Free early education for two year olds

If you're the parent or carer of a two year old and you receive certain benefits you could be eligible to apply for a free early education place

Please note:

You can only apply here for 2 Year old Funding if you live in the Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council area.

Check your Local Authority


The quickest way to apply is online. You'll need a parent or carer's National Insurance number.

It is important that your date of birth, National Insurance or National Asylum Seeker Support number, and the spelling of your surname are entered in exactly the same way as they appear on your official documents (such as a driver's license, passport or benefits letter). If the information you enter on this form is different to your official documents, we may not be able to find out if you are eligible.

Apply for your place online

Other ways to apply
Contact your local Children's Centre, nursery or Health Visitor who can help you apply.

Who can apply?

Your child might be eligible if you receive any of these benefits:

  • Income Support
  • income based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • tax credits and have an annual income under £15,400 before tax
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week 'run-on' (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit

Or if your child:

  • has a disability or special educational needs
  • has a child protection plan
  • is looked after by us
  • is a member of a travelling family
  • has left care but are not able to return home (are under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order)

What you will get

Your child will receive 570 hours free early education over a year.  This is equal to 15 hours a week during term time (38 weeks a year) or 11.4 hours a week all year round (50 weeks a year).

There is some flexibility with how the hours are used, but they can only be used for a maximum of 10 hours a day.

Your child can start in their free place from the term after their second birthday.  

When your child turns 2 When can my child start their place Recommended time to apply Closing Date for all applications
1 September to 31 December 1 January 15 October to 30 November Last Friday in November
1 January to 31 March 1 April 15 January to 28 February 3rd Friday in March
1 April to 31 August 1 September 15 June to 31 July 3rd Friday in August

Funding is available for a range of early year's providers, schools/academies nurseries, pre-schools, playgroups and childminders. Contact Knowsley Children's Information Service on 0800 085 2022 Option 1 or 0151 443 5635 for more information.

Benefits of early years education

Research has shown that good quality early education can improve children's social and emotional development, as well as their language and communication skills.  The children also get to have fun and make lots of friends, through a wide range of experiences.