Skip to main content

What is the 2 Year Old Early Years Education scheme?

Add to My Shortlist

What is the 2 Year Old Early Years Education scheme?

This is a scheme that allows eligible children to receive free early education from the funding period after their second birthday. This is part of a national offer from the Department for Education (DfE) and has been developed to improve outcomes for identified two year olds who would benefit from access to high quality early years and childcare provision. Early years and childcare providers also link with local Family Hubs, where providers and families of children who attend early years education can get a range of family support.

Children who are confirmed as eligible will be offered a place of up to 15 hours per week (a maximum of 570 hours per child's eligible birth year).

Eligible children can start claiming free early years education after they turn two. The earliest date your child can start will depend on when his/her birthday is:

Child's Birthday

     When Funding Can Start

1 January - 31 March

     1 April

1 April - 31 August

     1 September

1 September - 31 December

     1 January

If your child starts his/her placement after this date, funding will start from when your child takes up the place with an approved provider.

At your chosen provider you will need to confirm when your child attends and how the free hours will be taken. You will be asked to complete a Parent Declaration Form. The free early years education can be accessed over 2 days or more per week. The total number of free hours is 570 per child's eligible birthday year. Your chosen provider will have details of what they offer.

Once your child turns three he/she will be able to continue to have free early years education as part of the usual early years education entitlement for three and four year olds. If you wish to have more than your free hours, this is possible if your provider is able to offer this. Any additional hours or services that are not part of the free early years education will need to be paid for by the parent/carer to your chosen provider.

What are the benefits to my child and family?

The funding gives your child up to 15 hours a week of engaging in activities which will encourage their early learning, speech and language, social skills, independence and much more, but most of all, your child is learning with other children and finding their place in the world. Of course, those 15 hours a week will also give you a chance to have a break, return to or look for work, study, give other siblings some quality one on one time, whatever suits you.

Who can get funding for their two year old?

Children must meet the rules in either A, B or C shown below:

A – Economic: Children whose parents/carers are in receipt of one or more of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part 6 (VI) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit and have an annual gross household income of no more than £16,190 as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs
  • Working Tax Credit and have an annual household gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs
  • Working Tax Credit 4 week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit  Universal Credit will replace the following benefits:
    • Child Tax Credit
    • Housing Benefit
    • Income Support
    • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
    • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Universal Credit

    If you currently receive any of these benefits, you cannot claim Universal Credit at the same time.

    Universal Credit is being introduced in stages across the UK. You do not need to do anything until you hear from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about moving to Universal Credit, unless you have a change in circumstances.

B – Children looked after by the Local Authority:

  • Child in Care
  • Child Leaving Care in Special Guardianship, adoption or child arrangements order (previously residence order)

N.B. Details of a Social Worker able to verify the above information is required.

C – Child with Special Educational Needs and/or Disability as defined by:

Other information you need to know.......

Can a child take up the offer with any childcare provider?

  • Childcare providers used for placements will need to have an Ofsted rating of ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ and/or have been assessed by the Early Years Service as meeting the standards required. Placements to providers that do not meet these standards are made under the Local Authority’s discretion.

What about ‘extras’ like transport and meal costs?

  • There is no additional funding available to meet transport costs. There may be an opportunity for a childminder to support the family and collect and drop off children but this would have a fee payable by the parent/carer.
  • Providers of early years education can charge for a meal if the child attends during a mealtime and the parent/carer agrees to this. Most providers will allow for a parent/carer to send in a packed meal for his/her child. You should discuss this with your provider.
  • If you are only taking up your free early years education your provider should not charge you for anything additional (except for meals).
  • If you having additional hours or other services offered by the provider they may charge you for these including a registration/administration charge. The setting must provide you with an invoice for your child's attendance and this should clearly show charges made as well as showing your free hours.
  • If you have any concerns about the fees or charges your provider is asking you to pay, you can contact the Early Year Service at earlyyyearsservice@westberks.gov.uk .

What happens if the family circumstances change?

  • Once a child has been accepted onto the 2 Year Old early years education scheme and has started attending with an early years provider, funding will continue until the child moves into the usual  3 and 4 year old early years education entitlement, the funding period following his/her third birthday.
  • Should the family circumstances change, for example, if the parent/carer stops receiving benefits, the offer will not be removed.

To see if your 2 year old could benefit from such funding, please fill in our form https://www.westberks.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=28010

If you need any help with this, please call our Family Information Service on 01635 503100 or call into your local Family Hub who will be happy to help.