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Some families can access a place for their child between the age of 2 and 3 years. There are guidelines to assist you in deciding whether you and your family can access free childcare. You can apply for an ELC place for your two year old if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • Income support (IS)
  • Job Seeker’s Allowance (income-based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income-based)
  • Incapacity or Severe Disablement Allowance
  • State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC), but not Working Tax Credit, and your income is less than £16,105*
  • Both maximum Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit and your income is under £6,420; or, the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)*
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit

Children who are 2 years are eligible to take up their funded place from around the term after their birthday or from the term after their parents starts receiving the qualifying benefit.

Further information is available in the Admission to ELCC in the related link section.


You can now apply online for a nursery place for 2 to 3 year olds using the form below.

Apply Nursery place

Find a nursery

You can search for Council run ELC's and Private Partner ELC's in our directory

Read nursery inspection reports (external link) on the Care Inspectorate website.