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Early Years

Free Early Education and Childcare for 2 year olds

Some 2-year-olds in England are eligible for up to 15 hours a week (570 hours per year) of free early education and childcare.  This applies to 2 year olds who are attending a nursery setting or childminder registered to accept the funding within the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and who meet the eligibility criteria below. 

To be eligible you must be in receipt of one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Support through Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit,  or Working Tax Credit  and have an annual household  income of no more than £16,190

A child will also be eligible if any of the following apply:

  • They have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan
  • The child is in receipt of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • The child is in the care of the local authority or has left care through a special guardianship or an adoption or residence order.

If your child is eligible, you can start claiming the school term after their 2nd birthday. The date you can claim will depend on when their birthday is.

  • If your child's birthday is between 1 January to 31 March, you can claim the beginning of term on or after 1 April
  • If your child's birthday is between 1 April to 31 August, you can claim the beginning of term on or after 1 September
  • If your child's birthday is between 1 September to 31 December, you can claim the beginning of term on or after 1 January

Please contact the Two Year Old Funding Team at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for further information. 

Two Year Old Funding Team
Telephone: 01628 685959

As a family who are eligible for two year old funding,  ideally you would not be expected to pay any deposit or fees upfront, unless you are attending for more than your free number of hours each week. However, some providers do ask for a small refundable deposit to secure a place. This is because they have to set aside a place for your child and will lose money if they do not use it. This should be refunded in full when you leave, as long as you have upheld any agreement made with them. Please discuss this with your provider to ensure this is clear from the beginning.

If your child has already been offered a two year old funded place and has started with an early years provider then your eligibility will not change until the term after your child’s third birthday. At that point your child will become eligible for three year old funding which is a universal offer across the country. Every child of this age is eligible for 15 hours funded early education and some may be eligible for up to 30 hours. For more information see Childcare-Funding.

If however you have been confirmed as eligible for Two year old funding and have not taken up a place during the term in which your child has become eligible, this will need to be checked again at the point of entry to the provider and a funded place may be declined if your circumstances have changed.  This means you would need to pay for a place.

If you are changing to an early years provider outside of the Royal Borough your funding will stop and you'll have to apply to the local authority that your child will be attending in.

What happens if I live in the Royal Borough but I would like my child to attend a provider or setting in another local authority?

It is possible to claim your free hours but we would recommend contacting us first.

We will monitor how often your child attends and if this drops below the expect norm it could affect your funding. Regular attendance is better to help your child to settle in.

Yes, they will be paid directly by us for the hours claimed.

You’re entitled to 570 hours per year. Usually, this is 15 hours a week, term time only. You can ask for these hours to be spread over the calendar year rather than the academic year. We would recommend speaking to your chosen provider and checking if they can offer this beforehand.

No, it is not possible to transfer unused hours.

A childcare provider or setting could do this if you have been given the opportunity to provide your own and have chosen not to. We would recommend checking out additional costs with your childcare provider or setting so that you don’t get any surprise charges.

No, this won’t affect your funding. Just make sure the new setting makes us aware and you have given the correct notice period to the original provider or you could be liable for any costs they incur as a result of you leaving. This is at their discretion.

We will run a check against the eligibility checking service which will tell us whether you are in receipt of any of the required benefits. This check will not tell us any specific information about your benefit, only that you are claiming it.

For children in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), a copy of the original confirmation letter needs to be sent to us to prove that you are currently receiving it.

Two year old funding runs until the term in which your child turns three. From the following term, your child will become eligible for three year old funding which is a universal offer across the country. Every three year old can access 15 hours of funded early learning,  but some families may be able to access up to 30 hours.