Free Childcare for Two Year Olds

Families Who Are Receiving Additional Support

Some two year olds in Sefton can get FREE early learning and childcare support if they meet one or more of the eligibility criteria. 

If you meet the eligibility criteria, your child would be eligible for funding from the term after their 2nd birthday. Late applications can only be funded from the date that you applied.

Please apply ahead of your child turning two years of age. You can apply online or contact us on 0151 933 6021. Alternatively you can contact us via email.

Please note that funding cannot be backdated.


The aim of this support is to make sure that children from all backgrounds learn at the same rate as their peers and are school ready when they reach 5 years of age.

Your two year old can receive early learning at a setting of your choice, including nurseries, children's centres, playgroups, in some schools and with some childminders. 

A free place is equal to 570 hours, which is broken down to 15 hours per week across 38 weeks. You don't have to use all 15 hours but you must use the free place at least 2 days per week, for between 2.5 - 10 hours on each day.

Complete our online application and eligibility form.

To find out if your child is eligible we will use your National Insurance number and date of birth to check if your child can have a free childcare place and let you know if you are eligible or not.

We may also require additional evidence. For Working Tax Credit applications, we will need a copy of your award letter TC602(A) If you are eligible we can support you to find a childcare setting near your home or if you prefer you can check online for a nursery setting or childminder via the Sefton Directory.

If you require any help or advice you can contact us via or if you would prefer to speak to someone, you can call 0151 933 6021 Mon- Thurs 9am-5pm or Fri 9-4.

You can check your child's eligibility using the online application form.

You can claim a free place for your child if you receive one or more of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seekers’ Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credits - if you and your partner have a combined income from work of £15,400 or less p/a (after tax) 
  • Tax Credits and you have an income of £16,190 or less (before tax)
  • Working Tax Credit 4 week run on (the payment you receive when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Guaranteed element of State Pension Credits

Children are also eligible if they:

  • Are a Local Authority looked after child
  • Have a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan
  • Access a Disability Living Allowance
  • They have left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order

Children of the groups below will also be eligible for a free place if their parents or carers meet similar low-level income requirements.  Please note there is a separate application process, please contact 0151 933 6021 for further information.

  • Children of families with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)
  • Children of a subset of failed asylum seekers (supported under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 - 'the 1999 Act')
  • Children of Zambrano Carers:
    • The carer must not be a British citizen or an exempt person
    • The child must be a British citizen
    • The carer must be a direct relative or legal guardian of the child (as defined in the Home Office guidance at pages 44-45)
    • They must have primary responsibility for the care of the child (primary care can be shared between two relatives)
    • There are no other members of their family in the UK or EEA who could look after the child

If your child’s 2nd birthday falls between 1 January – 31 March, they will become entitled to a free place from the start of the Summer Term (after Easter).

If your child’s 2nd birthday falls between 1 April – 31 August, they will become entitled to a free place from the start of the Autumn Term (early September).

If your child’s 2nd birthday falls between 1 September – 31 December, they will become entitled to a free place from the start of the start of Spring Term (early January).

Once eligible, you will receive an eligibility letter/voucher to take along to your chosen childcare provider.

They will assist you with the process from then on. If you are having difficulty in finding a childcare place, please contact us on 0151 933 6021.

Last Updated on Friday, February 2, 2024

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