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Free Early Education places for 2 year olds

Up to fifteen hours free childcare for some 2-year-olds

Provision of free early education places for 2-year-olds is known in Kent as the Free for 2 or 'FF2' scheme.

We have a duty to provide eligible 2-year-olds up to 570 hours of free early education a year over 38 weeks of the year term time or up to 48 weeks stretched funding.

Eligibility

If a family is in receipt of certain benefits (listed below), they may be able to get up to 15 hours over 38 weeks a year or 12 hours over 48 weeks a year (stretched) free childcare for their two-year-old.

A child is entitled to a funded place if the family is in receipt of:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit, and the household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
  • Child Tax Credits, and the 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 when they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit).

2-year-olds can also get a place if:

  • they’re looked after by a local council;
  • they have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education health and care plan;
  • they get Disability Living Allowance; or
  • they’ve left care under a special guardianship order, adoption order, child arrangements order or residence order.

Extended Criteria

If the family is a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits, 2-year-olds can get free childcare if the family 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’)

2-year-olds may get free childcare if the household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and any of the following apply:

  • 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’).

Detailed government guidance for the extension of 2-year-old free childcare eligibility to NRPF groups can be found on the GOV.UK website

To apply under the extended criteria, the parent will need to complete the non-EEA Citizen Application (PDF, 267.3 KB) and email it to miearlyyears@kent.gov.uk.

Eligible children can start claiming in the term after they turn two, depending on when their birthday is.

Child's 2nd birthday

When they can claim from

1 January to 31 March

the beginning of term on or after 1 April

1 April to 31 August

the beginning of term on or after 1 September

1 September to 31 December

the beginning of term on or after 1 January

Kent County Council's website has full information on how to apply for free early education for 2 year olds

Help applying for FF2
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FF2 Scheme Guidance
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Information for Parents and Carers, Early Years Providers, Eligible Childminders and Children's Centres can be found by following the links below:

How to submit an FF2 claim
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Please log on to the Synergy FIS Provider Portal to submit claims. Please use the guidance below to navigate your way through the portal:

Parental declaration
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FF2 Payment Schedule
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Kent Provider Agreement
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The first few years of a child's life are crucially important to their development. Kent County Council are working with providers across the county to make early education for 2, 3 and 4 year olds easily accessible. The Kent Provider Agreement provides a framework which outlines the mutual commitments on delivering the early education free entitlement.

3 and 4 year old funding
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Visit the 3 and 4 year old funding page for full details or email any queries to miearlyyears@kent.gov.uk.

Statutory Guidance
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The Department for Education's Early Education document (PDF, 538.9 KB) contains statutory guidance from the Department for Education for English local authorities on their duties under sections 6, 7, 7A, 9A, 12 and 13 of the Childcare Act 2006. Local authorities must have regard to this guidance when seeking to discharge those duties.

Contact us
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Contact a member of Management Information which manages the FF2 Scheme in Kent by email at miearlyyears@kent.gov.uk.

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