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FREE Childcare for Eligible 2 Year Olds
Free childcare for eligible 2-year-olds
Working & non-working families may be entitled to up to 15hrs a week FREE childcare in an Ofsted registered Family Centre, Day Nursery, Preschool or with a Childminder.

That's FREE childcare for you to have a break, get a few things done at home, spend time with your other children, study, work or start to look for a job.

What’s the eligibility criteria?

To be eligible you must be claiming one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • Tax credits and have an annual income under £16,190 before tax
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit - If you and your partner are on a low income from work (this means a combined income of less than £15,400 a year after tax)

 Two year olds are also entitled to a place if:

  1. They are looked after by a local council
  2. They have left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order
  3. They have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education health and care plan
  4. The child has a disability and is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance
  5. Zambrano Parent/Carer

If you are applying under 1 to 5 do not apply online. Ring Families Information Service 0800 0345 340 and we will talk you through what evidence you need to email to support your application. We will then email you your eligibility code. 

When do I apply?

The best time to apply is the term in which your child turns 2 years old, or the week when your child has their 2nd birthday.

If you apply too early it will show as 'not found' or 'unsuccessful'.

If you receive a letter from BMBC you still need to apply. The letter alone is not proof of eligibility, and will not be accepted by childcare settings. The letter tells you how to apply. 

How to Apply
Its quick and easy, choose one of the choices below
Apply online

    1. Click the blue 'apply online' box below this section, which prompts you to create a 'Parent Portal' account.
    2. Follow the online instructions, you'll need to add details for you and your child.
    3. If you are eligible the system will give you a 6 digit code. Keep this safe.
    4. It is important that you remember the email and password that you use, as you will need to log back into your 'Parent Portal' account if you forget your eligibility code, and in the future to apply for your child/children's school place.


    • Ring Families Information Service on 0800 0345 340. Ask for an assisted application. (you will need your National Insurance number).
    • Email: your name and number and we will ring you
    • Message us on Facebook your name and number and we will ring you

    What do I do if I'm Eligible?
    • The system will generate a 6 digit code, keep this code safe
    • Take this code to your childcare provider so that they can claim the funding to pay for your childcare.
    If you change childcare settings you will need to pass the same code to your new provider, you can log back in to your account and view your code.
    What if it says I'm not Eligible?
    Sometimes the system does not recognise that you are eligible.

    This could be because:
    • You have recently changed address
    • You have made a change to your Universal Credit Claim
    Remember, not all 2 year olds are eligible for funding. Often families apply who do not meet the eligibility criteria. If you feel that you are eligible ring Families Information Service on  0800 0345 340
    When can my child start and how is the childcare paid?

    If your child’s 2nd birthday is between:

    • 1st January to 31st March they can start the beginning of the Summer term on or after 1st April
    • 1st April to 31st August they can start the beginning of the Autumn term on or after 1st September
    • 1st September to 31st December they can start the beginning of the Spring term on or after 1st January

    If your child is eligible the funding will be paid directly to the setting. 

    Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ's)
    Please keep visiting this section, we will keep adding to the FAQ's 

    Question: I’ve just got a job, what happens with my childcare funding?
    Answer: Once you have your confirmation email, if your circumstances change you keep the childcare funding

    Question: I want to move childcare settings, I've found a new setting, What do I do?
    Answer: Let your current childcare provider know that you want to move setting. This called giving your notice, the childcare setting will tell you the date your notice ends.

    The 6 digit code is unique to you so pass the code to the 'new' childcare setting and they can claim the funding to cover your childcare costs.

    Question: I want my child to attend all year round not just during term time. Can I do this?
    Answer: Talk to your childcare provider about a 'stretched offer'. This is where you can 'stretch' your child’s entitlement by taking less hours a week over more weeks of the year. Please note, some settings are only open during term time. 

    Question: Is the funding for the childcare place only?
    Answer: The 15 hours of free childcare is not intended to cover the costs of meals, or extras (such as nappies or sun cream), extra hours or additional activities (such as trips).
    Some childcare settings may charge a fee for these. If you choose to pay for these it is an arrangement between you and the childcare provider.
     However, you must not be required to pay any fee as a condition of taking up a 15 hours place, and must be offered alternative options (extract taken from

    Question: I've lost my 6 digit code, What should I do?
    Answer: You can log back into your account on the Parent Portal, the 6 digit code will still be on your account