When can I apply?
We welcome applications for funding from the school term in which your child turns two.
- 1 January - 31 March for spring born children.
- 1 April - 31 August summer born children.
- 1 September - 31 December autumn born children.
Unfortunately we can no longer accept applications before this time. Any applications received before the term in which your child turns two will not be processed until your child is old enough.
What types of childcare offer two year old funding?
By childcare we mean:
- Day nurseries.
Sometimes these can also be referred to as early years settings or early years providers. Not all settings/providers are able to offer two year old funding. The ones that have been approved by the borough will offer good quality or outstanding childcare.
Children will become eligible for their place, the term after their second birthday based on the dates below:
- 1 January - 31 March - eligible from the summer term.
- 1 April - 31 August - eligible from the autumn term.
- 1 September - 31 December - eligible from the spring term.
For example: A child born on 2 February (in the spring term), would become eligible for funding from 1 April onwards (in the summer term).
To claim two year old funding you need to be in receipt of one of the following benefits:
- Income support (https://www.gov.uk/income-support).
- Income-based jobseekers allowance (https://www.gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance).
- Income-related employment and support allowance (https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance).
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
- The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit (https://www.gov.uk/state-pension).
- Child tax credit and your income is not more than £16,190 per year (https://www.gov.uk/child-tax-credit).
- Working tax credit and your income is not more than £16,190 per year (https://www.gov.uk/working-tax-credit).
- Universal credit, with a household income from work of less than £15,400 a year after tax (https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit).
Your child could also be eligible if they are in one of the following groups:
- Child is looked after by the local authority
- Child who has left care through special guardianship or an adoption or residence order
- Child has a current Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan
- Child receives Disability Living Allowance
- Children of Zambrano Carers . with a household income of £15,400 or less per year after tax
- Children of families with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights with a household income of £15,400 or less per year after tax. .
- Children of a subset of failed asylum seekers (supported under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 – the 1999 Act’).
- Children assessed as being vulnerable and meeting the definition in Section 17 (s17) of the Children Act 1989 and who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF), with a household income of £15,400 or less per year after tax.
Additional supporting information will be required.
Can a provider or setting ask for a deposit to secure my child's place?
As a family who are eligible for two year old funding, ideally you would not be expected to pay any deposit or fees upfront, unless you are attending for more than your free number of hours each week. However, some providers do ask for a small refundable deposit to secure a place. This is because they have to set aside a place for your child and will lose money if they do not use it. This should be refunded in full when you leave, as long as you have upheld any agreement made with them. Please discuss this with your provider to ensure this is clear from the beginning.
What happens if my income changes?
If your child has already been offered a two year old funded place and has started with an early years provider then your eligibility will not change until the term after your child’s third birthday. At that point your child will become eligible for three year old funding which is a universal offer across the country. Every child of this age is eligible for 15 hours funded early education and some may be eligible for up to 30 hours. For more information see Childcare-Funding.
If, however, you have been confirmed as eligible for Two year old funding and have not taken up a place during the term in which your child has become eligible, this will need to be checked again at the point of entry to the provider and a funded place may be declined if your circumstances have changed. This means you would need to pay for a place.
What happens if I move to another local authority?
If you are changing to an early years provider outside of the Royal Borough your funding will stop and you'll have to apply to the local authority that your child will be attending in.
What happens if I live in the Royal Borough but I would like my child to attend a provider or setting in another local authority?
It is possible to claim your free hours but we would recommend contacting us first.
What happens if my child doesn’t regularly attend the childcare setting or provider?
We will monitor how often your child attends and if this drops below the expect norm it could affect your funding. Regular attendance is better to help your child to settle in.
Will the childcare setting or provider be paid directly for my child’s Two year old funding?
Yes, they will be paid directly by us for the hours claimed.
Does the 15 hours a week free childcare include school holidays?
You’re entitled to 570 hours per year. Usually, this is 15 hours a week, term time only. You can ask for these hours to be spread over the calendar year rather than the academic year. We would recommend speaking to your chosen provider and checking if they can offer this beforehand.
If I don’t use all of my 15 hours a week entitlement in a school term, can I transfer this to another term?
No, it is not possible to transfer unused hours.
Could a childcare setting or provider charge me for snacks or lunch?
A childcare provider or setting could do this if you have been given the opportunity to provide your own and have chosen not to. We would recommend checking out additional costs with your childcare provider or setting so that you don’t get any surprise charges.
What happens if I choose to move my child to another childcare setting or provider within the borough? Will this affect my funding?
No, this won’t affect your funding. Just make sure the new setting makes us aware and you have given the correct notice period to the original provider or you could be liable for any costs they incur as a result of you leaving. This is at their discretion.
What does the local authority use to check my child’s eligibility?
We will run a check against the eligibility checking service which will tell us whether you are in receipt of any of the required benefits. This check will not tell us any specific information about your benefit, only that you are claiming it.
For children in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), a copy of the original confirmation letter needs to be sent to us to prove that you are currently receiving it.
For all other eligibility criteria, further supporting evidence will be required. The two year old funding team will contact you about this directly when they process your application.
What happens when my child turns three?
Two year old funding runs until the term in which your child turns three. From the following term, your child will become eligible for three year old funding which is a universal offer across the country. Every three year old can access 15 hours of funded early learning, but some families may be able to access up to 30 hours. For more information please see childcare-funding.