Early Education Funding (EEF) for Two Year Olds

15 hours free childcare and early education for two year olds.

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Who is eligible

To be eligible you must be receiving one of the following:

  • Income support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs
  • Working Tax Credit and earning less than £16,190 a year
  • Universal Credit

You will also be eligible if your child:

  • Has a current statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan
  • Receives Disability Living Allowance
  • Has left care through special guardianship, an adoption or residence order

Your child will also need to be registered with your local Children's Centre.

When to apply

Children are eligible from the term after their second birthday. The term dates are the same every year and are set by the Government.

Eligibility by birth date
Second birthday between Eligible from Submit application
1 April - 31 August Autumn term starting in September After 31 March
1 September - 31 December Spring term starting in January After 31 August
1 January - 31 March Summer term starting in April After 31 December


We have prepared the questions below to give you a better understanding of EEF.

What happens if my income changes?

If your child has already been offered a funded place, this does not change anything. Your child will continue to access the scheme until they are eligible for Universal 3-4 year old Early Education Entitlement.

What happens if I change address?

If you move out of the borough funding will stop and you will need to apply to your new local authority.

How much free childcare is available?

A maximum of 15 hours over 38 weeks (term time only), though in some cases there may be flexibility.

What types of childcare are available?

We will find a suitable place of high quality, which may be either a childminder or a nursery.

Will I need to make payments?

No - all fees will be paid direct to the childcare provider.

What happens if my child does not attend the childcare provider?

We will keep track of attendance to ensure your child is getting the most of the placement. If your child does not attend, the place may be offered to someone else unless there are exceptional circumstances. If you decide to remove your child from the childcare provider, you must let us know.

What happens when my child turns 3?

All children are entitled to receive Universal Early Education Entitlement following the term after their third birthday. We will try to place children where they can move smoothly from two to three year-old funding.

If your childcare provider is unable to accommodate your child when your child is three, you should let us know and we will find you an alternative childcare provider.

You may wish to register your child for a local authority nursery place at age three.  Places are limited and you will need to put your child’s name down when they turn two.


To find out more contact our Family Information Service, your local children’s centre, health visitor or other care professional.

We can only deal with applications for children that will attend childcare within the borough. If you are planning to use a provider based in another borough, you will need to apply to them directly. If you aren't sure which local authority you should apply to please speak to your chosen provider.

Updated: 7 June 2016