Help with childcare costs
Find out what help you could get with your childcare costs.
Achieving 2 Year Olds (A2YO) Funding
15 hours of free childcare or early education for 38 weeks, available to eligible 2-year-olds.
Not all 2-year-olds are eligible for this funding and parents must apply through the Gloucestershire County Council Citizen Portal.
When can I begin claiming A2YO funding?
You can begin claiming the A2YO funding from the term after your child's 2nd birthday and the 'Eligible from' date stated on your successful application email or letter (Whichever is later).
|Children born between:||are eligible from:|
|1st Apr - 31st Aug||Autumn Term (1st September to 31st December)|
|1st Sept - 31st Dec||Spring Term (1st January to 31st March)|
|1st Jan - 31st Mar||Summer Term (1st April to 31st August)|
The A2YO funding remains in place up to the term in which your child turns 3. The term after their 3rd birthday, they move onto the 15 hours free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds.
There is no need to reconfirm your details for the A2YO funding, as you would with the 30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds for example. If your circumstances change, the A2YO funding will not be withdrawn.
Hold on to your successful application letter or email, as this will need to be shown to your chosen childcare provider.
Am I eligible?
Your 2-year-old can get free childcare if you live in England and get one of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments*
- child tax credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
- the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
- the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
2-year-olds can also get free childcare if they:
If you're a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits
Your 2-year-old may get free childcare if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act and have either:
- claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as ‘part 6’)
- been refused asylum in the UK (known as ‘section 4’)
A 2-year-old you care for may also get free childcare if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and you have any of the following:
- leave to remain with ‘no recourse to public funds’ on family or private life grounds
- support from your local council because you have ‘a child in need’, for example they have a disability or a child protection plan
- the right to live in the UK because you’re the main carer of a British citizen (known as a ‘Zambrano Carer’)
(* Evidence may be required)
When should I apply for the A2YO funding?
The earliest, and recommended, period for parents to apply for the A2YO funding is the term your child turns 2. If for example, your child turns 2 on 6th March, the earliest you can apply will be 1st January. We would therefore recommend that you apply for the A2YO funding within the Spring Term (1st January to 31st March). Applications made outside of this window, that become successful, could delay when you can begin claiming the A2YO funding. As stated previously, children become eligible for the A2YO funding from the term after their 2nd birthday and the 'Valid from' date stated on your successful application email or letter (whichever is later).
Where can I use it?
It's available at participating:
- Full day care (e.g nurseries)
- Sessional providers (e.g. playgroups)
- Children's Centres
(Participating childcare providers have signed the Gloucestershire Local Provider Agreement, confirming they are offering the A2YO Funding.)
2-year-old funding can only be claimed at Early Year’s childcare providers in England. It cannot be claimed at childcare providers of Early Year’s provision in Wales.
Using your hours flexibly
There are some providers who will allow you to ‘stretch’ your hours over 50 weeks of the year, using fewer hours per week for example. You have a total of 570 hours per year, per child, to claim under the A2YO funding. But please discuss with your childcare provider whether you can use your hours flexibly outside of the 38 term time only weeks.
What isn't covered?
Other fees may apply at your chosen provider(s). The A2YO funding, 15 hours of free childcare or early education for 2-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 A2YO place, and must be offered alternative options.
How do I apply?
Not all 2-year-olds are eligible for this funding and parents must apply through the Gloucestershire County Council Citizen Portal: