Free childcare for 2 year-olds


The 2 year-olds' entitlement scheme is for children whose parents or carers have a low income.

If you are eligible, we will pay early education and childcare costs for up to 15 hours a week during term-time, or for fewer hours each week but for more weeks of the year.

You are eligible if you receive any of the following:

  • 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
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, or both, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • 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 childcare if they:

  • are looked after by the council
  • have 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

If you're a non-UK citizen who cannot claim benefits – that is, your immigration status says you have 'no recourse to public funds' – you may still get free childcare for your 2 year-old if:

  • you live in Thurrock
  • you have no more than £16,000 in savings or investments
  • your household income is no more than £26,500 for families with 1 child
  • your household income is no more than £30,600 for families with 2 or more children

You may only use this funding with approved Ofsted-registered childcare providers, which includes child minders.

This scheme is not intended to cover the costs of:

  • meals
  • buying items – for example, nappies or sun cream
  • activities – for example, day trips
  • additional hours

If you are eligible, you can apply for free childcare for 2 year-olds.