Your child becomes eligible for a free place in the term after their second birthday.


Child’s birthday

When you can claim

1 January to 31 March

the beginning of term on or after 1 April

1 April to 31 August

the beginning of term on or after 1 September

1 September to 31 December

the beginning of term on or after 1 January

You can apply once your child is 22 months old.

If you, as a parent, are currently claiming one of the following, then your two-year-old is entitled to the 15 free hours allowance:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • Child Tax Credit and/or Working Tax Credit and have an annual income under £16,190
  • The guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • The Working Tax Credit  four-week run on
  • Universal Credit with earnings threshold of £15,400 or below.

There are also a number of criteria that apply to your child rather than to you as a parent.

If any of the following apply, your child will be entitled to the free hours allowance for two-year-olds:

  • they are looked after by their local authority
  • they get Disability Living Allowance
  • they have a current statement of Special Education Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan
  • they have left care under a Special Guardianship Order, Child Arrangements Order or Adoption Order