Early Learning and Childcare

Apply for an eligible two year old place

Session 2023/24

Parents who have children born between 1 March 2021 and 28 February 2022 and who meet the criteria below may be eligible for up to 1140 hours of Early Learning and Childcare.

Applications can continue to be made for chilren who meet this year's birthdate criteria and who have not yet turned three years of age. These would be children born between 1 September 2020 and 29 February 2021.

Application periods

Applications can currently be made for children born up to the end of February 2021 - any applications received outwith the dates shown below will be rejected, and a new application will be required at the correct time.                                                                                    

Session 2022/23

DOB Application date Funding start
01/09/2020 – 31/12/2020  From 3rd October 2022  9th January 2023
01/01/2021 – 28/02/2021  From 9th January 2023  17th April 2023

Session 2023/2024 - Enrolment starts 29th May

DOB Application date Funding start
01/03/2021 – 31/08/2021 From 29th May 2023 16th August 2023
01/09/2021 – 31/12/2021 From 2nd October 2023 8th January 2024
01/01/2022 – 28/02/2022 From 8th January 2024 15th April 2024

Qualifying criteria for current applications

  • children must have been born between 1 March 2021 and 28 February 2022
  • the home in which the child resides must in receipt of one of the following benefits on list A or B below
  • or meet the alternative criteria

List A

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Incapacity/severe disablement allowances
  • Pension Credit

List B

  • Child Tax Credit  but not Working Tax Credit, and your income is less than £18,725
  • Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit and your income is under £8,717
  • Universal Credit where the monthly earned income does not exceed £726
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Alternative criteria

The following children are also eligible:

  • children aged two or over who are (or have been at any point since turning two) looked after by a local council, the subject of a kinship care or guardianship order
  • children of care experienced parents born between the birth dates above.

How do I apply?

You need to complete the online eligibility check form.

If your child is eligible for a funded two year old place, you will be emailed and asked to conplete a full application form. This form is then passed to your chosen setting to process. 

2 year old funding remains in place until the child starts ELC3, even if the parent's circumstances change.

You will be asked for evidence to show you are eligible for a funded place.

Universal Credit 

This needs to show information from your most recent statement period and include the following information: 

•    parent’s name and address
•    the statement period
•    full breakdown of benefit entitlements 
•    full breakdown of deductions, even if the deductions shown are zero.

When providing online Universal Credit or Tax Credits evidence, we require the evidence to cover the information shown in the link below.

Tax Credits

We need to be sent all the pages of the award letter to be able to assess that you are eligible.

Looked After/Kinship Care

We will get in touch directly to get some further details relating to local authority who looked after the child or parent. 

When can a child start?

  When can the child start?
A parent receives a qualifying benefit when their child turns 2 years old The term after the child’s 2nd birthday
A parent starts receiving a qualifying benefit after their child turns 2 years old The term after the parent starts receiving the benefits
If a child is looked after by a local council, the subject of a kinship care or guardianship order From the child’s 2nd birthday or from the point that they are looked after, under a kinship care order, or with a parent appointed guardian.


View an example of a Universal Credit/Tax Credit statement

Contact Early Years Team

Address: Council Headquarters
Newtown St. Boswells

Telephone: 0300 100 1800