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Free childcare places for eligible 2 year olds (Me2 Funding)

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Your 2-year-old can get free early education and childcare if you live in England and get one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit - if you and your partner have a combined income from work of less than £15,400 a year after tax
  • tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

A child can also get free early education and childcare if any of the following apply:

  • they’re looked after by a local council
  • they have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • they get Disability Living Allowance
  • they’ve left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order

If you’re eligible the free early education and childcare:

  • must be with an approved childcare provider
  • starts from the term after your child’s 2nd birthday

Please note: Unfortunately we are unable to fund Tier 4 International Students with no Recourse to Public Funds unless sufficient evidence is provided to support an application from a Professional referral.

Important dates 

If the child is 2 years old between

  • 1 April and 31 August you will have a free place from September 
  • 1 September and 31 December will have a free place from January
  • 1 January and 31 March will have a free place from April

Check what help you could get with childcare costs

Use the GOV.UK calculator to find out how much you could get towards approved childcare, including:

  • free childcare for children aged between 2 and 4
  • help with childcare costs if your child is under 16 (or under 17 and disabled)

Start childcare cost calculator

Find out if you are eligible

To find out if you can get free childcare for your two year old child you can:

  1. Download and complete the Me2 Funding Request Form 
  2. Contact your local Children's Centre 
  3. Talk to your Health Visitor

For income related enquiries, details will be checked against the official Department for Works and Pensions secure online tool and a limited HMRC service. A letter will be sent to the parent/carer confirming eligibility and this letter can be presented at an Early Years provision as proof of eligibility.


Funding for 3 and 4 year olds

All children aged 3 and 4 years old are eligible for free early education for up to 15 hours a week.

The Government is introducing new ways to help parents and carers with childcare costs. One of the ways is by introducing free 30 hours of childcare to eligible families.

View the Funding for 3 and 4 year olds page for more information.

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