Talking 2's - 15 hours free childcare (2 year olds)

Extending eligibility for a free early education place for disadvantaged two year olds - September 2019

The government has decided to extend eligibility for the free early education entitlement for the most disadvantaged two year old children to three additional groups of children from September 2019.

The new groups of children to be entitled to a free place are:

  • children of Zambrano Carers

  • children of families with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private/family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights

  • children of a subset of failed asylum seekers (supported under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 – ‘the 1999 Act’).

The children of Zambrano Carers will be entitled if their parents meet similar low level income requirements to others eligible for the scheme (e.g. £15,400 net earnings threshold for families in receipt of Universal Credit). Similarly, we are extending the entitlement to children whose families have a right to be here on Article 8 grounds with no recourse to public funds and who meet the same criteria of economic disadvantage. We are also extending eligibility to children whose families receive support under section 4 of the 1999 Act because they are temporarily unable to leave the UK and would otherwise be destitute. As such, they satisfy the low income requirements to be eligible for the entitlement.


Eligibility for 2 year old funding is changing! From 1 April 2018 there will be new eligibility criteria for children born on or after 1 January 2016:

  • you receive universal credits and have household net yearly income of no more than £15,400
  • your child has a current statement of Special Education Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan
  • your child attracts Disability Living Allowance
  • your child has left care through special guardianship or an adoption or residency order (including children in care).

Children born before the 31 December 2015 will be able to apply under the existing criteria:

  • you meet the criteria for free school meals
  • you receive working tax credits and have household gross yearly income of no more than £16,190 before tax credits
  • your child has a current statement of Special Education Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan
  • your child attracts Disability Living Allowance
  • your child has left care through special guardianship or an adoption or residency order (including children in care).

Last updated: 7.34pm on Tuesday 3 September 2019

  1. Introduction
  2. Eligibility
  3. How do I apply?
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