Free early learning for two year olds

The aim of this programme is to support children's learning and development and give parents who are economically disadvantaged access to childcare.

Places are available in nurseries, playgroups, with some childminders and in some schools across Liverpool. These providers must be registered with OFSTED and inspected against the Early Years Foundation Stage Regulatory Framework. They must also have signed the local Early Years Funding Agreement.

A free place is a total of 570 hours which equates to 15 hours per week for 38 weeks. There is some flexibility but the hours must be taken over a minimum of a two-day period each week, and for between 2.5 and 10 hours each day.

How do I apply?

You no longer need to apply - just check that you meet the eligibility criteria below and provide proof to your chosen care provider such as an Income Support letter, Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602a) provided by HMRC or an Asylum Seekers NASS card, along with evidence of your child's date of birth.

Proof of eligibility is required so care providers can claim the funding for your child's place.

When you click on the eligibility link below, you'll be asked to create an account or login to an existing account. If you've recently applied for a reception or year 7 place for another child you'll already have an account.

Check eligibility online

Where a child is looked after by the Local Authority (LAC) eligibility will be confirmed by the Local Authority.

Eligibility criteria

Your child will be eligible for a free place if you receive any of the following: 

  • Income Support
  • Job Seekers Allowance (income-based)
  • Employment Support Allowance (income-related)
  • Universal Credit - you and your partner must have a combined income from work of £15,400 or less a year, after tax
  • tax credits with annual earnings of no more than £16,190 per year, before tax
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • support through Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • Working Tax Credit 4 week-run on (the payment a claimant receives when they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

A child may also be eligible for a place if she or he:

  • is looked after by the local authority.
  • has a current Statement of Special Educational Needs/Disabilities (SEND) or an Education Health Care Plan
  • receives a Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • has left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order

If your child is eligible, free early education and childcare:

Help and advice

If you need help finding a place or you are unsure which provider to choose, please contact the Family Information Service on 0800 085 2022 or visit our Early Help Directory.

Further information