Free childcare for 2 year olds

What's on offer?

Eligible children are entitled to 15 hours a week of free childcare during school term times with a childcare provider of your choice. This could be a child-minder, nursery or pre-school/playgroup, and some schools also provide places.  

Free places should be taken at a good or outstanding OfSTED| graded setting to ensure the best care and learning opportunities for your child. The Family Service Directory| offers more information about finding local childcare, just input your home postcode or town.

The benefits

The scheme 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.

Families getting help with childcare costs from Working Tax Credits| (WTC), get up to 70% of childcare paid for. But if a child qualifies for a funded place, then you get a full 15 hours absolutely free.  

For children who qualify, but attend a provider for more than 15 hours per week, families can still claim for up 70% of their costs for the extra hours through WTC.  How this works if you claim Working Tax Credits|.

Are you eligible?

If you are claiming any of these benefits the answer is yes:

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

Two year olds are also eligible if they:

  • Have a current statement of SEN or an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC)
  • Attract Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • They 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 your child be eligible?

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

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 print out, complete and return the PDF Documentapplication form| (2.17 MB) to the address below:

Staffordshire Think2 Central Team,
Tipping Street,
ST16 2DH 

If you have any questions please contact us|.


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