Free childcare for 2 year-olds

Overview

The 2 year-olds' childcare scheme offers free childcare for children whose parents or carers are on a low income. You can get free childcare if you receive one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit and an annual income of no more than £16,190
  • Working Tax Credits and annual gross earnings of no more than £16,190 per year

Families that don't meet the above criteria are still eligible if any of the following apply. The child:

  • has a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan
  • attracts Disability Living Allowance
  • is looked after by the council
  • has left care through special guardianship or through an adoption or residence order

If you receive one of these benefits you can get up to 15 hours of free childcare for 38 weeks of the year.

Funding is available for a minimum of 38 weeks per year, but can be stretched to 52 weeks, covering fewer hours over more weeks. Childcare providers may be unable to give you your preferred hours or days, so you may need to contact them directly for more information.

You may only use this funding for approved Ofsted-registered childcare providers, which includes childminders

A video shows why childminders are vitally important providers for 2 year-olds.