How do I know if I am eligible for a free childcare place for my child?
Click on the button to make an online application.
This will link you to our Parent Portal where you can apply for a free 2 year old childcare place.
You will be eligible for a free childcare place of up to 15 hours per week (up to a maximum number of hours per term) if your family receive at least one of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
- the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit with a gross annual income of no more than £16,190
- Working Tax Credit 4-week run on
- Universal Credit with net earnings below £15,400
If you care for a 2 year old child who meets any of the criteria below they will also be eligible for a funded childcare place if:
- child is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- child has a current Statement of Special Educational Need or an Education, Health and Care Plan
- child is Looked After by the Local Authority
- child has left Local Authority Care through Special Guardianship Order, Adoption or Child Arrangement Order
- children of Zambrano Carers
- children of families with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on the grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
- children of a subset of failed asylum seekers (supported under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 – ‘the 1999 Act’).
The Government have now also extended the 2 year old funding eligibility to include:
- children assessed as being vulnerable and meeting the definition in Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 and who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)
Eligible children are British-born child(ren) who are entitled to be here, yet not receiving support by virtue of the parent’s immigration status which triggers the NRPF.
This group is not subject to a maximum household earnings threshold.
To make an application based upon these criteria please call the Family Information Service directly on 0800 389 8667.
You will need to apply to the Local Authority for that area e.g. Birmingham Council if the nursery is in Birmingham.
As you want your child to attend a childcare setting in Solihull, you should apply to Solihull MBC.
The earliest we can check eligibility for 2 year old funding is during the term that your child turns 2. If your child is approved for a place they can start the following term. Please see dates below:
|A child who is 2 years old between:||Can access their place from the following:|
|1 April and 31 August||September term|
|1 September and 31 December||January term|
|1 January and 31 March||April term|
Your child’s funded hours are free of charge. If you would like your child to attend for any additional hours, you would need to pay the childcare setting direct.
Your childcare provider can ask if you would like to pay for additional items such as meals, snacks and consumables (nappies, sun cream, trips, etc.) but you can opt out of purchasing these items. However the funded hours are not intended to cover these items so they are chargeable by your childcare provider.
You can take up your free place at an approved Solihull Day Nursery, Pre-school or Childminder. A list of approved childcare settings will be sent to you if your application is successful.
For more information on how to choose an appropriate setting for your child please view our childcare choices booklet.
You can choose to access fewer hours if you would like to, but the number of hours you choose must remain the same for that whole term. Your childcare setting may be able to stretch your hours so that your child attends for fewer hours per week but for more weeks out of term time. Please speak to your childcare setting directly about stretching your hours.
When you make a claim online you will only be asked to provide proof of benefits if you receive Disability Living Allowance for your child. Your entitlement will be checked against our Eligibility Checking Service which is provided by the Department for Education but this does not check if you are receiving DLA.
When your application has been processed you will be sent an email to advise you of the outcome. If you do not receive an email within 5 working days, please contact Solihull Family Information Service. Please remember to check your junk / spam email folder just in case the email has been redirected incorrectly.
If you are unsuccessful but feel you do meet the benefits criteria you can contact the Family Information Service who can help you with any queries you may have regarding your claim.
For most people there will be no affect on any other benefits. Occasionally receiving a funded 2 year old childcare place can affect other benefits you receive as the free place is classed as a benefit. You will need to notify tax credits and housing benefit of any changes to your benefits and they will then advise you of any changes should you take up the funded place.