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Funded childcare for 2 year olds

There is new funding available for working families of 2 year olds from 1 April 2024.

When your child is eligible you will be able to apply for a code for 15 hours childcare funding from January 2024 onwards.

You may be eligible to 570 hours of funded early education or childcare per year for your 2 year old if you meet the criteria. That's 15 hours per week over 38 weeks.

On this page:

2 year olds of working families (new entitlement)

Who can apply?

You could get up to 15 hours funded childcare if you and your partner (if you have one) work full or part time hours.

You could still be eligible, even if you're on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or if you're unable to work.

Check the full eligibility criteria to find out if you can claim.

When to apply

You can apply for funded childcare funding for 2 year olds 16 weeks before your child's second birthday. We recommend you apply no more than 3 months before you're eligible to claim.

You must apply in good time to take your eligibility code to your childcare provider before the deadline. Many parents applying for this funding will get a reply straightaway to say if they are eligible. Some parents will need to provide more information for their application.

Must be 2 year old by: Date child is eligible for funding from:Recommended time to apply: 
 31 December  1 January (Spring term)  15 October to 30 November
 31 March  1 April (Summer term)  15 January to 28 February 
 31 August  1 September (Autumn term)  15 June to 31 July

You must have a valid code by the end of the month before a new term starts

Apply

Sign up, create an account and apply for funding through the GOV.UK website.

 

Reconfirm your eligibility

You must reconfirm your eligibility every 3 months even if you haven't started claiming.

Can you claim other funding at the same time?

If you're eligible, you can claim through other funding schemes at the same time, including:

Find out which funding schemes work best for your family with the online childcare calculator.

Issues applying for funding

Find out what to do if you have any issues applying for childcare funding.

2 year olds from families receiving benefits

Your child might be eligible if you receive one of these benefits:

  • Income support
  • Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 or less a year after tax, not including benefits
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit (or both), and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • the Working Tax Credit 4 week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

You might also be eligible if you cannot claim benefits because of your immigration status, or lack of immigration status. Find more information on 2 year funding eligibility on GOV.UK.

Apply if you receive qualifying benefits

Use this form to confirm your eligibility and apply if you receive one of the qualifying benefits.

 

2 year olds from families with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) may be eligible for funding

To be eligible, you must have a:

  • UK ancestry visa
  • Temporary protection status under Section 12 of the Nationality and Borders Act; and
  • Pre-settled status with no qualifying right to reside

Subject to the maximum income thresholds as follows:

  • £26,500 for families outside of London with one child
  • £30,600 for families outside of London with two or more children
  • A maximum capital threshold of £16,000 in all areas

Contact Early Years Funding to apply.

Other eligible 2 year olds

Your child might be eligible if they:

  • Are looked after by the local council
  • Have left care through a special guardianship order (SGO), adoption or residency order
  • Receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Have an education, health, and care plan (EHCP) 

Contact Early Years Funding to apply.

Dates your child is eligible for funding

You can get funded childcare the term after your child's second birthday. This means it would start either in January, April or September. 

 Must be 2 years old by: Date child is eligible for funding from:
 31 December  1 January (spring term)
 31 March  1 April (summer term)
 31 August  1 September (autumn term)

 Your child will continue to be eligible for 15 hours of funded childcare for 3 and 4 year olds.

If you work, you could be eligible for up to 30 hours of funded childcare the term after they turn 3.

Find a childcare provider

Search our FYI Directory for a registered or approved childcare provider. You can filter your search by those offering funded early education and childcare.  

 

Your chosen funded childcare must:

Childcare providers include childminders, pre-schools, playgroups and nurseries.

Speak to your chosen childcare provider to book your child's place. We advise you to contact them the term before you want to use the funding to book your child's place in good time.

Using your funded childcare

Your child can get up to 15 hours funded childcare for 38 weeks of the year. 

Some childcare providers may allow you to use your funded hours over more weeks by using fewer hours each week. Speak to your childcare provider to find out if you can spread the funding over more weeks.

Some providers may not offer 15 hours funded childcare, or they may only be able to offer limited hours. This could be due to available places or their opening times.

You can use the 15 hours at more than one childcare provider. 

The funding does not cover the cost of additional services or items and your childcare provider may charge extra for these. These could be:

  • Lunch
  • Nappies
  • Trips
  • Music classes

Even so, you must not be asked to pay a fee as a condition of taking up a 15 hours place, and must be offered alternative options such as choosing to provide your own child's lunch, for example.

Claiming other childcare funding at the same time

If you're eligible, you can claim other funding schemes at the same time, including:

Find out which funding schemes work best for your family with the online childcare calculator

Issues applying for funding

Contact the HMRC childcare funding helpline if you're having difficulties with:

  • Applying for 15 hours funded childcare for working families of 2 year olds
  • Applying for 30 hours funded childcare and/or Tax-Free Childcare
  • Reconfirming your eligibility for 30 hours funded childcare and/or Tax-Free Childcare

Further information

Early Years funding team

PO Box 4, Blackpool, FY1 1NA
Telephone 01253 477854