Early Years Service - Information for Parents

Funding for Two Year Olds

Funded Early Years Education (EYE) for eligible 2 year olds

This is a scheme that allows eligible children to receive funded early education from the funding period after their second birthday.

This is part of a national offer from the Department for Education (DfE) and has been developed to improve outcomes for identified two year olds who would benefit from access to high quality early years and childcare provision.

Children who are confirmed as eligible will be offered up to 15 funded early years education hours per week for 38 weeks, totalling 570 hours for your child’s eligible funding year. If you choose a childcare provider who is open for more than 38 weeks, you may also be able to “stretch” the funded hours across your child’s funding year.

Childcare providers that offer 2-year-old places will need to have an Ofsted rating of ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’. Should a parent want their child to take up a place with a childcare provider not rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding ’by Ofsted, the provider needs to contact the Early Years Advisory Team.


1. Eligibility criteria for 2 year old Early Years Education Funding

Your 2 year old can have funded early education and childcare if you claim welfare benefits (‘economic criteria’) or your child is looked after by the local authority or has additional needs (‘non-economic criteria’).

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 - click here
  • Income based Job Seekers’ Allowance - click here
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - click here
  • Universal Credit - if you and your partner have a combined income from work of £15,400 or less a year, after tax - click here
  • Tax credits and you have an income of £16,190 or less a year, before tax
  • Guaranteed Element of the State Pension Credit - click here
  • Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act - click here
  • 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 an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP):

  • 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).

From September 2019, the following children are also entitled to a funded place:

Children of Zambrano Carers; 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). 

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’).


2. Information required to apply for 2 year old Early Years Education funding

When you apply, you will be asked to provide the following details:

  • Your name and date of birth
  • Contact details
  • National Insurance Number or National Asylum Seekers Number
  • Child's name and date of birth 

The details provided will be verified using the online Eligibility Checking Service (ECS) provided by the Department for Education (DfE). (Isle of Wight Council is the Data Controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Act. We collect information and personal data securely. Refer to our Privacy Notice regarding funded early years education and the Eligibility Checking Service).

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).


3. How applications are processed

The online Eligibility Checking 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 the parent is 'Not found' on the Eligibility Checking Service, the parent will receive an instruction to check the information that has been submitted is correct, and resubmit if not. The parent may be asked to contact the Isle of Wight Council to provide documents to show that the economic criteria have been met.

Where the family meets the non-economic criteria: Children Looked After by the Local Authority or Child with Special Educational Needs and/or Disability, the parent can still apply. They MUST tick the appropriate box in section 3 of the application "Your child's details" 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 school admissions team.


4. Help with applying for 2 year old Early Years Education funding

If you need help in completing the online application please talk to your childcare provider (nursery, pre-school, or childminder).

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.


5. Additional costs and services

Childcare providers can charge for consumables such as meals, snacks or ask that you provide a packed lunch.

Other additional services may be charged such as pick-up services, French lessons, yoga etc. However the provider cannot say you have to take up these services as a condition of the funding.

You may also be expected to provide disposables such as nappies and creams.

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 additional hours over and above your funding entitlement.


6. Check if you qualify and apply

If you think your child is eligible for funded early years education funding (having checked the criteria in step 1 above), apply using the online checking and application service.


7. Further information

Parents should talk to their childcare provider to find out more about early years education funding.

Search for childcare services.


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