What is 2 Year Old Early Years Education?
This is a scheme that allows eligible children to receive free early years education from the term after their second birthday. This is part of a national offer from the Department for Education (DfE) and has been developed to improve outcomes for identified two year olds who would benefit from accessing high quality early years and childcare provision. It will also help to tackle challenging circumstances, through family support.
What is free early years education?
Early years education takes place in pre-schools, day nurseries and with childminders. If your child is eligible to receive this you will be able to choose from a list of groups and childminders who have been approved by Hampshire County Council as high quality providers. If accepted, your child will be offered a place for up to 15 hours per week (a total of 570 hours per your child's eligible year) which may be "stretched", i.e. he/she can attend during school holidays. Your child will be able to attend from the term after he/she is two, up until the end of the term that he/she reaches three. At this point, your child will be part of the usual early years education offer.
From September 2013, children must meet either criterion A or B to be eligible for funding.
Criterion A - Children whose parents/guardians are in receipt of one or more of the following benefits:
Income Support (Further details Income Support)
Income based Job Seekers Allowance (Further details Job Seekers)
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (Further details Employment and Support)
Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (Further details I&A Act 1999)
The Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit (Further details Pension Credit)
Child Tax Credit, provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit, and have an annual gross household income of no more than £16,190 as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (Further details Child Tax Credit)
Criterion B – Children looked after by the Local Authority (ALL requests MUST be completed by the child's Social Worker):
Child in Care
Child Leaving Care in Special Guardianship, adoption or residence order
Once the family has been accepted to receive the free 2 Year Old funding and your child has taken up a place at an appropriately approved early years education setting, funding will not be withdrawn even if the family circumstances change. Your child will keep their place until they are eligible to receive the universal early years education for 3 year olds.
However, for any new requests (eg. for siblings who become 2 Years Old) this would be assessed using the current family circumstances.
How will my child benefit?
Children like to explore the world around them, play with other children and have fun. Good early years education from a young age can help to boost child development and that is why we are offering families a chance to get a head start for their children.
Will I have to take all the hours available?
No, you can begin with a few hours each week for the first term and build up to the number of hours the provider has available over the year if you wish (totalling no more than 570 hours). You will however need to stick to the same number of hours each week over one term.
Would I have to stay with my child?
To begin with you may wish to stay with your child for part of the first few sessions to help your child settle into the early years provision. All the groups and childminders have been carefully chosen based on their experience and good practice, so that you can feel confident that you are leaving your child in a safe and nurturing environment.
Is the early education really free?
Yes, the early years provision will receive payment for the time that your child is in the group or with the childminder. You will be asked to take your offer Acceptance Letter to the provider, agree the hours that your child will attend and complete the Parent Early Years Education (EYE) Form. The provider will submit a claim form to Hampshire County Council to receive their funding for your child.
You must NOT arrange for your child to start with a provider until you have received an Acceptance Letter (which will include the date funding can begin), or you will be charged for hours attended not covered by the 2 Year Old Early Years Education scheme.
Can I take extra hours?
You will need to speak to the early years provider to find out if any extra hours are available. If you would like your child to stay for more than the maximum of 15 hours per week (or stretched equivalent of 570 hours over your child's eligible year) you will have to pay the extra fees. If you work you may be eligible to claim help with childcare fees.
What support will there be for my family?
Family support can be available as part of the 2 Year Old Offer. You can choose whether or not you want this help. Family support will be offered through your local children's centre and involves sharing information about other services within the community such as health services and other advice that may be of help to you. Family Support Workers may also be able to visit you at home to share ideas and activities which will help child development and support early learning at home.
How can I get this support?
If you think your family and child might be eligible to receive free 2 Year Old Early Years Education you will be required to provide the details asked for on the Request form and sign to give consent to share this information, so that other services and agencies you use know that you are receiving the 2 Year Old Offer. The parent/guardian details provided on the Request Form will be verified using the Eligibility Checking Service (ECS) provided by the Department for Education (DfE).
We will notify you as the parent/guardian (and referrer if the application has been made by another agency/service) of the outcome of the request. We will also notify your local children's centre that your child is eligible for the funding and for them to be able to offer your family additional services/support if needed. If requested, details will also be given to the Childcare and Family Information Team (CFIT) Outreach Worker to support finding a place for your child.
You can talk to your childcare provider or proposed childcare provider, health visitor or any other agency who may be working with your child or family to help your application. You can also contact your local children's centre and they can also complete a Request Form for you and send it to us.
Eligibility Checking Service
For children to receive free 2 Year Old Early Years Education eligibility is determined by their family's income. These details are checked through the Department for Education Eligibility Checking Service (ECS). Authorised staff within Services For Young Children will carry out checks using the Government's online application to ensure that families are eligible. It is important therefore that when parents/ guardians are self referring that all details are completed on the Request Form so there is minimal delay.
If you believe that your family meets the criterion described above then parents can self refer by completing the Request Form 27 kB (A4 version, for those without access to an A3 printer). Having checked that all the information requested has been completed (including contact details); send the form to your local area office or drop it into your local children's centre. Details can be found in the right hand column of this page, 'Local Office Contacts' or below for children's centres information.
Once the Request Form has been received, the application will be processed and you will either be contacted by a representative from Services for Young Children to discuss your request, or an Acceptance Letter will be sent to you with details of what to do next. It is therefore important that all your contact details (telephone, mobile, email, address,etc) are included on the Request Form to ensure a prompt response.
Contact us for more information
Find your local children's centre.
For general enquiries contact the Services for Young Children Information Support Team on 01962 847070 or email email@example.com.