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Funded early education and childcare for 2-year-olds

2 year olds 470x470

Thousands of children across Norfolk have a right to funded early education from the age of two. If you receive qualifying benefits, your 2-year-old can access up to 570 hours of funded early education and childcare a year. This is usually taken as 15 hours a week over 38 weeks, from the claim period following their second birthday.

How to make a claim 

Before you start, please read all the instructions and guidance below.

Step 1: Check your eligibility online

Create a Norfolk Education Online (NEO) account. Please note, if you've ever applied for a school place for another child, you may already have a NEO account.

If you receive a qualifying benefit:

You shouldn't need to submit supporting evidence online. At the end of the eligibility check, your result will be displayed as 'Found'. You will receive a unique code which you can give to your childcare provider.

If you don't receive a qualifying benefit, but think you meet other eligibility criteria: 

You might get a 'Not Found' result on your first eligibility check. Please do the check again, this time adding a supporting document to your application. This could be:  

  • Your Universal Credit statement for the past three months
  • A court order documentation
  • A letter confirming an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan is in place
  • A letter confirming a Disability Living Allowance (DLA) award

You may still get a 'Not Found' result after submitting a supporting document. You do not need to do anything else at this stage. We will check your supporting document and contact you with a unique code if you are eligible. If you are not eligible, we will contact you to let you know the results. 

Create an account and check eligibility

Step 2: Find a childcare provider that offers funded early education

In Norfolk, over 500 childminders, day nurseries, playgroups, preschools and nursery schools offer funded early education. High quality early years provision provides a wide range of opportunities for your child to learn as they play.

Search our Norfolk Community Directory for childcare providers in your area. We recommend that you read Choosing quality early education and childcare before starting your search.

Step 3: Give your chosen childcare provider your unique code

You will need to give your childcare provider your unique code. Your child can then start their funded early education place.

Who is eligible?

Your child may be eligible for 2-year-old funded early education and childcare, if you are on low income or in receipt of certain benefits. Visit GOV.UK for further information.

Two-year-olds are also entitled to a place if they:

  • Are looked after by us (the local authority)
  • Have left care through special guardianship, or through an adoption or residence order
  • Are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan
  • Are a child of Zambrano Carers
  • Are a child of families with no recourse to public funds, with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life, under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
  • Are a child of a subset of failed asylum seekers (supported under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 - 'the 1999 Act') 


Information we need to check eligibility

To complete an eligibility check, you need to sign up for a Norfolk Education Online (NEO) account. You will need to give the following details:

  • Personal details (name, address and date of birth)
  • Contact details (email address and telephone number)
  • National Insurance (NI) number or National Asylum Seekers Number (NASS)
  • Your child's details (name and date of birth)
  • Documentary evidence (if a manual check is required)

Please refer to our privacy notice regarding your online account.


When can I check eligibility?

Your child must be at least 21-months-old.

You can create your Norfolk Education Online (NEO) account at any time. However the best time to apply is:

  • In the school term in which your child is 2-years-old
  • The week when your child has their second birthday


Additional early education and childcare costs and services

The 15 hours of funded early education and childcare for 2-year-olds doesn't normally cover:

  • The costs of meals
  • Consumables such as nappies or sun cream

If you need to pay an additional fee, you will need to arrange this with your provider.


I have received a letter stating I may be entitled to funded childcare

If you have received a letter from us stating that you may be entitled to funded childcare, you will need to go to Norfolk Education Online to complete a check.


What happens when my child turns 3?

Once you are in receipt of funding for your child(ren), they will continue to be eligible until transferring to 3 and 4-year-old funding


Advice and support

If you need help to check your eligibility, please contact us. The Family Information Service can help you find a childcare provider offering early education.

More advice about childcare is also available on Childcare Choices website. Or you can ask your childcare provider if you already have childcare arrangements in place.

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