15 hours of free childcare or early education is available to families that meet certain eligibility criteria from the term after your child’s 2nd birthday.
The free entitlement can be taken at any Ofsted registered provider such a local nursery, pre-school, playgroup or childminder that is eligible to receive funding and is signed up to Oldham Council’s directory of approved providers.
It entitles you to receive the 15 hours over 38 weeks (A total of 570 hours per year), or you can ‘stretch’ the hours over more weeks, using fewer hours per week. This can be discussed with your chosen childcare provider.
Who is eligible?
Your 2-year-old can get free childcare if you get one of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
- tax credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
- the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
- the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
2-year-olds can also get free childcare if they:
- are looked after by a local council
- have a statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
- get Disability Living Allowance
- have left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order
You may have to pay for extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.
Contact your childcare provider or local council to find out more.
If you’re a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits
Your 2-year-old may get free childcare if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act and have either:
- 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’)
- support from your local council because you have ‘a child in need’, for example, they have a disability or a child protection plan
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:
- the right to live in the UK because you’re the main Carer of a British citizen (known as a ‘Zambrano Carer’)
If your immigration status says you have 'no recourse to public funds', you may still get free childcare for your 2-year-old. You must live in England and your household income must be no more than:
- £26,500 for families outside of London with one child
- £34,500 for families within London with one child
- £30,600 for families outside of London with two or more children
- £38,600 for families within London with two or more children
You cannot have more than £16,000 in savings or investments.
If you have a child that falls under the non-EEA citizen eligibility criteria above, please contact the Free Entitlement team 2Year.OldEntitlement@oldham.gov.uk.
When to apply
You can apply once your child is 21 months old and your child becomes eligible for a free 15 hour place in the term after their second 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