Apply for funded early learning - 2 year olds

Usually children start nursery when they are 3 or 4 but some 2 year olds are also eligible to attend. If your child was born between 1st March 2019 and 28th February 2020 and meet the qualifying criteria, they are entitled to a free nursery place in the school term 2021 to 2022:

Nursery places are not renewed automatically and you need to enrol your child each year.

2 year olds who qualify

Depending on what happens first, your child becomes eligible for free nursery place from after their second birthday or when you, their parent, or carer meet the conditions.

Your 2 year old is eligible if you receive one of the qualifying benefits and allowances:

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Job Seeker's Allowance (income based)
  • Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity or Severe Disablement Allowance
  • State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, but not Working Tax Credit, and your income is £16,480 or less
  • Child tax Credit and Working Tax Credit and your income is £7,500 or less
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit and your household take-home pay, is £625 a month or less

Children are also entitled if they are: 

  • looked after and accommodated
  • under a kinship or guardianship order 

It is social worker's responsibility to enrol a child who is looked after and accommodated or under a kinship or guardianship order.

When they can start

The date a 2 year old can start attending nursery depends on when their second birthday falls:

  • between January and February - start in April the same year
  • between March and August - start in August the same year
  • between September and December - start in January after their birthday

Apply for a place

You can either enrol your child after they turn 2 or when you start receiving qualifying benefits.

You will need to contact our Early Years team first so we can verify that your child is eligible. For 2 year olds places are allocated centrally which is why we ask you to contact our Early Years team regardless of the setting of your choice (council nursery or funded provider).

The team will advise what to include when you apply as it will differ depending on the support you receive. They will give you an application form to complete and return to them with:

  • evidence of the qualifying benefits that you receive
  • your child’s original birth certificate