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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:

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’)

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 either:

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.

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