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Free childcare for 2 years olds


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15 free hours of childcare for your 2 year old could be yours, provided you meet some of the criteria.

Initially launched as a pilot in 2010-2011 and rolled out UK wide 2013. This scheme has help thousands of children across the UK. With government funding being increased year after year it shows no signs of stopping.

Why are 2 years olds being offered free childcare?

It’s apparent that family background, and particularly the home learning environment, can have on children’s cognitive and social development from a very young age.

It emerged a high quality early education can counter the potential negative effects of living in circumstances that do not facilitate children’s cognitive and social development. In simple terms, good childcare can counter a low nurturing home environment. When this is stated, it doesn’t mean the parents are deadbeats, the government simply want to help low income families.

The Department of Education state the two year olds programme was seen as playing a crucial role in improving disadvantaged children’s social and cognitive outcomes (e.g. social confidence and independence, verbal skills and reasoning ability), and in ensuring that by the age of five they are as ready as their more advantaged peers to start and fully benefit from school. This was and has remained the overarching aim of the programme.


Who can get free childcare a 2 year old child?

To start the process you’ll need a few documents, the requirement of documents may vary for each local authority.

  • Requiring to see only children’s birth certificates and using self- declaration forms to prove the family was in receipt of the required benefits
  • Requiring to see benefits documents, birth certificates and proof of address • taking photocopies of all documents as a proof of eligibility and storing them centrally
  • Requiring to see benefit documents as well as using signed self-declaration forms.

Free childcare for my 2 year old eligibility

All families accessing the free childcare MUST meet (i.e. be in receipt of) at least one of the following criteria:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit at a rate higher than the family element
  • Extra Working Tax Credit relating to a disability
  • Pension Credit

Even if you don’t meet any of the above criteria to benefit from free childcare for your 2 year old. Local Authorities are free to implement extra criteria which may include any of the below.

  • Asylum seeking/refugee families BME families
  • Children from families with three or more children aged under five
  • Teenage parents
  • Lone parents
  • Parents with health issues or disabilities
  • The family has experience domestic violence
  • The family has experience substance misuse issues
  • Children with speech and language needs, including English as an additional language
  • Children in care
  • Children on the Child Protection Register
  • Children in temporary accommodation
  • Children involved with social services
  • Children with developmental or learning delay
  • Children with disabilities
  • Children who are experiencing emotional and behavioural problem.

It’s worth mentioning your current situation when enquiring since local authorities can provide free childcare for 2 year olds for a wide range of families.

I hope you’ve found this article helpful and most importantly clear and to the point. I often find government schemes are hidden amongst a plethora of waffle and it’s just difficult to enquire never mind benefit from such schemes.



About Carol Iles

About Carol Iles

Website: Carol Iles

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