Are you eligible for Free Childcare for your Two-year old?
Are you eligible for Free Childcare for your Two-year old?
More than half of Barnsley’s two year olds are eligible for up to 15 hours a week FREE early education in a Family Centre, Day Nursery, Preschool or with a Childminder.
That's FREE childcare hours for you- to have a break, get a few things done at home, spend time with your other children, study, work or start to look for employment. Did you know that research shows that high quality early education at two brings benefits to children’s development and helps children prepare for School. The DfE (Department for Education) asked families to comment on how accessing the childcare offer had helped.
Families said : "I would say that my little one has really benefitted since starting, her speech has really improved" (Mother of 2)"I love spending time with all my kids but free childcare means that i can do things whilst they are looked after" (Father)"Since starting my daughter is more caring and able to share a lot more, I think it’s because before she was used to being a home with me all the time"(Mum of 4).
What is the eligibility criteria?
To be eligible you must be claiming one of the following:
•Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
•Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
•Support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
•Tax credits and have an annual income under £16,190 before tax
•The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
•The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
•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)
Two year olds are also entitled to a place if:
1: They are looked after by a local council
2: They have left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order
3: They have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education health and care plan
4: The child has a disability and is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance
Please note: If you are applying under criteria 1, 2, 3 or 4 this would be a “non-economic” application.
- Select the tick box to which criteria applies to your application
- A box will then appear for you to provide details of eligibility for your claim, you can attach or upload the evidence such as: relevant letters and paperwork
- You must then tick the box to confirm that you have and agree to the contents of the application.
- Click on the Submit button
- You will be notified by email to check your messages on the portal inbox where you will receive your voucher if successful.
The best time to apply is the term in which your child is 2 year old, or the week when your child has their 2nd birthday. If you apply too early it will show as 'not found' or 'unsuccessful'.
Once you have registered for an account it will be the same one that you use throughout your childs school journey.
All school applications will be made through the account and any other children you may have will also need to be added.
It is important that you also use your childs legal name. The one on their birth certificate other than any nicknames or shortened versions of their name that you may use.
This is a secure account and your details will not be shared with any third party.
- Click the long button at the bottom of the page that says “click here to apply”.
- You will need to have registered for a Citizen Portal account before you can apply for 15 hours Childcare.
- It is important that you remember the email and password that you use because it will be the same account that you use to apply for your child/rens school place.
- Please click here for guidance on how to apply for two year old funding.
- If you are eligible you will be able to download and/or print the childcare voucher that appears on the screen, you must take this to your childcare provider so that they can claim the funding to pay for your childcare.
- Alternatively you can email the voucher directly to the childcare setting .
If your application shows as ‘Unsuccessful’ or 'Not Found' you can refer your application as part of the process to Families Information Service (FIS).
You will see a box that says 'Refer your information' .Don't worry you may still be eligible you may need to provide some additional information. We will contact you.
The best time to apply is the term in which your child is 2 . If you apply too early it will show as 'not found' or 'unsucessful' .
If your child is eligible the funding will be paid directly to the childcare setting and will depend on when their birthday is.
If your child’s 2nd birthday is between:
1 January to 31 March they can start the beginning of the Summer term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August they can start the beginning of the Autumn term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December they can start the beginning of the Spring term on or after 1 January
Please keep visiting this section, we will keep adding to the FAQ's information that will be useful to families.
Question: I’ve just got a job, what happens with my childcare funding?
Answer: Once you have your confirmation ticket, if your circumstances change you are still entitled to the childcare funding. It is viewed that the support with childcare costs has helped you to get a job.
Question: I want to move childcare settings, I've found a new setting , What do I do?
Answer: You must make your current childcare provider know that you no longer want your child to attend their setting. The childcare provider should give you back your original confirmation ticket , this is because this ticket has a unique code on that is attached to your eligibility. You should then pass the confirmation ticket to the 'new' childcare setting so they can draw down the funding to support your childcare costs.
Question: I want my child to attend all year round not just during term time. Can I do this?
Answer: You should talk to your childcare provider about a 'stretched offer'. This is where families "stretch" their child’s entitlement by taking fewer hours a week over more weeks of the year.
Question: Is the funding for the childcare place only?
Answer: The 15 hours of free childcare/early education for two-year-olds is not intended to cover the costs of meals, other consumables (such as nappies or sun cream), additional hours or additional activities (such as trips). Providers may charge a fee for these additions. If you choose to pay for these it is an arrangement between you and the childcare provider. However, you must not be required to pay any fee as a condition of taking up a 15 hours place, and must be offered alternative options (extract taken from childcarechoices.gov.uk)
Question: What if I printed my voucher, but I have lost it?
Answer: If you have lost your voucher you can log back into your account on the portal and either print it off again or email it directly to the childcare provider.
Finding good quality childcare can be a difficult task for parents. There are different types of childcare and lots of things to look out for. If you'd like to talk to someone about your options and find out what childcare's available in your area, Families Information Service can help.
We provide free and impartial information to parents and carers of 0-25 year olds on anything and everything to do with family life, including childcare. We help lots of people looking for childcare in their area and hold information about all Ofsted registered childcare.
Families Information Service can tell you:
- About the different types of childcare
- Which childcare is available near to your home or work place
- How to contact different childcare providers
- About childcare costs
- What support's available to reduce your childcare costs
- Opening times of childcare settings
- The OFSTED inspection grade of all registered settings
Families Information Service can talk you through every part of your journey and answer any questions you have.
You can also look for OFSTED registered childcare by using our Family Service Directory.
Families Information Service is completely impartial and never recommends one provider over another. We can't guarantee to find a solution to your childcare needs, but we'll explore every option with you.
Families Information Service sits within BMBC so the service we provide to families is FREE. Contact us by email infoFIS@barnsley.gov.uk or by phone 0800 0345 340