The terrific twos

Free early education and childcare for two year olds

Find out if you qualify for 15 hours of free childcare. The terrific twos. Imagine! Discover! Get messy! or phone 01274 437503

What is free early education and childcare for two year olds

The government funds up to 570 hours of free childcare per year for eligible 2 year olds. This works out as 15 hours a week if your child takes up the childcare during term time, or you could take fewer hours over more weeks in the year.

All eligible two year olds are able to take a place the term after their birthday.

Child’s 2nd birthday is between: When you can claim:
1 January to 31 March the beginning of Summer term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August the beginning of Autumn term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December the beginning of Spring term on or after 1 January

Is my child eligible?

If your child is two you are eligible if you are claiming any one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit with earnings from employment below £16,190
  • Working Tax Credit with earnings from employment below £16,190
  • Universal Credit - if you and your partner are on a low income from work (this usually means a combined income of less than £15,400 a year after tax)

Or if your child:

  • is a looked after child
  • has left care - a child who has left care through a child arrangement order (formerly known as special guardianship) or an adoption or residence order
  • has special educational needs, and/or disabilities - but only if he/she has a current SEN statement or an Education, Health and Care plan or receives Disability Living Allowance

For families with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) your family's annual household income must be no higher than the following:

  • £26,500 for families with one child
  • £30,600 for families with two or more children

You cannot have more than £16,000 in savings or investments.

You can check if you qualify using the online Two Year Old Checker below, or talk to your local family hub or your childcare provider, or phone 01274 437503.

Check if you are eligible and get a list of your local providers

Is it really free?

Yes, the 15 hours are free, and what's more it's worth over £3,000 per year!

The early education and childcare setting claims the money from Bradford Council for these hours so you don’t have to pay for them. In some early education and childcare settings it is possible to pay for additional childcare if you need to, and some providers may have additional charges for consumables like food. It’s important that you discuss with the early education and childcare provider their charging policy.

Why would I want my child to go?

  • Children develop quickly in their earliest years, and early education supports their development and overall wellbeing.
  • Research shows that good quality early education and childcare from an early age makes a real difference to how well a child does in the future.  
  • Early years and childcare settings are wonderful places for your child to learn, develop new skills, make new friends and have fun.  
  • It will also free up your time to support you to take up training, start, or return to work, and support you to reduce your childcare bill.

What happens if my circumstances change?

Once your child has started in a two year old place they will be able to continue attending even if your circumstances change, for example if you start working or start earning more.

Where can my child take up a place?

Places are available across the District at childminders, day nurseries, independent school nurseries, nursery schools, pre-schools, and primary school nurseries.

How do I apply for a two year old place for my child?

To apply for a place, firstly, find an early education and childcare provider to meet you and your child’s needs.

You can use our childcare finder or phone 01274 437503.

The early education and childcare provider will ask you to complete a parent agreement form, they will then check your child’s eligibility, and will inform you when your child can start attending.

If you need further information or support accessing a two year old place, please contact us on