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FREE Childcare for 2 year olds with SEND

All Two Year Olds who are in receipt of:

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) 
  • OR have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

Can receive up to 15 hours FREE childcare a week to use in an Early Years setting such as a Day Nursery or with a Childminder.

How do I apply for the free childcare?

Applying for FREE Childcare is easy

Make sure you have a copy of your latest DLA award notice, or EHCP plan before you start.

If you are eligible under the 'non-economic criteria' you should apply over the phone :

Call FIS (Families Information Service) on 0800 0345 340. We can do an application over the phone with you. We will check your information against information we recieve from the Department For Education, and issue you will a voucher code. 

Ocassionally we may ask to see a copy of your DLA award notice (Usually if the claim is new) you can send us a clear well lit photograph of the first page to

What kind of evidence can I use?

You can use the most recent copy of your child's Disability Living Allowance letter or Education, Health and Care Plan as evidence to apply for a funded place.

What happens next?

When you apply online under 'non-economic criteria' we need to check your supporting evidence. This means you won't get your code immediately. 

Please allow up to two working days for your application to be approved.  

When your information has been processed you will receive a confirmation code from the citizen portal (where you applied).  You will also receive an email asking you to log back in. You should then see the confirmation code. It starts with TYOF followed by a series of numbers and letters.

You need to keep this. The code is proof of your child's eligibility. 

If your child is already attending a setting 

Email or hand in the confirmation code so that the setting can start to claim funding. 

If your child is not yet accessing a setting

Please contact Families Information Service on 0800 0345 340 and we will talk through your childcare options and help you to find childcare which is suitable for you and your child. 

The day nursery or childminder will be able to discuss start dates, how they can meet your child's needs and reasonable adjustments with you.

What does SEN Support look like in Early Years Settings?

All Early Years Settings must have arrangements in place to support children with SEN or disabilities.

  • They will arrange a meeting with you to discuss what support is needed. They will then put a plan in place to support your child’s development.
  • Once your child has been identified as needing SEN support, staff will carefully observe your child’s play and progress.
  • They will meet with you regularly to discuss how your child is getting on and plan next steps.

If you would like to find out more about the range of support for children who have additional needs in the early years please click here. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the funding pay for?

  • The 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

Do I have to send my child for 15 hours a week?

  • 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

What if I need childcare in the school holidays?

  • 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 (stretched offer). If you would like to consider a stretched offer, you can discuss this with your childcare provider.

My child needs 1:1, is this covered by the funding?

  • Sometimes a child may need additional funding to provide 1:1 support or any specialist equipment. The childcare provider can apply for an Inclusion Grant to help meet your child's needs whilst accessing the funding.

My child is nearly three, is it too late to apply?

Can I still apply if my child doesn't get DLA or have an EHCP?

You might still be eligible under the 'economic criteria' (household income) and must be getting one of the following: 

  • Income Support
  • 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 usuallly means a combined income of less than £15,400 a year after tax)


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