Having covered free childcare funding for 3 and 4-year-olds in England last time, we now look at free childcare for eligible 2-year-olds. Specifically, we’re looking at the Government’s scheme that entitles eligible 2-year-olds to 570 hours of free childcare over the course of a year. This is usually taken as 15 hours per week over 38 weeks, however some childcare settings can cater for a different pattern, if feasible.
The Benefits of Free Childcare Funding for 2-Year-Olds
Free childcare for 2-year-olds can be an absolute godsend for working families, often helping them to boost both household income and quality of life by being able to work while their child is safely cared for at a nursery.
It’s also hugely beneficial to the 2-year-old child, who benefits from an early start on their education. This allows them to receive an educational boost in readiness for school as they approach the age of five, meaning they can be several steps ahead, right from the moment they start. This can have a welcome domino effect. Starting early education by the age of two can lead to long-term gains including better outcomes in their lives and even eventually in their careers. Such benefits, stemming from their experience at the age of just two, are incredible when you think about it. The findings are backed up by various studies around the world, including by the UK’s own Department of Education.
So, whichever way you look at it, free childcare funding for 2-year-olds is a great thing for children who are eligible — and their families.
What’s Included or Excluded
The free funding for 2-year-olds can be used to cover only the actual childcare, not any ‘extras’. According to HM Government’s rules, the funding does not cover meals, snacks, nappies and things like sun cream, nor does it cover extra-curricular activities like trips. Such things may be charged as extra by the chosen childcare provider, so it’s best to clarify such things directly with them to avoid any unexpected costs.
Eligibility for Free Childcare Funding for 2-Year-Olds
Unlike the free childcare hours for 3 and 4-year-olds, eligibility for 2-year-olds requires that the family is receiving some kind of financial support from the Government. Examples include Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment & Support Allowance, Universal Credit (with a household annual income below £15,400 after tax, excluding benefit payments), Child Tax Credits (with a household income below £16,190 before tax), Pension Credit (the guaranteed component) or the Working Tax Credit “4-week run-on” payment.
Figures correct at time of writing (June 2022).
2-year-olds can also be eligible for the free childcare funding if:
• a local authority looks after them;
• they officially have special education needs or are subject to an EHC (Education, Health & Care) plan;
• they receive Disability Living Allowance;
• they have left care via a Child Arrangements Order, Special Guardianship or Adoption Order.
The rules above apply to childcare in England. Special rules apply to families in England that are non-EEA citizens(∞). Different rules and schemes also apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
When Can Eligible 2-Year-Olds Start?
Eligible 2-year-olds can begin using the free childcare hours in the term beginning on or after the 1st of January, 1st of April or 1st of September following their 2nd birthday.
How to Apply for Free Childcare Funding for 2-Year-Olds
Check the eligibility requirements above and, if you you believe your child is eligible, we advise you to have a chat with your childcare provider to get the ball rolling. Tic Toc Nursery would be happy to discuss this with you if you are looking for childcare in the Clayhall/Ilford area, so do get in touch if so. You can alternatively contact your local council.
Free Childcare for Eligible 2-Year-Olds at Tic Toc Nursery, Clayhall, Ilford
Tic Toc Nursery accepts Government childcare funding for eligible 2-year-olds as well as eligible 3 and 4-year-olds — subject to capacity at the nursery/pre-school, of course. So, if you would like to register your child for a place, or explore the possibility of doing so, we’d love to hear from you. The nursery/pre-school is based in Clayhall, Ilford (IG5), in Essex and is also located conveniently near you if you are looking for the best nurseries or pre-schools near Barkingside, Gants Hill, Redbridge, South Woodford and Fulwell Cross. We would welcome your enquiry, so please contact us (see option buttons below):