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Free funded childcare places for two-year-olds

Parents or carers of two-year-olds who meet the criteria (below) can apply for a Free Early Learning place to fund childcare sessions for 15 hours per week flexibly, 38 weeks of the year from the term after their second birthday.

Flexible offer:

Free childcare places can be taken flexibly between 7am and 7pm however the following applies:

  • Maximum of 10 hours in one day
  • Minimum of 2.5 hours in one day
  • No more than 15 hours over 2 days
  • Where sessional care is offered these can be:
  • 5 hours per day over 3 days
  • 3 hours per day over 5 days
A child born in the period  Will become eligible for a free place 
1 April - 31 August Start of the Autumn term following child's 2nd birthday
1 September - 31 December Start of the Spring term following child's 2nd birthday
1 January - 31 March Start of the Summer term following child's 2nd birthday

 * based on a three-term school year

Am I eligible for a free place?

To access Free Early Learning for children aged two, you must be getting one or more of the following benefits or credits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit (from April 2005)
  • Universal Credit - if you and your partner have a combined income from work of less than £15,400 a year after tax
  • Child Tax Credit where the household income is no more than £16,190
  • Working Tax Credit where the household income is no more than £16,190
  • Working Tax Credit 4 week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

Or your child must

  • Be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance
  • Have a current statement of SEN or an Education, Health and Care plan
  • Have left care through special guardianship or an adoption or residence order
  • Be a looked after child (e.g, foster child)
  • Be a child of Zambrano Carers;
  • Be a child of a family with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights;
  • Be a child of a subset of failed asylum seekers (supported under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 – ‘the 1999 Act’).

If you are not in receipt of one of the above benefits/credits you will not be eligible to apply.

Apply for a place

Please note that by applying for a free childcare place you are agreeing for the local authority to check your eligibility using the Eligibility Checking System (EMS) via Capita EY Portal.

Childcare providers available for the Early Learning for two year olds

If you prefer you can contact the Family Information Service on 0121 569 4914 or via email for a list of the childcare providers or an application pack.

How to make a complaint

How to make a complaint if you are not satisfied that your child/children has received their free place or with any aspect of the way you have received it.