Achieving 2 Year Olds (A2YO)

For Information

Your 2 year old may be entitled to a free early education place for up to 15 hours a week. Don't let your child miss out on the best start in life, give them the opportunity to make new friends, learn through play and have lots of fun!

Is My Child Eligible for a Free Place?
Yes if you are in receipt of one or more of the benefits listed below:

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


  • Your child has a current statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan (ECHP)

  • Your child gets Disability Allowance
  • Your child is looked after by a local authority
  • Your child has left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order

If you’re a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits:

Your 2-year-old may get free childcare if you 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’)

A 2-year-old you care for may also get free childcare if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and you have any of the following:

  • 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’)

When Can Eligible Children Start their Free Place?

If your child's 2nd birthday falls between     

Free places are available from   
 1 January - 31 March  the start of the summer term (after Easter)   
 1 April - 31 August  the start of the autumn term (early September)              
 1 September - 31 December  the start of the spring term (early January)

If eligible, you will need to make sure that your child is registered and attending your chosen childcare setting before the following headcount dates, in order for the setting to claim the funding from the Local Authority.

  • Spring Term (2022) headcount  20th January 2022
  • Summer Term (2022) headcount 19th May 2022
  • Autumn Term (2022) headcount 6th October 2022

Please do not apply too early.  The best time to apply is two months before your child's free place could start, refer to the table above.

Where can my child go?

View the list of Day Nurseries, Playgroups or Childminders registered to take your child. Not all childminders are on the Family Service Directory, for a full list of Achieving 2 Year Old settings contact the Family Information Service (see below).

View the list of schools registered.

How do I Apply?

You can apply online here 

You will need the name of the person claiming the benefits, their national insurance or NASS number and their date of birth for completing the form.

If you are unable to complete the form online please use the downloadable version, right. Post to the address below or take it into your nearest Children's Centre.

When you complete the application you will be encouraged to 'Opt In' to joining your local Children's Centre.  This has many benefits to you and your child.  Find out more about Middlesbrough Children's Centres.

or telephone the Family Information Service on 01642 354200 or contact your nearest Children's Centre.

If you are receiving the Childcare element of Working Tax Credit
Please read Leaflet WTC5(2018) particularly page 14 'Changes you must tell us about'.

What Happens After I have Applied?
We will send you a letter to let you know whether you are eligible or not.  
If you are eligible your letter will contain information on how to find childcare in your area.

Where to go

Family Information Service

Page last reviewed: 15/03/2022


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