Your 2 year old can get 570 hours of free early education per year if you receive one of these benefits. That's 15 hours per week if term time only.
- income support
- Universal Credit – if you and your partner have a combined income from work of less than £15,400 a year after tax
- tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 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)
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
Contribution based JSA/ESA is not a qualifying benefit.
Your 2 year old can also get 570 hours free early education a year if they:
- are looked after by a local authority
- have a current statement of special educational needs or an education, health and care plan
- have left care through a special guardianship or an adoption or child arrangement order
- get disability living allowance.
That's 15 hours per week if term time only.
Visit gov.uk for the more details of who's eligible.
If you think you're eligible, you need to apply online. You can start applying around your child's 2nd birthday:
|If your child turns 2 between...||You can apply from...|
1 January – 31 March
1 April – 31 August
1 September – 31 December
- your National Insurance/NASS number
- your child's NHS number (check your red book or ask your GP)
If you're eligible, we'll send you a reference code to use when you contact childcare providers.
Find an approved childcare provider offering free early education for 2 year olds, in our childcare directory:
How to choose a childcare provider - find out the differences between each type and what details to look out for.
Contact a provider with your reference code, let them know when you'd like to start and see if they have any available places.
Your free hours won't decrease or stop, even if your circumstances change.
Find out what your child is entitled to when they turn 3.