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Early learning and childcare can help young children gain and develop vital language and communication skills. It can support them to grow in confidence and develop creativity and curiosity as well contributing to their sense of self and to their social development

Access to funded Early Learning and Childcare can support  parents and carers to access work, training or study.

Children aged two years or over who are (or have been at any point since turning two years) Looked After by a local Council, subject of a kinship care order, have a parent appointed guardian or have a care experienced parent are eligible for 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare.

Eligible benefits

From August 2021, children aged two years old from households where a parent or carer is in receipt of benefits listed below are entitled to 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare from the term after their second birthday. 

Eligible benefits are:

  • Income Support*
  • Job Seekers Allowance (income based)*
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income based)*
  • Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance*
  • State Pension Credit*
  • Child Tax Credit, but not Working Tax Credit, then your earnings can be £17,005 or less
  • Both maximum Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit and your income is under than £7920 or the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit and your income is £660 per month or £7920 per year or less
  • Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

The income thresholds for Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit can vary annually.

Start dates

Applications should only be made three months before the eligible term, ie children eligible for August should only submit an application from the end of May onwards.

If you apply prior to three month before your child is eligible your application may be declined and you will be advised to reapply.

Start dates information
BirthdayTermStart monthWhen can I applyApplications considered
1 March - 31 August Autumn August 31 May - 24 July July
1 September - 31 December Spring January 30 September - 24 November November
1 January - last day of February Summer April 31 December - 24 February March

Where the service is available

A list of centres offering eligible two year old places can be found in A Guide to Early Learning and Childcare (PDF 695Kb)

How to apply

  • Apply online. Please note that the link below will take you to the customer account login page where you will be prompted to create an account or log in.

Apply for two year old place

  • Complete the application form if your child will be two within the next three months
  • You will be notified by email if your application is successful and what establishment has a place available

Please note that it will not always be possible to allocate a place in your first choice of centre. 

Contact Information

Early Learning and Childcare
Telephone: 07385 394774 or 07741 134679
Community Childcare
Telephone: 07423 749236