Funded early learning and childcare for 2 year olds

Your 2 year old may qualify for up to 600 hours of funded early learning and childcare if you're receiving certain benefits.

Who is eligible

Two year olds will be eligible for up to 600 hours of funded early learning and childcare if their parent or carer receives any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Job Seeker's Allowance (income based)
  • Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity or Severe Disablement Allowance
  • State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit but not Working Tax Credit and your income's less than £16,105
  • Both maximum Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit and your income's less than £6,420
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit with a monthly income threshold that does not exceed £610

Or they are:

  • looked after
  • under a Kinship Care Order
  • living with a Parent Appointed Guardian

What is available

Eligible children can receive up to 600 hours (depending on their start date) of funded childcare at a range of approved providers over the school year.

The start dates (and number of funded hours) depend on the child's date of birth:

Date of child's 2nd birthday

Start date for funded hours

1 March to 31 August

Term 1 or 2 (August to December)

1 September to 31 December

Term 3 (January)

1 January to last day of February

Term 4 (April)

You may need additional hours over and above your funded entitlement for work or training purposes.  You should discuss your requirements and any charges directly with your chosen childcare provider. Some providers will also charge a registration fee and ask you to pay for snacks.

How to apply

We will send you a form to complete and submit along with proof of entitlement.

We will write to you within 21 days of receiving your completed application to let you know whether or not you are eligible. Eligible applicants will receive a list of approved providers to choose from.

You can then visit your chosen provider to enrol with them. You'll need to take:

  • your confirmation letter
  • your child's birth certificate
  • proof of address

Choosing a provider

There's a lot to consider when choosing a provider such as location and facilities. You could visit providers in your area or speak to family and friends to find out more about what's on offer.

The Care Inspectorate inspects all providers to make sure they meet national standards. They publish inspection reports so you can find out what quality of care you can expect:

Search childcare provider inspection reports

You can also visit the Scottish Family Information Service website to find out more about services near you.

Further support

You could qualify for support with childcare costs in certain circumstances.

The Scottish Government has published guidance on help paying for childcare. The GOV.UK childcare calculator gives you an idea of how much help you could get.

Page last updated: 09/02/2018
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