Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Our Services A - Z :

Funding for 2 year olds

If you have received a Play and Learning Voucher in the post you are automatically eligible for 2 year funding and do not need to apply here. 

If you have not received a voucher you can check if your child is eligible here

You will need your National Insurance Number or National Asylum Seekers Support Number to apply.  If eligible, the Online Eligibility Checker (OEC ) will give you a reference number which remains active for six weeks. If the reference number expires, you will need to use the OEC again to obtain another valid reference number.  Take this reference number to your chosen childcare provider.

Childcare providers:  Check an OEC reference number here

Is my child eligible for funding?

Up to 15 hours per week of free early education and childcare is available to eligible 2 year olds from the term after their second birthday.

Parents need to be in receipt of one of the following in order to receive two year funding:

  • Income support
  • Income - based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income - related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of the State Pension Credit
  • Child tax credit, and have an annual income (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs) that does not exceed £16,190
  • Working Tax Credits (including those in receipt during the four week period immediately after their employment ceases, or after they start to work fewer than 16 hours per week) with a household income of less than £16,190 as assessed by HMRC
  • Universal Credit

Your child may also qualify if one of the following applies:

  • Children who are currently looked after by the local authority (LAC)
  • Children who have left care through a special guardianship or an adoption or residence order
  • Children with a current statement of education needs or an education, health and care plan
  • Children in receipt of the Disability Living Allowance

In these circumstances you will need to complete an application form which you can download here. 

Alternatively contact the Family Information Service on 0800 023 2057 or your local Children's Centre

Finding a childcare setting

If you need help in finding a suitable setting please contact the Family Information Service on

0800 023 2057 or go to our Family Services Directory 

Bedford Borough Council will organise the funding direct with the chosen childcare setting.

If your child is eligible for Free Early Education

  • You are entitled to up to 570 free funded hours a year
  • A registration fee should not be charged if you are only accessing the free funded hours    
  • You are not obliged to pay for any additional services such as meals, extra activities or additional hours in addition to the funded place.  If any goods or services are charged this should not be a condition of children accessing their place
  • You do not have to purchase a uniform for your child

You will need to check with your childcare provider that these conditions will continue once your child is receiving 3 year funding.

Please refer to our leaflet Free Early Education and Childcare for 2 year olds for parents for more information.


To find out more information please contact the Family Information Service on  0800 023 2057 or email fis@bedford.gov.uk

Don't Miss

Borough Hall Exterior

This website provides information on the services delivered by Bedford Borough Council.


Stay Connected
Sign up for email alerts!