Free early learning

Find out about various free early learning options.

2 years old - with working parents

Childcare support is expanding, for more information visit

This funding is available for working families of 2-year-olds from 1 April 2024. When your child is eligible you will be able to apply for a code for 15 hours childcare funding.

You must apply in good time, as some parents may need to provide more information for their application. Once you receive your eligibility code, please take this to your childcare provider before the deadline.  

Visit to find out if you can claim

Eligibility dates for 2-year-old funded childcare
Must be 2 years old by: Date child is eligible for funding from: Recommended time to apply:
31 December 1 January (Spring term) 15 October to 30 November
31 March 1 April (Summer term) 15 January to 28 February
31 August 1 September (Autumn term) 15 June to 31 July

After your application:

  • if you’re eligible, you will be given an 11-digit eligibility code which you must take to your chosen childcare provider.

Reconfirm your eligibility

You must reconfirm your eligibility every three months after applying – HMRC should email you four weeks before the deadline to log on to your childcare service account to do this.

All checks and applications for the working parent entitlements will be processed by His Majesty's Revenue and Customers (HMRC). If you have any difficulties applying for this funding please contact the HMRC childcare service helpline on 0300 123 4097.

Working parents are also likely to be eligible for Tax-Free Childcare.  For every £8 you pay towards any childcare costs you will receive £2 from the government (meaning you pay 80% of the costs). 

You can find out more at Tax-Free Childcare ( and apply through the Childcare Service.

If you are no longer eligible

If your circumstances change and you fall out of eligibility you will no longer be eligible to claim the additional 15 hours of childcare. There will be a grace period until the start of the next term giving you the opportunity to start work again.  If your circumstances change during the grace period you can reapply and continue to receive the extra funded hours.