Funded 2 year olds

Early education and childcare for 2 year olds

If you meet one of the following criteria your 2-year-old may get funded childcare if you live in England:

  • 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
  • Child Tax Credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

If your child goes to an Ofsted-registered day nursery, preschool, independent school or some childminders, they will get their funding as follows:

  • Children born between 1 January and 31 March are eligible from the Summer term after Easter holidays (April).
  • Children born between 1 April and 31 August are eligible from the Autumn term (September).
  • Children born between 1 September and 31 December are eligible from the Spring term (January).

Application for funding is via the Synergy Parent Portal. If you need help to apply please read our guidance (PDF).

Apply for funding 

Your 2-year-old will be funded if they:

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

Your 2-year-old may get free childcare if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act and have either:

  • claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as ‘part 6’)
  • been refused asylum in the UK (known as ‘section 4’)

A 2-year-old you care for may also get free childcare if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and you have any of the following:

  • leave to remain with ‘no recourse to public funds’ on family or private life grounds
  • support from your local council because you have ‘a child in need’, for example they have a disability or a child protection plan
  • the right to live in the UK because you’re the main carer of a British citizen (known as a ‘Zambrano Carer’)

For an application for any of the above, please email

If you're a working parent of a 2 year old

For funded 2 year olds of working families please visit Childcare Choices for details.