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Free early learning for 2-year-olds


Children will be given the opportunity to experience high quality early years education with the support of a trained, high quality registered childminder, nursery or pre-school.

Who is eligible?

Two-year-olds whose family receives one of the following:

  • 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
  • tax credits and have an annual income under £16,190 before tax
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on  
  • Universal Credit and not working
  • Universal credit and you and your partner have a combined income from work of £15,400 or less, a year after tax.

Two-year-olds who meet any one of the following criteria will also be eligible:

  • If they have an Education, Health and Care Plan
  • If they receive Disability Living Allowance
  • If they are looked after by their local authority including foster carers
  • If they have left care through special guardianship or through an adoption or residence order

If a child's parents are non-EEA citizens who cannot claim benefits

Your 2-year-old may get free childcare if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act and have either:

  • claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as ‘part 6’)
  • been refused asylum in the UK (known as ‘section 4’)

A 2-year-old get free childcare if family household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and parents have either:

Click here to check if you qualify  

If you meet the qualifying criteria above, your child will become eligible from the term after their second birthday.

Family Support will manage any data submitted when you apply for free early learning for 2 year olds. Please see the Family Support privacy and data information

For more information please contact Family Information Service at

Find out more about free early education and childcare on GOV.UK



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