West Berkshire Council

Free Childcare for Two Year Olds

Childcare and early education places for two year olds - information for parents

Please apply for two year old childcare by registering on the Citizen Portal.

15 hours free childcare for two year olds

Eligible families are now able to access up to 15 hours a week of funded early education for their two year old children.

Is my two year old eligible for a funded place?

Your two year old can get free early education and childcare if you live in England and 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 have a combined income from work of £15,400 or less a year, after tax
  • tax credits and you have an income of £16,190 or less, before tax
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • support through part six of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • the Working Tax Credit four week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

A child can also get free early education and childcare if your child:


 In March 2020, the government temporarily extended eligibility for the free early education entitlement for two-year-old children whose parent(s) meet the following conditions:

  1. that they are excluded from claiming public funds as a consequence of their immigration status, or their lack of immigration status; and
  2. they are in receipt of support under section 17 of the Children Act 1989

The government has decided that from 1 September 2020 this extension, will be made permanent. This means parents meeting the above conditions - as well as the income thresholds above can apply for 2 year old funding, if you think you have a child who may be entitled on this basis please contact the Early Years Team at: earlyyearsservice@westberks.gov.uk

When can I apply?

If your child is already two, you can apply at any time. If your child is not yet two, you should apply in the term they turn two. The term dates are as below:

Spring Term

1 January to 31 March

Summer Term

1 April to 31 August 

Autumn Term

1September to 31 December

How can I apply for funding for my child?

If you think your child may be eligible for funding, you can apply through our Citizen Portal. Once you have registered for an account, it is simple to use and takes you through a simple form. Your application will be checked and if you are applying based on your income, you should find out straight away if your child is eligible. If you are applying based on different criteria, your application will be sent to us for approval. Have a look at pdf icon our guidance [510kb] for help filling out the form.

If you are eligible, you will be receive a unique reference number for your child - you need this to show to your early years provider for them to claim the funding for you.

If you have further questions about funding for two year olds, you should email earlyyearsservice@westberks.gov.uk.

If you are unable to apply online, please contact the West Berkshire Family Information Service on 01635 503100, who can help you find a local provider. You can also ask your nursery, pre-school or childminder to help you apply, or contact your local family hub for support and information.

Who To Contact