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Free early education - funding for 2 year olds

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Shortcuts for free early education - funding for 2 year olds

Better 2gether logoFrom 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’.

Why should I consider using childcare – I can look after my own child?

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.

Childcare is also good for families

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.

What does the funding pay for?

This 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.

Which two year olds are eligible for funding?

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)
  • Support under part 6 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).

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)

How to apply

Parents and carers need to complete a funding form.

When does funding start?

The following age parameters are used to decide when funding starts:

  • Child who becomes 2 years old on or before 31 March – funding from 1 April
  • Child who becomes 2 years old on or before 31 August – funding from 1 September
  • Child who becomes 2 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.

Which childcare providers deliver funded two year old places?

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 ‘2 year old funding’ at the bottom of the search page).

I'm looking for work, if I get a job with the funding be withdrawn?

No, once the funding has been awarded it continues even if your circumstances change.

What about if I move or my child doesn't settle at the childcare provider I have chosen, will the funding end?

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.

Number of funded places

  • From April 2014: 1000 places
  • From September 2014: 1300 places

Contact Details (LiveLink)

Multiple Contacts:
eMail: earlyyears@wiltshire.gov.uk
Telephone: 0300 003 4561
Out of hours:
Postal Address:

Early Years and Childcare
Commissioning and Performance
Children’s Services
County Hall
Bythesea Road
BA14 8JN

In Person:

Related information

Related documents

Last updated: 27 July 2016



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Early Years and Childcare
Commissioning and Performance
Children’s Services
County Hall
Bythesea Road
BA14 8JN