Free early education for two year olds
If you're the parent or carer of a two year old and you receive certain benefits you could be eligible to apply for a free early education place
The quickest way to apply is online. You'll need a parent or carer’s National Insurance number.Apply for your place online
Other ways to apply
Contact your local Children's Centre, who can help you apply.
Who can apply?
Your child might be eligible if you receive any of these benefits:
- Income Support
- income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income related Employment and Support Allowance
- support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- tax credits and have an annual income under £16,190 before tax
- the Working Tax Credit 4-week ‘run-on’ (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
- Universal Credit
Or if your child:
- has a disability or special educational needs
- has a child protection plan
- is looked after by us
- is a member of a travelling family
- has left care but are not able to return home (are under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order)
What you will get
Your child will receive 570 hours free early education over a year. This is equal to 15 hours a week during term time (38 weeks a year) or 11.5 hours a week all year round (50 weeks a year).
There is some flexibility with how the hours are used, but they can only be used for a maximum of 10 hours a day.
Your child can start in their free place from the term after their second birthday.
Funding is available for a range of early years providers, including Children's Centres, nurseries, pre-schools, playgroups and childminders.
Benefits of early years education
Research has shown that good quality early education can improve childrens' social and emotional development, as well as their language and communication skills. The children also get to have fun and make lots of friends, through a wide range of experiences.