Free childcare funding for two year olds

Did you know you may be able to access free childcare for two year olds?

What are the steps involved?

  • If you live in Salford and wish to use a Salford childcare provider make your application with Salford.

  • If you live in Salford but will be using Childcare in another local authority area your should make your application to that local authority.

  • If you live in another local authority area but wish to use a Salford childcare provider, you should apply with Salford

  • Before you apply check you meet one of the essential criteria to ensure you are eligible for the funding.

  • Check you can apply now – children are eligible for the funding the term after their second birthday and the application portal opens 9 weeks before the funding is due to start (see chart below)

Child’s second birthday is between

Date funding would start

Portal opens for applications

1 April and 31 August

1 September

Apply in July

1 September and 31 December

1 January

Apply in November

1 January and 31 March

1 April

Apply in February

  • Before applying you will need your National Insurance Number or if applicable your National Asylum Support Service (NASS number) Remember to use the National Insurance number of the person who meets the criteria.
  • Use the childcare quick search to find childcare providers in your area.
  • If you have any problems applying or any questions please contact us 0161 778 0384 or email

What is the aim of the funding?

To improve outcomes for parents by supporting them to take up training or go back to work

  • To improve learning outcomes for two year olds in order to close the gap between those children living in the most disadvantaged communities

How many hours can I access?

Up to 15 hours of free childcare maybe accessed term time only (38 weeks of the year) or up to 11 hours per week (51 weeks of the year). Please note this will be subject to your preferred childcare providers' opening times and availability.

That's 15 hours a week of playing, painting, reading, cooking, climbing, singing, dancing, dressing up, running around, building, gardening - whatever activity children like to do and most of all your child is learning with other children. It's also 15 hours a week for you to have a break, study or look for work.

Who provides the free childcare?

Salford has lots of good quality childcare providers. The two year old funding can only be taken with childcare providers who are on Salford's approved list and have a good or outstanding Ofsted grade. You may have some choice as to how and where you take your free childcare place, but this does depend on who has vacancies and how they can be delivered. There are a large number of childcare providers across Salford who offer the funding. You can search for childcare by using our online childcare quick search or you can contact us and we will help you choose which provider can best meet your child's needs.

Once your child has a place and you are happy with the placement your child will remain with that childcare provider, even if your circumstances change, for example you return to work.

What else do I need to know?

  • Funded childcare place - how to request a change of childcare provider
  • How to contact us to complain about a funded childcare provider
  • Find out about universal funding for all three and four year olds
  • If your child is leaving their childcare provider it is your responsibility to give the required notices, as per agreement with the provider. There is normally a ‘four week’ notice period required.
    • You must complete and submit a transfer form
    • If you are moving to a provider outside of Salford, you will also need to contact the local authority where your new provider is situated. They will be able to advise you how to apply for the free hours at your new provider. Please be aware that some local authorities only allow you to claim your free hours from the beginning of a new term.

How to apply for the funding

Click on the check and apply link below to start your application. Please note if you have ever applied for school places you should be able to log on using those details or if you are a new user you will need to register to use the service using the register link on the site before you log on. A user guide for the check and apply service is available as a download at the bottom of this web page, if required.

Check and apply for funding now

Please be sure to check your email regularly as we will make contact with you regarding this application via the email address you give us. We advise you to check your spam and/or junk mail folder as sometimes messages from us can end up there also.

This page was last updated on 1 September 2023

Free childcare funding

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