Funded childcare for 2 year olds

Funded childcare for 2 year olds

Some 2 year old children are eligible for funded childcare in Worcestershire.

Two year old funding eligible dates

Children who meet the eligibility criteria will be able to access up to 15 hours of funded childcare per week from the term following their second birthday. 

Children who turn two between: Please apply:  You can start receiving your funded hours from:
1 January and 31 March January to end of March April after the child's 2nd birthday
1 April and 31 August April to end of July September after the child's 2nd birthday
1 September and 31 December September to end of December January after the child's 2nd birthday

Search for 2 year old - funded childcare

Economic criteria

If you are living in England and:

  • your child is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

or if you are in receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit and household earnings are no more than £15,400 per year
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credits, with an annual household income of no more than £16,190
  • Working Tax Credits, with an annual household income of no more than £16,190
  • Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (paid for 4 weeks after a family stops qualifying for Working Tax Credits)
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act and you have a NASS number

Please note that you are not eligible if you claim working tax credits and child tax credits at the same time.

If you receive one of the benefits listed above your child may be eligible and you can apply for the funding.

Apply online

See below for more information about how you can use your 2 year old funding hours.

Additional criteria

Children are also entitled to a funded place if:

  • they are looked after
  • they have a current Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • they have left care under a Special Guardianship Order, Child Arrangements Order or Adoption Order

If your child meets one of the criteria above, please go to apply via post.

Non-EEA citizens who cannot claim benefits criteria

Children are also entitled to a funded place if:

  • their parent’s immigration status includes the condition of “No Recourse to Public Funds" and
  • their household income is less than £26,500 with 1 child or £30,600 with 2 or more children

Families will need to evidence their immigration status and income when applying.

If you meet the criteria above, please download an application for two-year-old funding to apply via post

Two-year-old funding application form

Working family criteria

From April 2024, eligible working parents of 2 year olds will be able to access 15 hours of funded childcare. Applications for families wishing to access this from April will need to apply before 31st March. 

For more information about the new offer for working families please visit Childcare Choices.

Apply here for your 2 year old.

What is my child entitled to?

Eligible children can receive up to 570 hours of funded early education per year. This can be used in many different ways such as 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year, or less hours per week for more than 38 weeks of the year. Your childcare setting will have more information about what they can provide to you.

You can use your hours in the following ways:

  • a maximum of two childcare settings in one day
  • a maximum of 10 hours in one day
  • a maximum of 15 hours over one week
  • taken between 6am to 8pm any day of the week

You do not have to take up the full 15 hours. It is important to check when your chosen setting offers funded hours to make sure you can take them at a time which suits you

Where can my child go?

Search for 2 year old - funded childcare

The childcare settings must be registered with Worcestershire County Council to offer funded places and include:

  • pre-schools
  • day nurseries
  • school nurseries
  • independent (private) schools
  • funded childminders
  • wrap around care

If your child attends two registered settings, you must complete a Parent Declaration Form for both settings, which must contain accurate information about the number of hours your child attends at each.

Frequently Asked Questions about 2 year old funding

How do I access my child’s funded hours?

Once you have applied for Two Year Old Funding and received your Certificate of Eligibility, take the Certificate to your chosen childcare setting. You will be asked for a copy of the Certificate, proof of your child’s date of birth and to complete a Parent Declaration Form. If your child does not already attend the setting, you will also be asked to complete registration paperwork to secure your child’s place. 

Why does the childcare setting need a copy of my child’s birth certificate?

The setting needs to confirm your child’s date of birth to ensure that they are the right age to access a funded place. You can show the setting a copy of your child’s birth certificate, passport or health record. 

What happens if my financial circumstances change?

Once you have been awarded Two-Year-Old Funding, it will remain in place until the end of the term in which your child turns three years of age, even if your circumstances change. 

Does accessing the funded hours affect my entitlement to benefits?

Accessing your child’s free entitlement should not have a negative impact on your financial status, however it may reduce the amount of money you receive towards your childcare costs. 

Benefits and Financial Support Checker

Can my child access two-year-old funding in Worcestershire if I do not live in Worcestershire?

