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Early Education Funding for 2 Year Olds

Some 2 year old children in England are eligible for 15 hours of Early Education Funding.


Click here to find out if you are eligible for funded childcare for your 2 year old. 

If you meet at least one of the criteria listed below you could be entitled to 15 hours early education funding a week, for 38 weeks of the year, for your two year old child:

  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit (annual net income of up to £15,400)
  • Jobseeker's Allowance (Income-based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (Income-based)
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit calculated on an annual income not over £16,190
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • children of Zambrano Carers: Children of families with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private/family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
  • children of a subset of failed asylum seekers (supported under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 – ‘the 1999 Act’)
  • are excluded from claiming public funds as a consequence of your immigration status, or your lack of immigration status;
  • are in receipt of support under section 17 of the Children Act 1989


  • children who get Disability Living Allowance
  • children who are looked after by the Local Authority 
  • children who have left Local Authority care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order
  • children who have an EHCP (education health and care plan) 

Apply for 2 year old funding

Use the online eligibility checker to apply for 2 year old Early Education Funding. 

When you apply online you'll get an instant response.  If you're eligible you'll receive a code to take to your childcare provider.

If your benefits have changed recently or fluctuate, the online eligibility checker may say you're not eligible. If you feel you are, you may need to provide us with evidence of your benefits.

If you prefer to apply in person or need help finding a childcare contact us on 01202 261970 or by email at  

You can also visit the Children's Information Service team in Bournemouth Town Hall.

When and where can my child claim funded hours?

Eligible children can access 15 hours a week of Early Education, for 38 weeks of the year from the funding period following their second birthday. You may be able to stretch these hours by taking less hours over more weeks, for example 11 hours per week over 51 weeks’.

Child's Birthday When Funding Can Start 
1 January - 31 March Summer Term (1 April)
1 April - 31 August Autumn Term (1 September)
1 September - 31 December Spring Term (1 January)

You can access a place at a day nursery, pre-school, independent nursery school, school nursery or childminder that is approved to provide early education funding for 2 year olds.  A full list of registered providers can be found here.

If you need help finding a provider, contact the Family Information Service on 01202 261970 or email 

What is my child's entitlement and how does it work?

You are entitled to 15 hours Early Education funding per week across 38 weeks per year. If you need childcare in the school holidays you could stretch your entitlement (less hours per week, but over more than 38 weeks per year).

If you can't use the full 15 hours per week with one provider, you can share the entitlement with a second provider.

Many childcare providers will have specific times of day where they accept government funded hours, so check in advance. Funded hours can be used between 6.00am and 8.00pm (subject to availability at your chosen provider - the provider does not have to be open during these hours).

What additional charges might I be asked to pay?

You will need to pay for any hours your child attends over and above the number of funded hours per week.

Additional services such as meals, snacks and drinks, trips, and extra activities such as music and dance are not covered by early education funding, and the childcare provider may ask you to pay for these.

At the beginning of each new term, the childcare provider should tell you about any charges that may be incurred, enabling you to make an informed choice as to whether the childcare provider is right for you and your child.

If your child attends a childcare provider outside of your Local Authority area the funding will be paid by the Local Authority where your child attends. 

What if I'm claiming the childcare element of Working Tax Credits?

Early Education funding does not affect benefits received. However, the funding does mean that your childcare costs will be lower, so if you're claiming the childcare element of Working Tax Credit, you should only claim for the childcare fees you're paying to prevent an overpayment.

Find out more here or call 0345 300 3900

Finding a childcare provider

You can search for registered childcare in the Childcare section of this directory.

Alternatively, if you would like help in find childcare contact us on 01202 261970 or by email at or you visit  Children's Information Service team in Bournemouth Town Hall.