Free childcare explained

Derbyshire families on a low income or on certain benefits can now get up to 15 hours of free childcare a week for their two-year-olds.

Hundreds of pounds of free childcare is available and the funding can be used with:

  • a childminder
  • pre-school
  • day nursery.

Families with a household income of less than £16,190 and on Working Tax Credits qualify for the funding, as do families on certain benefits, including income support and job seekers allowance − see below for more details.

Who is eligible?

  • Working families with a household income of less than £16,190 a year and receiving Working Tax Credits and/or Child Tax Credits.
  • Families in receipt of one or more of the following benefits:
    • Income Support
    • Income-based job seeker's allowance
    • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Support under Part VI.

What will my child get?

  • Your child is entitled to up to 15 hours of free child care per week during term time (38 weeks).
  • Some providers will allow you to take fewer hours a week but stretched across the year. You can choose either option as long as your early years education provider can meet your needs.

When is my child eligible?

Your child will be entitled to the free place from the term following their second birthday.

  • if your child was born between 1 January and 31 March you are entitled to a free place from the start of the summer term - which starts after Easter
  • if your child was born between 1 April and 31 August you are entitled to the place from the start of the autumn term in September
  • if your child was born between 1 September and 31 December you are entitled to a free place from the start of the spring term in January.

Where can my child attend?

You can choose any early years education provider within Derbyshire who has signed an agreement with us to deliver early years education for two year olds, this includes childminders, pre-schools and day nurseries.

You can search for free early education places or Call Derbyshire on 01629 533190 or email

How do I apply for the funding?

You can apply by completing the online form or call us on 01629 539316 / 01629 539317 / 01629 539319 and we'll let you know if you qualify.

We will need the following information:

  • National Insurance Number
  • child's name
  • child's date of birth.

If you qualify you will receive a funding approval letter which you can take to the provider of your choice and make arrangements for your child to start.

If you have any queries or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact the Childcare Improvement Service, tel: 01629 539316 or 01629 539317 or 01629 539319.