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Luton Borough Council

Free 15 hours early learning places for 2 year olds



Free early learning and childcare in Luton!

There are two sections of the two year old funding; the time for 2s and the new working parent entitlement.

The date you can claim your free place will depend on when your child’s birthday is.

  • 1 January to 31 March - you can claim at the beginning of term on or after 1 April
  • 1 April to 31 August - you can claim at the beginning of term on or after 1 September
  • 1 September to 31 December - you can claim at the beginning of term on or after 1 January

Time for 2s

Your two year old could get 15 hours a week of free childcare, from the term after they turn two, if you receive any of these benefits:

Time for 2s logo  
  • Universal Credit and your household income is less than £15,400 per year after tax, not including benefit payments
  • Income support
  • Income based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance (if you are unable to work due to illness or disability)
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit (or both), and your household income is £16,190 or less per year before tax
  • Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

Or the child:

  • is a looked after child
    A 'looked after child' is a child who is
    • in the care of a local authority
    • being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services function
  • has a special educational need or disability (SEND)
    Has a current statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education, Health and Care plan.
    Evidence of severe/complex or profound SEND (at least 12 months delay in most areas).
    Applications must be accompanied by evidence of severe/complex or profound SEND.
  • is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
    Applications must be accompanied by evidence of DLA award
  • has left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order

If you’re a non-UK citizen who can't claim benefits

If your immigration status says you have ‘no recourse to public funds’, you may still get free childcare for your 2 year old. You must live in England and your household income must be no more than:

  • £26,500 for families outside of London with one child
  • £30,600 for families outside of London with two or more children
  • £34,500 for families within London with one child
  • £38,600 for families within London with two or more children

You can't have more than £16,000 in savings or investments. You will need to provide evidence of your immigration status, income and savings as part of your application.

Apply for Time for 2s funding

Working parent entitlement

Children from working families may also be eligible for the two year old funding.  

To be eligible you (and any partner you live with), need to be working and over the next 3 months earning at least the equivalent of 16 hours per week at national minimum wage.  

If you (or your partner) earn more than £100,000 per year you would not be eligible for this funding. 

Two parent families may still be eligible for this funding if only one parent works and the non-working parent claims:

  • incapacity benefit
  • severe disablement allowance
  • carer’s allowance
  • limited capability for work benefit
  • contribution based employment and support allowance 

Or the non-working parent will be starting/restarting work within the next 31 days 

Recommended time to apply to help ensure the code has a valid start date.

Child date of birth: 1 January to 31 March
Funding could start: Beginning of term after 1 April
Could apply from: 15 January to 28 February

Child date of birth: 1 April to 31 August
Funding could start: Beginning of term after 1 September
Could apply from: 15 June to 31 July

Child date of birth: 1 September to 31 December
Funding could start: Beginning of term after 1 January
Could apply from: 15 October to 30 November

Good for your child

Children learn through play. Having a free place in an exciting, enjoyable and secure environment could give your two year old the best possible start in life.

That’s 15 hours a week of playing, painting, reading, cooking, climbing, singing, dancing, dressing up, running around, building, gardening, or whatever they like doing. But most of all, your child is learning!

Good for you

That’s also 15 hours a week for you, giving you the chance to work, take up some training, education or studying.

Please watch this video to hear more about the benefits of two year funding at an early years setting in Luton.


Want to find out more?

To find out more about childcare in your area and to see if your two year old child can get a free place, speak to the Luton Family Information Service using the contact details below.

Visit or call your local pre-school, nursery or childminder to find out what they offer.

Early education providers are regulated and inspected by Ofsted. You can find out more about their inspections and read their inspection report by visiting the Ofsted website.

Contact info
Luton Family Information Service (FIS)
Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton, LU1 2BQ
Tel: 01582 548888

[email protected]


© 2024 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