Free early learning for two year olds

Find out if your two year old is eligible for free early learning and how to apply for a place.

Apply for your free place

We've got some good news for twos and you. Some 2 year olds in Brighton & Hove are now entitled to receive up to 15 hours a week of free early learning, or 570 hours spread across the year.

Your child will meet other children, play, learn and have fun, and you will benefit from having time to yourself too.

Learning and having fun is good news for twos - see our leaflet  Free childcare for 2 year olds.

Where your child can take up their free place

There are a wide range of early learning services offering free places that you can choose from, including childminders, childminder nurseries, day nurseries and pre-school playgroups. Take a look at our short film Childminders free for twos.

Find out if your child is eligible for a free place

Once your child is eligible for a place, they stay eligible, even if your circumstances change.

Your 2-year-old can get free early learning if you get one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
  • tax credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

2-year-olds can also get free early learning if they:

  • are looked after by a local authority*
  • have a statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan*
  • get Disability Living Allowance*
  • have left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order*

You may have to pay for extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.

If you’re a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits

Your 2-year-old may get free early learning if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act and have either:

  • claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as ‘part 6’)*
  • been refused asylum in the UK (known as ‘section 4’)*

A 2-year-old you care for may also get free early learning if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and you have any of the following:

  • leave to remain with ‘no recourse to public funds’ on family or private life grounds*
  • support from your local council because you have ‘a child in need’, for example they have a disability or a child protection plan*
  • the right to live in the UK because you’re the main carer of a British citizen (known as a ‘Zambrano Carer’)*

*You will need to provide evidence if any of the above apply to you - see application form for details

When your child will be eligible for their free place

Your child will be entitled to a free place from the term after their second birthday. You can check if your child is eligible for a place from the beginning of the term when your child turns 2.

Child's birthday falls between

They can start in their place from

1 January to 31 March The beginning of term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August The beginning of term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December The beginning of term on or after 1 January

Apply for a place

Complete the 2 year old application form and provide any evidence that we have requested. You can send your evidence to us by:

  • scanning a copy and email to us
  • photocopying your letter and posting to us at;  Freepost FAMILY INFORMATION SERVICE (no stamp required)
  • contacting us to arrange a time and place to meet and copy your original documents

If you have more than one child, please complete a separate form for each. We will then check if your child is eligible for a place and let you know.

Our factsheet on two year olds (PDF 377KB) will help you to choose a place to meet your needs and tell you about what to expect when your child starts in their place.

If you have any questions, or need help to complete the form, you can call our helpline on 01273 293 545 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.