Free Places for 2 Year Olds

Early education offer for low income families

More two year olds than ever before now qualify; does yours?

Even more two year olds are now able to take advantage of free early learning in Staffordshire. If you receive benefits or are on a low income, your two year old is likely to be eligible for the fifteen hours of free childcare per week. Two year olds with a special educational need and those in care or who have left care are also entitled.

The scheme, known as Think2, could be your ticket to improve life, career prospects and relationships as well as help to further support your child’s learning and development in preparation for school.

What's on offer?

Up to fifteen hours per week (term time) of good quality early education with a childcare provider of choice. This could be a child-minder, nursery or pre-school/playgroup. Some schools are also now providing places for two year olds. You can build up the amount of hours gradually to suit your child and family circumstances.

We recommend that free places are taken with a Good or Outstanding OfSTED| graded setting to ensure the best care and learning opportunites for your child. The Family Service Directory| offers more information about finding local childcare.

Very young children who enjoy a good quality early education often get a better start in life. Their early experiences of learning through play form a great foundation both for school life and the years to come.

Are you eligible?

To qualify for a free childcare place, your child must be two years old (funding for eligible children starts the term after their second birthday) and you must meet one of the following criteria:

Household Income

  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Child Tax Credit and/or Working Tax Credit and have an Annual income of not more than £16,190
  • Support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

SEN/Child Development

  • Your child has a current statement of SEN or an education, health and care plan (EHC)
  • Your child attracts Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

2 year olds also qualify who:

  • Are looked after by their Local Authority
  • Have left care through special guardianship or through an adoption or residence order

Please note: If your circumstances change your funded place will not be taken away.

When will my child be eligible?

Your child is usually eligible from the school term| after their second birthday.

Children born between:

Free places start from:

1st January - 31st March

Summer term (from 1st April)

1st April - 31st August

Autumn term (from 1st September)

1st September - 31st December

Spring term (from 1st January)



How to apply

The quickest and easiest way is to apply online| Or if you prefer you can print out, complete and return the PDF Documentapplication form| (2.20 MB) to the address below:

Staffordshire Think2 Central Team,
Tipping Street,
Stafford,
ST16 2DH 

If you have any questions or would like to talk to an advisor please contact us|.

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