Early years and childcare
Free early education and childcare places for some two year olds
Information for childcare providers
Can I offer funded two-year-old places at my day nursery, preschool, childminders or maintained nursery?
If you are registered to offer three and four-year-old places and you currently have a good or outstanding rating from Ofsted then you can offer funded two-year-old places.
How do I register to offer the places
Simply complete the relevant sections of the expression of interest form and return it to the early years funding team.
If you are not yet registered to offer three and four-year-old places then you will need to complete additional paperwork which the early years funding team can provide.
How do the two-year-old places get allocated
Only certain two-year-olds are eligible usually a family will have gone to their local children centre and the early years worker at the children's centre will contact you about placing a child with you.
How do the places work
Eligible two-year-olds are entitled to up to 15 hours a week (570 hours in a year). You will be able to take up these hours during the school term up to 38 weeks or flexibly during the year over 50 weeks (across the schools holidays) but this will depend on what you have available.
The minimum length of a place is two hours, places cannot be more than ten hours in one day, and fifteen hours must be taken over at least two days.
Parents can choose to split their child’s place across two different childcare providers, taking some hours with one setting and the remaining hours with another setting.
Unlike three and four-year-old places, two-year-old places can be started part way through the term without exceptional circumstances.
How do I claim for the funded two year olds
Because funded two-year-old places can start part way through the term and only some two-year-olds are eligible for a place it is not easy to estimate their numbers each term, so the first payment you receive each term for funded twos will be based on your headcount. You do not need to get parents to sign a parental declaration/contract for the term for funded two-year-olds either.
Funded two-year-olds should be entered on the same headcount form as your funded three and four-year-old children.
Any funded two-year-olds which start with you after the headcount date should be entered on a late claim form and payment for them will be included in your final payment towards the end of term.
Funded two-year-old places are paid at a set rate of £4.85 an hour per funded two-year-old child.
What are the eligibility criteria for a funded two-year-old place
A full explanation of the eligibility criteria can be seen below.
Any queries on eligibility should be directed to the local children centre of the family in question.
What should I do if a parent comes directly to me and asks for a funded two-year-old place
You should ask the parent to show you a copy of their eligibility confirmation letter. If they do not have this you should tell them to visit their local children's centre to get their eligibility checked and tell the early years worker at the children's centre that they would like to take their funded two-year-old place with you. The early years worker will then contact you to arrange the place.
What should I do if a funded two-year-old child stops attending
You should contact the family to try and find out why they have stopped attending and work with them to encourage the child back into their place. If you are unable to get the child back into their place you should let the local children centre’s early years worker know and they may arrange a placement somewhere else for the child.
Can claims be backdated
No, claims can only be started from the date that the child’s eligibility was confirmed.
Where to find help
If you need information, advice or guidance about childcare, free nursery places and benefits available to you, contact the Family Information Service:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By post: Early Years Team, Education, Tarvin Professional Centre, Meadow Close, Chester, CH3 8LY