Families in England may be eligible for a Free Early Education and Childcare Entitlement place for their 2-year-old if they meet any of the eligibility criteria below.

If eligible, you can take up your entitlement the term after your child's second birthday. Times and days are dependent on the childcare providers' availability and their free entitlement offer. 

Financial Criteria

You may be eligible if you receive one 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
  • child tax credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

Automatically Funded Criteria

Your child will be automatically eligible if they;

Non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits

Your 2-year-old may get the Free Early Education and Childcare Entitlement if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act and have either:

  • claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as part 6)
  • been refused asylum in the UK (known as section 4

A 2-year-old you care for may also get the Free Early Education and Childcare Entitlement if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and you have either:

further information regarding the free childcare entitlements and the support available to parents to help with their childcare costs can be found at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

How to apply

To check your eligibility, (based on the financial criteria) and apply for the Free Early Education and Childcare Entitlement for your 2 year old please visit Suttons Parent Portal to complete an online application. If eligible, you will receive an email confirmation letter that you will need to take to your chosen childcare provider to access a free place.

If you meet the automatically funded criteria, please provide evidence of eligibility, such as DLA award letter or adoption certificate to your chosen childcare provider.

If you meet the Non-EEA citizen criteria, then please contact the Sutton Family Information Service on 020 8770 6000 to discuss what evidence is required.

Where can I use the Free Early Education and Childcare Entitlement?

The entitlement can be used at any Ofsted registered childcare provider, that has agreed with the local authority to deliver the free entitlements, such as:

  • Childminder
  • Day Nursery
  • Preschools
  • Schools

A list of childcare providers in the London Borough of Sutton that offer free places for 2-year-olds can be found on the Family Services directory. Many providers will have a waiting list, so you are advised to contact your chosen provider at the earliest opportunity.

Additional Information

The Free Early Education and Childcare Entitlement funding is paid directly to the childcare provider. In order for the provider to claim the funding, they will ask you to complete a parent declaration form and to see a copy of your eligibility confirmation letter or supporting evidence.

The Free Early Education and Childcare Entitlement, funded by the government, is intended to cover the cost of childcare and education, it is not intended to cover the costs of meals, consumables or additional hours and services. Some providers may charge for these additions. If you choose to pay for these additional extras, this is an arrangement between you and the provider. Nevertheless, a provider cannot make these extras a condition to you accessing your Free Early Education and Childcare Entitlement. Please ensure you check what is available at your chosen provider prior to starting a free place.

Contact Us

For support on how to use the Parent Portal or for support to access your Free Early Education and Childcare Entitlement, please contact the Suttons Family Information Service on 020 8770 6000.