Your child can access their funded hours at a Worcestershire setting if you have made a successful application via Worcestershire County Council.

Apply for Two Year Old Funding Online

What happens to the funding if my child attends more than one childcare setting?

You can choose how you want to allocate your child’s funded hours, but you should talk to all your child’s settings to check what they can offer before deciding. Once you have agreed, you should enter the hours onto your Parent Declaration Form which will be given to you by each setting your child attends.

Can my child access two-year-old funding with a childcare setting outside of Worcestershire?

Your child can attend a childcare setting in another local authority however you will need to apply for two year old funding with that local authority directly. Your child’s setting will be able to tell you how to make an application.

Do I have to pay for a funded place?

Worcestershire County Council pays the childcare setting directly for the funded hours your child attends; however this will not cover the cost of any food, consumables or additional services. The setting should have written information about how they offer the funded hours and any charges that may apply.

What if my childcare setting does not offer the funded hours when I want my child to attend?

Childcare settings can choose how they offer the funded hours. All settings must have a free offer available, but this can be for a limited number of places. It is advisable to check that the childcare setting offers the funded hours in a way which meets your needs.
All childcare settings should have written information to explain how they offer the funded hours.
If your chosen setting does not have an offer that meets your needs, please use the Childcare Search to find a suitable alternative.

Search for settings that offer Two Year Old Funding places

Can lunchtime be classed as part of the funded entitlement?

The funded place can be taken over a lunch break if this is offered by your childcare setting. Your setting may offer a meal at an additional cost, or you may be able to take a packed lunch; this should be discussed with your childcare setting before taking up the place.

Can I be charged a fee if I only want to use the funded hours?

You cannot be charged a registration fee if your child only accesses the funded hours. If your child access additional hours or services, you may be charged a registration fee; this should be discussed with your childcare setting.
If you are booking your child’s place in advance, you may be charged a refundable deposit to secure the place. This must be refunded to you by the end of the first term in which your child accesses funded hours.

Can I be charged during holiday periods?

If your child is accessing their funded hours over more than 38 weeks (stretched), you should not be charged during the holiday periods unless your child is accessing additional hours or services.
If your child is accessing their funded hours on a ‘term-time only’ basis and you do not wish to access paid for hours over the holidays, your childcare provider may not be able to guarantee your child’s place for the following term. You may be offered the option of paying a retainer to secure the place; this should be discussed with your child’s setting.

If my child does not attend, are the funded hours affected?

You are not able to claim back any funded hours that you child has been unable to attend; this includes illness, holidays, or any other absence. The funded hours will be used to keep your child’s place open until their return.

Is there any additional funding for a child with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities?

If your child has Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), their entitlement is still a maximum of 15 free hours per week.

If your child attends a specialist setting, such as an Early Years Language Class, the free hours will be automatically allocated to them. If your child attends the specialist setting for less than 15 hours per week, they will be able to use their remaining entitlement at another setting.

The setting may be able to apply for funding to provide additional support to meet the needs of your child; this is used to ensure that the funded hours are appropriate for your child and cannot be used to increase the number of funded hours they can access. 

Find out about childcare support for children with SEND

How do I change my child’s setting?

The funded hours are allocated on a termly basis. If you wish to move your child to a different childcare setting, you will need to give notice to your current setting by the end of the 3rd week of term to guarantee a transfer of funding.
If you wish to transfer your child to a different setting after this date, please contact your local Family Hub for support.
Before requesting a change in childcare setting, you should discuss any required notice periods with your child’s current setting. If a transfer takes place, the funded hours cannot be used to cover the cost of any notice period.

Support for families in Worcestershire, Starting Well Family Hub

I am not sure if my child is receiving all their funded entitlement, what should I do?

Your child’s setting should have written information explaining how they offer the funded hours. If you are paying for any additional services or hours, you should receive an invoice that clearly identifies any charges. If you are unsure about any of the charges, you should speak to your childcare setting who should be able to explain the fees. If you still have concerns, please contact your local Family Hub for support. 

Find a Starting Well Family Hub, Family Information Service

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