2 Year Old Education & Childcare Funding

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).


Next review date December 2023

What is 2 Year Funding?

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

Updated October 2020

Does my child qualify for a funded 2 year place?

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:

Economic 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. 


Non-economic criteria:

  • 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


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

If your immigration status says you have ‘no recourse to public funds’, you may still get funded childcare for your 2-year-old. You must live in England and your household income must be no more than:

  • £26,500 for families with one child
  • £30,600 for families with two or more children

You cannot have more than £16,000 in savings or investments.

NRPF groups include, but may not be limited to, children of:

  • Zambrano carers
  • families who have 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
  • families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction
  • those who have claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as ‘part 6’)
  • a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Chen carers
  • families holding a BN(O) passport
  • spousal visa holders
  • work visa holders
  • student visa holders
  • those with no immigration status
  • those with a UK Ancestry Visa
  • those with temporary protection status under Section 12 of the Immigration and Nationality Act
  • those with pre-settled status who do not meet the qualifying right to reside test
How do I apply for the funding?

You can check whether your child qualifies and apply for funding on the 2 year funding platform click here you will need to register, then sign in and complete the application form. 

If you do not have a National Insurance (NI), National Asylum Support Service (NASS) number, or if you have been given a Home Office Port reference number, please contact the Early Years team early.years@brighterfuturesforchildren.org as an assisted application will need to be done for you.

Please note: If you are applying under either the Non-Economic criteria or as a Non- UK citizen who cannot claim benefits criteria, please complete the additional supplementary application form (available to download at Stage 1 on the funding application) and attach this, along with supporting evidence, at Stage 3 of your funding application.

User Guide for Completing 2 Year Old Funding

The User Guide can be viewed here 


I am eligible, what happens next?

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.

I am not eligible, what happens next?

If you have received an email informing you that you are not eligible for the funding, but you believe that you are eligible, please reapply and attach supporting evidence to your application.

Families applying under either the Non-Economic criteria or as a Non- UK citizen who cannot claim benefits criteria, must complete and attach our supplementary application to their application, which can be found at Stage 1 on the funding application.

Families applying under the Economic criteria, can reapply and must attach supporting evidence, such as your three most recent Universal Credit statements, in full.

More information on help with childcare costs is available on the government’s website Childcare Choices

If you need assistance, please contact the Family Information Service by:

• email: fis@reading.gov.uk 

• phone: 0118 9373777 (option 2)

Which childcare providers can I use?

For 2 year funded places, the childcare provider must have a 'good' or 'outstanding' OFSTED rating.

Who do I speak to to find out more?

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 Email fis@reading.gov.uk 

You can also visit your local Children's Centre, where staff will be able to provide further information and assistance. 

Translated 2 Year Old Funding Leaflets
Could you be a Parent Champion for Reading? Help inform parent carers about 2 year funding?

We are looking for parents/carers whose children have benefited from the 2-year-old funding to become our Parent Champions.

As a Parent Champion you will be talking to local families on the benefits and positive experiences their child will encounter whilst accessing the 2-year-old funding.

To find out more on the Parent Champion Scheme, please visit the dedicated Parent Champion Scheme page https://brighterfuturesforchildren.org/services/under-5s/parent-champions/ or contact the Parent Champion Coordinator Lorna McGifford - Lorna.McGifford@brighterfuturesforchildren.org

Parent Champions Poster - May 2022 

Related Advice

3 & 4 Year Old Universal 15 hours and 30 hours funding SEND - Family Finance Childcare Contracts and Complaints Tax-Free Childcare: Helping Working Parents Pay for Childcare Childcare Costs Disability Access Fund (DAF) Early Years Inclusion Funding


Related Images

  1. Reading Family Information Service

Page last reviewed: 30/08/2023

Contact the Team

Family Information Service

fis@reading.gov.uk 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2

SEND Local Offer

localoffer@reading.gov.uk 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2

Adult & Carers Support

CSAAdvice.Signposting@reading.gov.uk 0118 937 3747 0118 937 3747
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