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Early Years funding for 2 year olds

Coronavirus - update on Government Early Years entitlements

Funding for early years childcare offers to continue in the event of coronavirus (COVID-19) closures. The full statement can be found on the GOV.UK website.

From September 2014 the law changed to allow more two year olds to benefit from free childcare than ever before.  

In Wiltshire, we have branded the funding as ‘Better 2gether Funding’.

Childcare is good for children. Research has shown that good quality early education can:

  • Improve children’s development, for example their communication skills
  • Help them learn to socialise with other children and make friends
  • Help them begin to get ready for school
  • Give them access to exciting places to play and new activities including messy play that you might not want to do at home
  • It can give you a bit more time to spend with your other children, take up a college course, or go back to work
  • You can also pick up ideas of what to do with your child at home and how you can help them grow and learn
  • The funding will pay for childcare for up to 15 hours a week (38 weeks of the year)
  • That’s 15 hours of playing, painting, reading, cooking, climbing, singing, dancing, dressing-up, running around, building, gardening... whatever your child likes doing
  • It is not required that the full 15 hours a week are taken up straight away, they can be built up slowly over the year
  • It may also be possible to stretch the free hours over 50 weeks of the year, if your chosen childcare provider is open all year round
Parents who are in receipt of one of the following:
  • Income Support
  • Income based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit - if you and your partner are on a low income from work (this usually means a combined income of less than £15,400 a year after tax)
  • Support under part six of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Tax credit and have an annual household income of less than £16,190 (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs).
  • The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
Or if the two year old:

  • Has a statutory statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care plan. As statements and statutory plans are issued by wiltshire council we are able to identify these children internally. Therefore parents are unable to self-refer for funding based on this criteria
  • Has left local authority care through a Special Guardianship Order, adoption or a Residence Order
  • Is currently a Looked After Child, for example in foster care
  • Is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
The following age parameters are used to decide when funding starts:
  • Child who becomes two years old on or before 31 March – funding from 1 April
  • Child who becomes two years old on or before 31 August – funding from 1 September
  • Child who becomes two years old on or before 31 December – funding from 1 January

These children will then move automatically on to three year old funding, which is available for a maximum of 15 hours a week.

We encourage all families who receive this funding to engage with their local children’s centre.

  • All childcare is provided by registered professionals who are fully trained in looking after children and have been police checked
  • We fund all childcare providers who currently hold either a good or outstanding Ofsted grading
  • To find eligible childcare providers in area, please use our online childcare directory. (NB You will need to select ‘two year old funding’ at the bottom of the search page).
  • No, once the funding has been awarded it continues even if your circumstances change.

No, once the funding has been awarded it continues even if you choose to move your child to another provider. Remember, your local Children’s Centre is there to help you, they can discuss with you your childcare options.



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Last updated: 28 April 2020 | Last reviewed: 28 April 2020