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Your 2-year-old can get free childcare if you live in England and get one of the following benefits:
2-year-olds can also get free childcare if they:
Your 2-year-old may get free childcare if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act and have either:
A 2-year-old you care for may also get free childcare if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and you have any of the following:
Check your eligibility on our parent portal
If eligible, the system will give you a code, which you can give to your chosen childcare provider to claim the free childcare.
Eligible two-year olds can start receiving their entitlement the term after their second birthday.
Eligible 2-year-olds are entitled to 570 hours of free early education per year. It’s usually taken as 15 hours a week over 38 weeks of the year (split into three terms).
However, if your child‘s provider is open all year round, such as a day nursery, the free hours will be spread equally over those weeks. For example, if your child attends a provider that is open for 51 weeks a year, they will receive 11 hours a week.
National limits are set by the government about how the free sessions can be offered meaning that:
You can discuss with the provider how your free hours can be taken. Some may offer set days and times, whereas others may be more flexible. If needed, you can purchase additional hours of childcare.
A variety of providers offer free early education and childcare for two-year-olds, including:
For a list of childcare providers in your area offering funded spaces, please contact Early Years & Childcare Team on 0208 496 3566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you have chosen your preferred childcare setting, contact them directly to arrange for your child to start.
If you would like to take up any additional hours outside the Free Early Education Entitlement, the childcare provider will invoice you accordingly.
Please note that taking up a nursery place at a school does not guarantee a reception or Year 1 place at that school. There is a completely separate admissions procedure for reception and Year 1 classes in a school.
Free Early Education Entitlement (FEEE) providers must be:
To get a contract from the Local Authority, they must demonstrate their understanding of the legal and statutory requirements they must comply with:
Providers who fail to demonstrate that they have an understanding of and comply with the requirements covered by the compliance checks, will not be commissioned by the Local Authority as providers.
Not ready to take your child to a nursery or pre-school? Bring them to a free Stay 2 Play session at a Waltham Forest Children and Family Centres and join in the fun yourself. Each two-hour session supports your child’s learning through playing with other children alongside their parents or carers.
A range of stimulating activities are available at the sessions allowing your child to play, paint, read, cook, climb, sing, dance, dress up, jump, run around, whatever they like doing.
If you do not have your 2-year-old eligibility code or access to the internet, just come along to one of the sessions, bring your National Insurance Number or your National Asylum Support Service (NASS) number, and we'll also do the check for you on the day. You can attend the session whether you are eligible for the Free Childcare for 2-year-olds or not.