Skip to main content

Free childcare and education for 2 to 4 year olds

The government is introducing new ways to help parents with childcare costs. Whether you have toddlers or teens, you could get support.

Free childcare for two year olds

Under a government scheme, we are offering free childcare/early education to some two year olds. This free entitlement applies to about 40% of two year olds.

Is it for me?

  • for families in England, receiving some forms of support
  • with two-year-old children
  • 15 hours of free childcare or early education a week

HMRC provide full details on their website ‘Childcare Choices’ to help parents find out if this would be suitable for them. Visit Childcare Choices on GOV.UK for more information. Please be aware you will need to return to this page in order to submit an application.

How do I apply for free childcare for two-year-olds?

Applications are made through the Citizen Portal. You must register an account to submit an application:

Apply for free childcare

Free childcare for three and four year olds

The government provides funding for all three and four year old children to attend an Ofsted registered early years provider (for example, pre-schools, nurseries and childminders). This is known as the Free Entitlement (formally the Nursery Education Grant).

Is it for me?

  • for all families in England
  • with three and four-year-old children
  • 15 hours of free childcare or early education a week

To find out if this would be suitable for you and view full details, please visit Childcare Choices.

Will I qualify for 30 hours free childcare?

A short guide setting out the eligibility requirements for 30 hours childcare for parents of three and four-year-olds in England is now available.

Parents: Make sure your details are up to date. You need to do this every three months at

How do I find childcare?

Find information please visit our Find Childcare section.

What childcare providers can be used?

The national criteria for free childcare for two year olds:

  • the provider must be registered by Ofsted to accept two year olds.
  • the childcare provider can be a childminder, day nursery or pre-school/playgroup

We recommend that the provider has an Ofsted rating of ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ (‘satisfactory’ providers may be used if we feel they are improving). For the latest position in South Gloucestershire please download this List of Providers who accept two year old funding.

Tax Free Childcare

Working parents can start applying for the new government tax free childcare scheme. Find out more information and how to apply.

Is there anything wrong with this page?