Early Years Service - Information for Parents

Funding for Two Year Olds

Free Early Education - Funding for 2 year olds

The Government has extended the current scheme to offer Free Early Education to 40% of 2 year olds from the funding period after their second birthday, for families who meet the Government’s criteria for 'Free School Meals'. Childcare providers offering placements for two year old children will need to have an Ofsted rating of ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ and/or assessed by the Early Years Advisory team meeting the standards required.

For a child to be eligible a parent/carer must have an income below £15,400 and be claiming the one of the following state benefits, listed below:

The following links go through to the GOV.UK website and provide more information for parents who are in receipt of one of the benefits listed.

  • Income Support - for more information, please click here.
  • Income based Job Seekers’ Allowance - for more information, please click here.
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - for more information, please click here.
  • Support under Part V1 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 - for more information, please click here.
  • Guaranteed Element of the State Pension Credit - for more information, please click here.
  • Child Tax Credit, provided you have an annual gross income of no more than £15,400, assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs - for more information, please click here.
  • Universal Credit - for more information, please click here.
  • Working Tax Credit and have an annual household gross income of no more than £15,400, as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs
  • Working Tax Credit 4 week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

Or if the two year old has a current statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan:

  • A form counter-signed by the relevant professional involved with the child is required for children who meet the following criteria.
  • Has left local authority care through a Special Guardianship Order, adoption or a child arrangements order (previously residence order).
  • Is currently a Looked after Child, for example in foster care.
  • Is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

How to Apply for a Funded Place

If your child is three or four years of age your chosen childcare provider will claim on your behalf.  If you believe you may be eligible to claim for a two year old, the easiest way to apply is to use the Early Years Checker System (ECS)

The parent/carer will be asked to provide certain details:

  • Parents name and date of birth.
  • Contact details.
  • National Insurance Number or National Asylum Seekers Number.
  • Child’s name and date of birth.

These details provided will be verified using the Eligibility Checking Service provided by the Department for Education (DfE). The service will provide an immediate outcome for parents/carers meeting the economic criteria. A reference number and further instructions on what to do next will be given to the parent on the screen.

Where a parent is ‘Not found’ on the Eligibility Checking Service, the parent will receive an instruction to check the information that has been submitted and resubmit if not correct and/or contact EYE funding administration. If an application is being made on the basis of tax credit or DLA you may be asked to provide proof that you receive these benefits. Applicants should send in a copy of the relevant document (this is specified on the paper based form). If you need help completing your form visit your local Family centre or speak to your childcare provider who will be able to help you.

Where a family meets the non-economic criteria, the parent can still apply but must tick the appropriate box in section 3 of the application, to show the application is under ‘Other Criteria’ (then select the eligibility criteria met). At the end of the application the parent/carer will be prompted to send supporting evidence to the EYE application team.

Should a parent be unable to use the online System, he/she can download a paper based application form by clicking here (PDF, 52.47KB, 2 pages).  Your completed application form should to be sent to the address printed on the form.  Once a two year old child has been accepted onto the scheme the funded place will remain in place until the child reaches universal funding age. the term after the child’s third birthday - even if parental circumstances change.

Payment for additional hours taken outside of the agreed funded hours are the responsibility of the parent/carer and does not form part of the funding contract. You will be expected to pay for an hours take up over and above your legal entitlement. Legal action will be taken if it is found that funding claims have been made fraudulently.

The Isle of Wight County Council is the Data Controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Act.  We collect information and personal data securely, please refer to our privacy notice .