Childcare funded entitlement for eligible two, three and four year olds
Two year old funded entitlement
The funded entitlement for two year olds allows eligible children to receive free early education and childcare.
This is part of a national offer from the Department for Education (DfE) and has been developed to improve outcomes for eligible two year olds who would benefit from access to high quality childcare provision.
Children are eligible whose families live in England and are in receipt of the following financial support:
- Income Support;
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA);
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA);
- Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments;
- Tax credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax;
- The guaranteed element of Pension Credit; and
- The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit).
2-year-olds can also get free childcare if they:
- Are looked after by a local authority;
- Have a statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan;
- Get Disability Living Allowance; and
- Have left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order.
You can find more information about the eligibility criteria on the Government website: Funded education and childcare for 2-year-olds.
Further information on the 15 hours funded entitlement for eligible two year olds can be found in section 3 of the Funded Early Years and Childcare Entitlement: Operational Guidance.
Three and four year old funded entitlement
All 3 to 4 year olds in England can get 570 hours of funded entitlement per year. It’s usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, although providers can choose to offer a ‘stretched offer’ of 570 hours over more weeks of the year (for example 11.4 hours over 50 weeks of the year).
A child will become eligible the term after their third birthday:
|If Child’s 3rd birthday falls between||Child becomes eligible for the 15 hour funded entitlement for three and four year olds funding place|
|1st September – 31st December||Spring Term – In January after their third birthday|
|1st January – 31st March||Summer Term – In April after their third birthday|
|1st April – 31st August||Autumn Term – In September after their third birthday|
Further information on the 15 hours funded entitlement for eligible three and four year olds can be found in section 5 of the Funded Early Years and Childcare Entitlement: Operational Guidance.
30 hours funded entitlement for working parents of three and four year olds (extended entitlement)
In addition to the 15 hour scheme, eligible children can receive up to an additional 15 hours per week. Eligibility criteria applies:
Both parents are working and/or:
- One parent working in a lone parent family (earning equivalent of 16 hours a week on National Minimum Wage or Living Wage including those receiving Tax Credits or Universal Credit)
- One/both parent(s) is away on leave (parental, maternal, etc.)
- One/both parent(s) is on statutory sick pay
- Both parents earn less than £100,000 each per annum
- One parent is employed, and:
- The other parent has either: substantial caring responsibilities and/or disability
Further information on the 30 hours funded entitlement for working parents of three and four year olds can be found in section 6 of the Funded Early Years and Childcare Entitlement: Operational Guidance.
Parents can see if their child is eligible by using the Citizen portal. Alternatively, they can ask their childcare provider to carry out the check for them using the Provider Portal, or the provider can contact the Families Information Service on 01204 332170.
Funding rates 2022/2023