Childcare Funding

Free 15 hours for two year olds

Eligible families are able to apply for up to 15 hours per week of free early education and childcare for their two year old children. This can give you more time to take up a college course or return to work, as well as give your child the opportunity to learn, play with friends, experience new activities and get ready for school.

Eligibility

To be eligible you must be receiving one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income based Job Seeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • The guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Support under part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child Tax Credit and have an annual household income of less than £16,190
  • Working Tax Credit and have an annual household income of less than £16,190

All looked after children (who are cared for by the local authority) will be funded and also children that have left care through special guardianship, an adoption or a residence order.

Children who receive Disability Living Allowance or with a statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care plan will also be eligible.

When and how to apply

Some eligible families will receive a letter and a voucher confirming their eligibility for the free entitlement funding for two year olds. If you receive a voucher, you can take this voucher to your chosen childcare provider to discuss and arrange a free childcare place. If you believe you are eligible and have not received a voucher you can complete a parent declaration form available at your chosen childcare provider.

You can take up your entitlement place from the term after your child's second birthday. Times and days of attendance will depend on the childcare provider's availability and the free entitlement offer. Providers are likely to have waiting lists, therefore it is advisable that you contact your chosen provider as soon as possible.

You should not be charged for any part of a placement up to a maximum of 15 hours per week over 38 weeks (term time only). If you want additional hours you would have to request this from your childcare provider and pay for these.

Please use the dates below as a guide for when your child is eligible.

If your child's birthday is between 1 April and 31 August, you qualify for funding from the autumn term starting in September.

If your child's birthday is between 1 September and 31 December, you qualify for funding from the spring term starting in January.

If your child's birthday is between 1 January and 31 March, you qualify for funding from the summer term starting in April.

Where can I claim my funded place?

  • day nurseries
  • pre-school playgroups
  • registered childminders

All of these providers follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.

Search for a provider

You can use the childcare search on the Family Services Directory to find a childcare provider who offers funding in your area or contact the Family Information Service on 020 8770 6000.

More about the funding

The free entitlement funding is paid directly to your childcare provider. To claim funding the childare provider will request that you complete a parent declaration form prior to them being able to claim any funding from the local authority.

If you decide to remove your child after the headcount date in the term (please contact us for this term's date) you will not be able to claim funding in another provider for the rest of the term. If you decide to remove your child before headcount date you will be able to receive funding at another provider.

If you are purchasing additional childcare that are outside of a free entitlement place, a notice period may apply should you wish to remove your child. Please check with your provider for further information.

Contact us

For more information contact the Family Information Service on 020 8770 6000.

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