Information for parents and carers

From September 2013, around 130,000 two year olds nationally were eligible for up to 570 hours per year of funded early education.

Eligible children can take up a funded placement the term after their 2nd birthday:

Child's date of birth

When eligibility can be checked

When able to start childcare

Between 1st January and 31st March February April
Between 1st April and 31st August July September
Between 1st September and 31st December November January


  • All two year olds who are looked after by their Local Authority are eligible.

Two year olds whose family meets the criteria for Free School Meals (as follows) are also eligible:

  • Income Support (and have an annual income of not over £16,190)
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (ESA) (and have an annual income of not over £16,190)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (and have an annual income of not over £16,190)
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit and have an annual income of not over £16,190

Two year olds who meet the following criteria are also eligible:

  • if their families are in receipt of Working Tax Credit and have an annual income of not over £16,190
  • if they have left care through special guardianship or through an adoption or residence order

Two year olds who meet any of the above criteria or one of the following additional criteria will be eligible:

  • if they have a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan
  • if they attract Disability Living Allowance

The benefits and earnings criteria for Universal Credit will be confirmed at a later date.

If you think your child may be eligible for two year funding either:

** Apply online here **

or contact the Free School Meals team on 01225 394317. You will need to know your National Insurance number.

Finding a childcare provider

In Bath and North East Somerset, there are a number of private and voluntary run providers where your child can attend, and also some childminders (but not all). A list of these providers, along with details of their provision, can be found on Bathnes 1 Big Database. You should contact the individual provider yourself to check availability and what they are able to offer you.

School Nursery Classes

In addition there are some schools that provide free early education places up to your 15 hours entitlement.

Frequently asked questions

What is the 2 year old Early Years Entitlement worth and what period does it cover?

From September 2013, providers who are graded as good or outstanding by Ofsted can offer up to 15 hours early years provision each week for up to 38 weeks a year.

If your provider is open for less than 38 weeks, the total number of weeks paid will be reduced to match the total number of weeks they are open.

If your provider is open for more than 38 weeks, your provider may choose to spread the full entitlement of hours over more weeks.

Can my child attend more than one provider?

If the child attends 2 providers, the parent should declare on the form how many hours they want to claim at both providers. This will also apply for children attending one provider in B&NES and a second provider in another authority.

Can I use a provider that is located outside the boundaries of Bath and North East Somerset?

Yes, you can. You must make your claim for your child's attendance in Bath and North East Somerset and declare on your form what other, if any, provision your child attends. Your chosen provider in the other authority will also require a new starter form (EYE2) to be filled out and signed. If you are attending more than one provider, your entitlement will be split as above.

What happens if my child switches providers in the middle of a term?

If you have not claimed the maximum entitlement, any unused hours could be claimed by your new chosen provider.

Any transfer of your free entitlement already paid is at the discretion of the old provider and their local terms and conditions. Many have a notice period during which they are entitled to keep any funding they have received for a child.

You should discuss this with your provider. The providers may negotiate with each other as to whether they wish to retain or transfer funding in respect of your child. However, any decision regarding transferring the funding is at the provider's discretion and cannot be enforced by Bath and North East Somerset.

Is there any flexibility for children with special educational needs?

Bath and North East Somerset recognises that some children with special educational needs may require additional support during their early education. Please contact the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) at the provision your child attends for further information.

I know my child is eligible, how do I get the funding?

At the start of term after your child's 2nd birthday (or any time after this when you want to start claiming), ask your provider for a new starter form (EYE2 form). The form should be completed, signed and handed to your provider with a copy of your child's birth certificate. This only needs to be completed once for any child attending a provider. You will need to show your provider the offer letter with your unique reference number.

At the start of each subsequent term (September, January and April), you will be asked to sign a pre-populated form to confirm the number of hours your child is attending. You MUST sign each term to confirm your child's attendance for the entitlement to be paid.

What hours can I use the entitlement for?

The forms submitted will ask you to confirm the total number of hours your child attends and the number of days they attend. There is a minimum of 2 and a half and a maximum of 10 hours which can be taken in any one day, but your provider may structure their day to designate "core" hours during which the entitlement can be taken.

In order to claim the full 15 hour entitlement (where applicable), your child must attend on 2 or more days. If your child attends for more than the maximum entitlement, the provider must clarify on any bill your free entitlement and additional hours for which fees are due.

What happens if my child changes the number of hours they attend?

If your child's hours have changed at the start of a term, this can simply be noted on the pre-populated form with a confirmation signature. If your child changes part way through a term, ask your provider for an amendment form (EYE3 form) to confirm the change. The completed form should be handed to your provider.

Further information

  • Providers cannot charge you any additional fees for the funded hours, although any extras could be billed for e.g. meals, snacks.
  • If your child attends more than the maximum entitlement per week, your provider is entitled to charge you for the extra hours.
  • If the provider's term is longer than 38 weeks, they are entitled to charge you for the extra weeks.
  • Your provider's fee policy should clearly state the charge for all additional hours offered.

Note - The value and payment of fees for sessions not funded by the 2 year old Early Years Entitlement is a matter between the parent and the provider.

For further information, please see our up to date information sheet in the documents section on the right hand side of this page, or contact us using the details on the right.

NB: Data will be shared with our Children’s Centres to help encourage the take up of the entitlement.

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