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Early Learning Funding for Two, Three and Four years old

Early Learning Funding for Two, Three and Four year olds

Early learning for two year olds

Some children may be entitled to 15 hours of free childcare in the term after their second birthday.  Early learning for two year olds is only open to children that meet certain criteria such as:

  • 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-weeks run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

2 year olds can also get free childcare if they:

  • Are looked after by a local authority
  • Have a statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • Get disability living allowance
  • Have left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangement order

Additional Eligibility criteria

If the parents are non-EEA citizens who cannot claim benefits
2-year-old children may get free childcare if they 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 child may also get free childcare if the household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax and the family have any of the following:

  • Leave to remain with ‘no recourse to public funds’ on family or private life grounds
  • Support from local council because family have ‘a child in need’ for example they have a disability or a child protection plan
  • The right to live in the UK because they are the main carer of a British citizen, known as a ‘Zambrano Carer’

Nursery education for three & four year olds 

Every child in Tower Hamlets can have 15 hours of free nursery education in the term immediately after they reach three years of age.  The childcare applies directly to the local authority for funding.  All 3-4 year olds can get 570 free hours per year.  It’s usually taken as 15 hour weeks for 38 weeks of the year. 

Extension to free childcare entitlement for 3 & 4 year olds for working parents

The 30 hours of free childcare offers consists of a total of 1,140 hours across the year.  In order for parents to get funding, they must have their unique eligibility code for the extra 15 hours.  If the provider agrees, parents who qualify can take the 1140 hours over 51 weeks (22 hours per week) or term time over 28 weeks (30 hours per week).  Both parents must be in employment (or the single parent must have a job) and each parent, on average, should earn:

  • A weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at National Minimum Wage (NMW) or National Living Wage (NLW)

  • Under £100,000 per year

To see if you qualify for extra 15 hours go to Childcare Choices.