All children aged three and four are entitled to free early learning and childcare. Free places are also available to some families with two-year-olds if their parent or carer receives one of the following benefits:
- Income support (IS)
- Job Seeker’s Allowance (income-based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (income-based)
- Incapacity or Severe Disablement Allowance
- State Pension Credit
From August 2015, the following children are also eligible.
Those who have turned two on or after 1 March 2015, and have a parent or carer who receives one of the following benefits:
- Child Tax Credit (CTC), but not Working Tax Credit, and your income is less than £16,105*
- Both maximum Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit and your income is under £6,420; or, the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)*
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Universal Credit
Children are eligible to take up their funded place from around the term after their birthday or from the term after their parents starts receiving the qualifying benefit.
Once a child becomes eligible and takes up their place, they stay entitled to a place even if their parent’s circumstances change (for example, if they no longer received one of the qualifying benefits).
Additionally, the free early learning and childcare is available for two-year-olds who are, or have been at any point since their second birthday:
- Looked after
- Under a kinship care order
- Under a guardianship order
If you think you qualify, find out how to claim your free early learning and childcare place today.
*The income thresholds for Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit can vary annually.