Funded childcare for 2 year olds
- How to claim the funded place
- When to submit your application
- Apply for an eligibility check
- Find a childcare provider
From the term after your child turns two, you might be able to claim 15 hours a week funded childcare (up to a maximum of 570 hours per year). This is called Funded Early Education and it is paid for by the Government.
Attending early education at a nursery, playgroup or childminder, can help your child:
- Make new friends and share
- Build their confidence
- Learn and develop
Before you can claim a funded place you will need to submit an application for us to check if you are eligible. We will send you an email or letter to tell you if you are eligible for a funded place or not.
If you are eligible you can then find a childcare provider and book the funded place with them. You will need to show your chosen childcare provider the email or letter that we send you so that they know you are eligible for a funded place. You will not be able to take up a funded place until you have done this.
Your child is eligible from the term following their 2nd birthday. The table below shows when you can access a place and when to apply so your child can start as soon as he or she is eligible.
|Childs birthday||When you can access a place||When you can apply from|
|1 April – 31 August||1 September (autumn term)||1 April|
|1 September – 31 December||1 January (spring term)||1 September|
|1 Jan – 31 March||1 April (summer term)||1 January|
If you would like any further information contact our Family Information Service.
If you are getting certain benefits (detailed below) you can submit your application online by clicking on the Online Eligibility Checker below. You will need to create an account first, then you need to log back in to your account to complete your application. Once your account has been created you can log in at any time and you do not need to create a new account if you have any other children that become age eligible, but, you must check each child in case your circumstances have changed.
Please see when to submit your application for more information.
Apply using the link above 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 - if you and your partner are on a low income from work (this usually means a combined income of less than £15,400 a year after tax)
- child tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax (providing you are not also receiving working tax credits)
- working tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax (providing you are not also receiving child tax credits)
- the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
- the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
If you do not have access to the internet you can also call our Family Information Service on 0300 123 6712
Other ways children might be eligible
If you are not getting one of the benefits listed above you might still be able to claim a funded childcare place. The other ways children could be eligible are:
- Children who are looked after by the council
- Children who have left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order, or adoption order
- Children who get Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Children who have a current education, health and care (EHC) plan
- Children in need
- Children with a child protection plan
- Children of Gypsy Roma Traveller Heritage residing in Lancashire
- Children of serving armed forces personnel residing in Lancashire
- Children who meet the criteria for portage from Lancashire County Council (please note referrals relating to this criteria can only be submitted by the portage team)
If you’re a non-European Economic Area citizen who cannot claim benefits
Your child may be eligible 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’)
Your child may be eligible if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and you have either:
- Leave to remain with 'no recourse to public funds' on family or private life grounds (under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights;
- The right to live in the UK because you're the main carer of a British citizen (known as a 'Zambrano Carer')
- Support from your local council because you have a child in need (under section 17 of the Childcare Act), and have no recourse to public funds
If your child meets any of the other criteria listed above, please contact your social worker, health visitor, Children and Family Wellbeing Service or Portage worker and they will be able to complete a referral on your behalf. Once we get the referral we will send you an email or letter to confirm your child can claim a funded childcare place.
Alternatively, if your child has left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order, adoption order or is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance you can send a copy of the order or DLA award letter by post to;
Lancashire County Council
or by email to; 2YOapplications@lancashire.gov.uk.
Please do not send originals as we are unable to return them to you.
You can use our childcare search to look for childcare providers who offer this service. We recommend you choose a childcare provider graded 'Good' or 'Outstanding' by Ofsted.
Please remember to take your letter or email confirming your eligibility with you when you book a place with your chosen childcare provider.
Check the information and guidance on accessing a two year old place for more details of the childcare providers you can use, restrictions around hours, and what to expect.