Free early education/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 (eg, foster child)

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 eligility using the Eligbility Checking System (EMS) via Capita EY Portal.

You can view a list of the childcare providers avaliable for the Early Learning for two year olds scheme here:  Childcare provider list

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

Find here details on 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.