credit four-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for working tax credit)

Your child

  • if your child has a current statement of special educational need (SEN) or an education, health and care plan (EHC)
  • if your child receives disability living allowance or personal independence payments (you will need to provide proof of entitlement)

Two-year-olds also qualify who:

  • are looked after by their local authority
  • have left care through or through an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangement order
  • have the following immigration status:
    • Zambrano carer (with the right to reside in the UK under European law as the primary carer of a British child or dependent adult) 
    • leave to remain with no recourse to public funds  granted on family or private life grounds
    • have been refused asylum in the UK and receiving support from the Home Office 

Parents who are Zambrano carers or who have leave to remain with no recourse to public funds, must also be able to demonstrate that they have a low income.