Early Learning and Childcare

Apply for an eligible two year old place

Session 2024/25

Parents who have children born between 1 March 2022 and 28 February 2023 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 2021 and 28 February 2022.

Application periods

Applications can currently be made for children born up to the end of February 2022, Applications for children to start from August 2024 can be submitted as per the table below                                                                                    

Session 2023/24 - 

DOB Application date Funding start
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

Session 2024/25 - Enrolment starts 27th May 2024

DOB Application date Funding start
01/03/2022 – 31/08/2022 From 27th May 2024 14th August 2024
01/09/2022 – 31/12/2022 From 1st October 2024 6th January 2025
01/01/2023 – 28/02/2023 From 6th January 2025 21st April 2025

Qualifying criteria for current applications

  • children must have been born between 1 March 2022 and 28 February 2023
  • the home in which the child resides must in receipt of one of the following benefits 
  • or meet the alternative criteria

Eligibility Criteria

  • 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
  • Child Tax Credit  but not Working Tax Credit, and your income is less than £19,995
  • Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit and your income is under £9,552
  • Universal Credit where the monthly earned income does not exceed £796
  • 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 complete a full application form. This form is then passed to your chosen setting to process. 

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

You will need to upload a copy of your most recent evidence 

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