Early education from age two has long-lasting benefits for children, and helps to promote a child’s physical, emotional, cognitive and social development.
However the evidence shows that on average, disadvantaged families are less likely to make use of formal childcare provision than more advantaged families, and that is why government funding is available for two year old children of eligible families to access high quality early years education and childcare for up to 15 hours a week (570 hours over 38 weeks).
Last reviewed October 2020.
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Parents of some two-year-olds are entitled to funded childcare or early education for up to 15 hours per week (up to 570 hours per year) from the start of the term after the child's second birthday
- Born between 1st January to 31st March can claim funding from the term beginning on 1st April
- Born between 1st April to 31st August can claim from funding the term beginning on 1st September
- Born between 1st September to 31 December can claim funding from the term beginning on 1st January
Your 2-year-old can get funded early education and childcare if you live in England and meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credits or Working Tax Credits and they have a gross annual income (before tax) of no more than £16,190
- Working Tax Credit run-on, which is paid for 4 weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit - if you and your partner have a combined income from work of £15,400 or less per year after tax.
- Received a DWP postcard from the Local Authority with a unique reference number (URN) on
- the child has been in Local Authority care for 1 day or more
- the child has left Local Authority care under a special guardianship order, a child arrangement order or an adoption order
- the child has a statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan (EHC)
- the child receives Disability Living Allowance
Non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits:
A 2-year-old may get funded childcare if the family is 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 may also get funded childcare if the household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and the family have either:
- 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 they are the main carer of a British citizen (known as a ‘Zambrano Carer’)
Updated October 2020
You can check whether your child qualifies and apply for funding on the Citizen Portal you will need to register, then sign in and complete the application form . If you need help with the online application, please talk to your health visitor, your local children's centre or Early Years providers.
Please use the Parent's Guide if you need assistance with completing the on line application form.
You will receive an email with a reference number confirming your eligibility for 2 year old funding.
You will need to share this reference number with your chosen childcare provider. Your childcare provider will use this reference number to place your child at their setting and claim funding.
Please note: not all childcare providers in Reading are registered to deliver 2 year old funding.
For 2 year funded places, the childcare provider must have a 'good' or 'outstanding' OFSTED rating.
Above you will see two boxes that provide links to childcare providers who offer funded places and those that can offer immediate vacancies.
For further information on 2 year funding please contact the Family Information Service on 0118 9373777 (option 2). To access information on providers offering 2 year places search through the childcare options on the following page Childcare Search
You can also visit your local Children's Centre, where staff will be able to provide further information and assistance.
Please see below the 2 Year Old Funding Leaflets that are available in different languages.
Information on the website pages can be translated in to different languages by using google translate (top right of the screen).