Free early education and childcare for 2 year olds

If you receive financial support, you could be eligible for funded childcare for your child when they turn 2 (children looked after by the local authority automatically qualify for this childcare).


You can check the current eligibility criteria on GOV.UK.

Children who meet the criteria will qualify for the first full funding block of childcare following their second birthday.

The 3 blocks are:

  • 1 September to 31 December
  • 1 January to 31 March
  • 1 April to 31 August

If you qualify

The online eligibility checker will give you a reference number to give to a childcare provider.

Your reference number must be checked by a childcare provider within 6 weeks of issue and being reserved a place, even if your child can't start straight away.

If the reference number isn't checked within 6 weeks, it will expire and you'll need to use the eligibility checker again to get another valid reference number.

You may have to pay for extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.

Find a childcare provider

You can use the childcare at any good or outstanding Ofsted-registered childcare provider or childminder.

Last updated 02 April 2024