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2 Year Old Free Early Education Funding

The funding of free early education/childcare places for 2 year olds aims to support the most vulnerable and excluded families and improve outcomes for the most disadvantaged children.

Parents or carers of 2 year olds who meet the criteria (below) can access an early education grant to fund childcare sessions for 15 hours per week, 38 weeks of the year from the term after their 2nd birthday. 

Eligibility Criteria

(must be getting one of the following)

Income Support

Income-based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Support through Part 6 – Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit

Working Tax Credit 4 week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

Universal Credit

Currently looked after by a Local Authority in England or Wales

They have left care in England / Wales through, Adoption / Special guardianship Order / Child Arrangement Order

Tax Credits and an annual income under £16,190 before Tax (Salary Income only)

Have a current statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education Health Care Plan

They receive Disability Living Allowance


How to apply

Liverpool has changed the way places are secured.  There is no longer a need to make an application for the Local Authority to approve. Given the large number of children who are likely to qualify for a place in the City, our intention is to make it as easy as possible for parents, promote increased parental choice and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy. 

Parents can apply by checking they meet the criteria and simply provide proof to the chosen provider of their choice. This can be proof of an income support letter, a Tax credits awards notice (TC602A) provided by HMRC or for Asylum seekers an NASS card. The Providers will use this proof as evidence of eligibility so they can claim funding for your child’s place.

– Evidence of the child's date of birth will need to be shown along with the proof you provide before a place can be offered. The Authority can ask the provider to evidence they have had sight of these documents when they make a claim for funding as part of the audit arrangements.

Where a child is looked After by the Local Authority (LAC) their eligibility will be confirmed by the Local Authority. 

For children with Special Educational Needs / Disabilities (SEND) you will be eligible if the child has an Education Health Care Plan or if the child is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or is receiving a Personal Independance Payment Award (PIP) 

The Authority is also supporting a Parent Champion programme, where volunteer parents will support eligible families in finding and securing a 2 year old place where this is needed. The team can also check eligibility if a parent cannot produce proof of benefits.

What childcare will be given?

The preferred nursery or childminder must be registered with Ofsted and have acquired at least a ‘Good’ rating. It must also be included on the local authority list of Nursery Education providers to receive funding for the child.

To find out if a nursery is on the local authority provider list, you can search from the directory home page via the Childcare tab 

Further information

For any further help or information you can contact Rachel Kelshaw - Parent Champion Coordinator on 0151 233 4747