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Free childcare for 2 year olds

If you have a two year old child they may be able to get up to 15 hours free childcare and early learning at a an Ofsted registered private day nursery, pre-school or childminder if you get any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • 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.
  • Working Tax Credit and you have an income of £16,190 or less 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)

If you meet the qualifying criteria above, your child will become eligible from the term after their second birthday for up to 15 hours of free childcare each week.

Check your eligibility online  or call the Family Information Service 020 8583 3470

For more information and other qualifying criteria, please read below.

Childcare and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Nurseries, Preschools and Childminders are wonderful places for children to learn and have fun with friends, which supports their development and their overall wellbeing. Attending childcare can be an exciting and joyful experience for children and can also help provide a routine as they develop their social skills. Early years education is an important stage for children where they can flourish and get the best start in life.

Please see the latest guidance for parents and carers about returning to early years provision including the protective measures that have been put in place such as:

  • cleaning hands more often
  • enhanced cleaning of frequently touched surfaces
  • ensuring good respiratory hygiene
  • ensuring that anyone with symptoms themselves or in their household does not attend.

If you need any help to find a childcare place please contact the Family Information Service on 020 8583 3470.  Alternatively you can email them at

My child has a special educational need or disability

You are able to receive free childcare for your 2 year old child if they:

  • have an Education, Health and Care plan
  • receives Disability Living Allowance

Please call the Early Years and Childcare Team on 020 8583 6421

We can support you in finding childcare if you are having difficulty.

If your child starts in a day nursery or preschool, they may be able to get extra support from the Early Years SEN team.

Child is or was in foster care or has been adopted

You may be able to get 15 hours free childcare if the child:

  • is looked after by the local authority; or
  • has left care under
    • a special guardianship order
    • child arrangement order
    • adoption order

You will not need to go online to check your eligibility.  To find out more please call the Early Years and Childcare Team on 020 8583 6421

No recourse to public funds

If you have no recourse to public funds you are able to get free childcare for your 2 year old if:

  • you are a Zambrano carer. A Zambrano carer is the primary carer of a British citizen child or dependent adult where requiring the primary carer to leave the UK would force that British citizen to leave the European Economic Area (EEA).

  • you are a family who have a right to be in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights).

  • you are a family receiving support under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

  • You receive support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989

If any of these apply to you please contact us on 020 8583 6421

Confirmation Letter

When you have your letter, you can search for a childcare provider within these links.

Let the provider know you have a confirmation letter. Arrange a visit and don’t forget to take the letter with you. The childcare provider will tell you when your free place will start from.

Frequently asked questions

For more information on free childcare for 2 year olds, please see our frequently asked questions .