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15 hours free and funded childcare and early learning for 2 year olds

Childcare for 2 year olds is changing!

From April 2024, working parents of 2-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours childcare support. Click here to find out more about the upcoming changes.

Currently free childcare for 2 year olds is only available if you meet the any of the criteria below.

Are you getting of any of the following benefits?

If so, you may be able to get 15 hours of free/funded childcare and early education for your 2 year old.
  • Income Support
  • Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • Universal Credit and not working
  • Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
  • Your incomes is £16,190 a year or less, and you
    • are in receipt of child tax credit, working tax credit (or both)
    • are in receipt of the working tax credit 4 week run on
You will be required to create an account to apply. Use the step by step guide to show you how to:
  • Create an account if you do not already have one.
  • Apply. You will need to have your national insurance number or National Asylum Seeker Service NASS number
  • Do not add any documents. Tick 'Please confirm that you wish to proceed without attaching any documents’ when prompted.

Click here to apply

Not getting any of the above benefits. You may still qualify if you meet one of the following

Your child has a special educational need or a disability and has:

Your child is adopted or in foster care and:

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

If you’re a non- UK citizen who cannot claim benefits

If your immigration status says you have ‘no recourse to public funds’, you may still get free/funded childcare for your 2-year-old.

Your household income after tax must be no more than:

  • £34,500 for families with one child
  • £38,600 for families with two or more children
You cannot have more than £16,000 in savings or investments.

If any of the above apply to you, call the Early Years and Childcare Team on 020 8583 6421 or email can also support you in finding suitable childcare if you are having difficulties.

What isn't covered by the free15 hours?

The funding is not intended to cover the costs of:

  • extra activities (such as trips).
  • meals, snacks, drinks
  • more hours,
  • nappies or sun cream.

Providers may charge a fee for these. They must offer other options to you. If you choose to pay for these, it is an arrangement between you and the childcare provider.

Childcare providers cannot make you pay any fee as a condition of taking up a 2 year old 15 free/funded hour place. Providers can charge a refundable deposit. The deposit should be repaid to you within 7 days of your child taking up their place.