Free early learning and childcare for two year olds

Some 2 year olds in Sefton can get FREE early learning and childcare support if they meet one or more of the eligibility criteria. 

If your child has turned 2 years of age by 31 August 2018, you can apply online or contact the School Readiness Service on 0151 933 6021 or by email.

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 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 2 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. Once you apply, the School Readiness Service will help you to get the free place to suit your child's needs.

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.

If you receive this support, you can access Get Fit When You're Free sessions, with 6 weeks of free physical activities and classes during the 15hrs or less per week that your child is in early education or childcare.

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 a member of the School Readiness Team or a Family Development Worker from your local Childrens Centre will contact you. They 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 near to your home and contact them to secure a place for your child.

If you require any help or advice you can contact us at the email below or if you would prefer to speak to someone in the School Readiness Team you can call 0151 933 6021 Mon- Fri 9am-5pm.

You can check your child's eligibility using the online application and eligibility 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
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Guaranteed element of State Pension Credits
  • Child / Working Tax Credits and annual gross earnings of less than £16,190
  • Working Tax Credit 4 week run on (the payment you receive when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit Eligibility Criteria will be confirmed at a later date.

Children are also eligible if they:

  • Are a Local Authority looked after child
  • Are a child of a care leaver (Under the age of 25 years)
  • 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



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).

Complete the e-form provided, stating where you would like to access your early education and childcare. Sefton's School Readiness Team will then contact you to talk you through your options.


Last Updated on 18 July 2018