Free early education for 2 year olds

Your child may be able to access up to 15 hours per week of free early education over a minimum of 38 weeks, and up to a maximum of 570 hours within a year.

The free early education and childcare can be at a setting that receives funding and is signed up to Oldham’s Directory of Approved Providers. This includes:

  • nursery classes in schools and academies
  • day nurseries
  • playgroups and pre-school
  • childminders


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

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

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

Advice and support

Contact your local centre for advice about the free early education entitlement.

Children's centres

Check your eligibility

If you think you may be eligible, and this is the first time you have accessed this portal, please go to create an account .

If you have previously used the parent portal for schools admissions please go to Log in.

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