Free Early Years Education (EYE) funding for eligible 2 year olds
This is a scheme that allows eligible children to receive free early education from the funding period after their second birthday
This is part of a national offer from the Department for Education (DfE) and has been developed to improve outcomes for identified two year olds who would benefit from access to high quality early years and childcare provision.
Children who are confirmed as eligible will be offered up to 15 free early years education hours per week for 38 weeks, totaling 570 hours for your child’s eligible funding year. If you choose a childcare provider who is open for more than 38 weeks, you may also be able to “stretch” the free hours across your child’s funding year to cover most school holidays.
- Eligibility criteria for 2 year old Early Years Education funding
Your 2 year old can have free early education and childcare if you claim welfare benefits (‘economic criteria’) or your child is looked after by the local authority or has additional needs (‘non-economic criteria’).
Details of the eligibility criteria.
- Information required to apply for 2 year old Early Years Education funding
When you apply, you will be asked to provide the following details:
- Your name and date of birth
- Contact details
- National Insurance Number or National Asylum Seekers Number
- Child's name and date of birth
The details provided will be verified using the online Eligibility Checking Service (ECS) provided by the Department for Education (DfE). (Hampshire Council County is the Data Controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Act. We collect information and personal data securely. Please refer to our Privacy Notice regarding free early years education and the Eligibility Checking Service).
- How applications are processed
The online Eligibility Checking Service will provide an immediate outcome for parents/carers meeting the economic criteria. A reference number and further instructions on what to do next will be given to the parent on the screen.
Where the parent is 'Not found' on the Eligibility Checking Service, the parent will receive an instruction to check the information that has been submitted is correct, and resubmit if not. The parent may be asked to contact Services for Young Children (SfYC) to provide documents to show that the economic criteria have been met, for example, the TC602 Tax Credit Award Notice for Working Tax Credit.
Where the family meets the non-economic criteria: Children Looked After by the Local Authority or Child with Special Educational Needs or/and Disability, the parent can still apply. They MUST tick the appropriate box in section 3 of the application "Your child's details" to show the application is under 'other criteria' (then select the eligibility criteria met). At the end of the application the parent/carer will be prompted to send supporting evidence to their local area-based SfYC office.
- Help with applying for 2 year old Early Years Education funding
If you need help in completing the online application please talk to your health visitor or childcare provider (nursery, pre-school, or childminder).
It is possible to complete a paper request form if there are difficulties in completing the application online. The Request form must be completed in full, signed and dated, and can be returned (with any supporting documents) to your local SfYC office address printed on the form.
- Additional costs and services
There is no funding available to meet transport costs. There may be an opportunity for a childminder to support the family by collecting and dropping off your child at the childcare provision or home, but this is likely to have a cost.
Childcare providers can charge for a meal if your child attends during a mealtime and you have agreed this. Most providers will allow you to send in a packed meal for your child.
If you are only having free early years education hours for your child your childcare provider should not charge you for anything more.
- Further information
Parents should talk to their childcare provider first.
- Contact us
Family Information Service
Phone 0300 555 1384
- Check if you qualify and apply
- If you think your child is eligible for free early years education funding (having checked the criteria in step 1 above), apply using the online checking and application service.