Free childcare for two-year-olds

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update:

At present we can only process online applications, therefore if you apply online you must provide an email address so you can be given an application outcome via email. If you have any queries about applications, please email

Updated: 26 May 2021


If you are eligible, your child could receive 15 hours per week over 38 weeks of the year (term time) or 11 hours each week of the year free childcare at an Ofsted registered childminder, day nursery or pre-school.

Find a provider in your area online.

To receive free childcare for two-year-olds, you must apply for your child’s free place. Once funding is in place, it remains in place until your child is age eligible for their three-year-old funding.

How to apply

Parent or carers of two-year-old children who receive one of the following benefits can apply online or download the application form:

  • Income Support
  • Income based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income related Employment Support Allowance
  • The guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Tax Credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • Working tax credit 4 week run-on
  • Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less before tax, not including benefit payments
2YO FEEE Application form93KBpdf
Size: 93KBFile format: pdf

Supporting evidence

You must supply supporting evidence if applying under the following criteria:

  • Children who attract Disability Living Allowance (please provide a recent copy of the letter showing the benefit to support your application)
  • Children who have left care through a special guardianship, adoption or child arrangement order

Please email the below supporting evidence to when you have submitted your online application.

Non-EEA citizens

If you are a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits and 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'); or
  • Been refused asylum in the UK (known as 'section 4')

Your child may also qualify 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 (Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights)
  • Support from Peterborough City Council because you have a "child in need" (for example if they have a disability or 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)

Other eligible groups of children

  • Children who have a current statement of Special Education Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan;
  • Children looked after by the local authority

Referrals under this section must be made by a professional third party such as a social worker, health professional or practitioner. Parents cannot self-refer. Additional information may be requested. Please apply by downloading the application form and return via email to

Birthday eligibility

The table below shows when your child could be eligible subject to the above criteria.

Birthday eligibility for free childcare for two-year-olds

Child born on or between

Becomes age eligible for a two-year-old place from:

1 January and 31 March

1 April following their second birthday

1 April and 31 August

1 September following their second birthday

1 September and 31 December

1 January following their second birthday

You can apply the term before your child becomes age eligible (e.g. if the child is age eligible from September, you can apply from April).

Further information

We would recommend parent/s complete the government's childcare calculator tool to find out what financial help could be available to them to support with childcare costs.

For more details about all government schemes, visit the Childcare Choices website.