Free childcare for 2 year olds

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If you have a two year old child they may be able to get free childcare and early learning at a private day nursery, pre-school or with an Ofsted registered 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.

You can check your eligibility for free childcare by clicking on the “check to see if you qualify” box.  If you have checked your eligibility and you believe you qualify but your results show that you don’t then please call 020 8583 3470

Other qualifying criteria

You are also able to receive free childcare if your child:

  • has a current statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education, Health and Care plan
  • receives Disability Living Allowance
  • is looked after by the local authority; or
  • has left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangement order or adoption order

If your child meets any of the other qualifying criteria, you will not need to go online to check your eligibility.  Please call the Early Years and Childcare Team directly on 020 8583 6421. 

How do I get my free place?

If you are eligible, you will get a confirmation letter. 

The quickest way to get this is to check your eligibility online yourself.  If you are eligible, you will be able to download your letter immediately. 

You can also call us on 020 8583 3470 to check your eligibility but it may take up to 5 working days to receive your confirmation letter. 

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

Do let your chosen childcare provider know you have a confirmation letter. The childcare provider will tell you when your free place will start from. 

My child has a special educational need or disability

If your child has an additional need and/or has been identified as having special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND) and you are having difficulty in finding a free place, please call 020 8583 6421 and ask for support in finding a free place.

Once your child has enrolled in either a day nursery or pre-school, they may be able to access extra support through the Early Years SEN Team.  

Frequently asked questions

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

If you can't find the answer to your question, please contact the Early Years and Childcare Service by sending an email to or call 020 8583 3470

If you have any concerns about your child’s free place, it is very important that you always discuss these first with your childcare provider. If after speaking to them you are still not happy then please see the complaints procedure

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