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Funded 2 year places - for families receiving additional government support

Some 2 year olds whose parents receive additional government support could eligible for 15 hours of early education funding. In Staffordshire this is called 'Think2'. This could be taken as:

  • 15 hours of early education for 38 weeks (up to 570 hours per year),
  • Some providers will allow you to ‘stretch’ funding over more weeks per year but by using fewer hours per week. Check with your childcare provider about how they offer funded hours.

If the family claims any one of the following, your 2 year old could be eligible:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax and NI contributions, and not including benefits
  • Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax (but not both)
  • 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)

Non-econmic Criteria

2 year olds could also be eligible if they meet any of he following non-economuc criteria:

  • attract Disability Living Allowance (DLA) *
  • are looked after by their local authority *
  • have left care through special guardianship or through an adoption or residence order *
  • have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) *

If you’re a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits

  • claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as ‘part 6’) *
  • been refused asylum in the UK (known as 'section 4') *

A 2 year-old you care for may also get free childcare if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and you have any of the following:

  • leave to remain with 'no recourse to public funds' on family or private life grounds *
  • support from your local council because you have ‘a child in need’, for example they have a disability or a child protection plan *
  • the right to live in the UK because you’re the main carer of a British citizen (known as a ‘Zambrano Carer’) *

* Documentation will be required as proof where an application is made against these additional criteria. Copies of the documentation can be posted or emailed to our team. You can find our contact details on the Think2 contact us page.

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

When could my child be eligible?

Applications can be made from the term your child turns 2 years old. When a turns 2 years olds between:

  • 1 January - 31 March - Funding can start from the following summer term (from 1 April)
  • 1 April - 31 August - Funding can start  from the following autumn term (from 1 September)
  • 1 September - 31 December - . Funding can start from the following spring term (from 1 January)

How to apply

You can apply online by creating your own Citizen Portal account:

Apply online

It takes just a few minutes and allows you to instantly check eligibility, track your application and contact our team. You can create your account with a valid email address and your National Insurance (or NASS) number.

You can also visit a Staffordshire Children's Centre or a main Library where staff will be able to assist with your application. Please ensure you take your National Insurance (or NASS) number or required documentation with you (as above *).

Further information

Find out more about how you can access your funded hours

  • Funding can be taken at:

NEW from April 2024 - Two year funding for working families - if you do not meet the criteria for Think2, you might be eligible for the working parent entitlement. See our working parent entitlement page for more details

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