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Highbury Primary School

Nursery Funding

There are several types of early education funding available:

1.   Free childcare for 2-year-olds

Your 2-year-old can get free childcare if you live in England and get any of the following benefits:

  • 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
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit (or both), and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

2-year-olds can also get free childcare if they are looked after by a local authority, have an education, health and care (EHC) plan, get Disability Living Allowance or have left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order.

If you’re a non-UK citizen who cannot claim benefits - If your immigration status says you have ‘no recourse to public funds’, you may still get free childcare for your 2-year-old. You must live in England and your household income must be no more than:

  • £26,500 for families outside of London with one child
  • £34,500 for families within London with one child
  • £30,600 for families outside of London with two or more children
  • £38,600 for families within London with two or more children

You cannot have more than £16,000 in savings or investments.

You can apply for 2-year-old funding online – you will receive an immediate response. You will need your national insurance number, plus evidence to support your application. If you need any help with your 2-year-old funding application or have any queries, please contact Portsmouth City Council via email at and an officer will contact you. Alternatively you can contact them by telephone on 023 9284 1974.

2. Free childcare for eligible working parents of 2-year-olds

Applications are now open for eligible working parents of 2-year-olds to receive 15 hours of free childcare, starting from April 2024.

Click here to see the eligibility criteria before you apply.

You will need to ensure you have the following information to hand before starting the application:

  • your National Insurance number
  • the date you started or are due to start work
  • details of any government support or benefits you receive
  • the UK birth certificate reference number (if you have one) for your child

You may find out if you're eligible straight away, but it can take up to 7 days. Once your application has been approved, you'll get a code for free childcare to give to your childcare provider.

Applications are open from now until 31 March. If you miss the deadline, or don't receive your code by 31 March, you won't be able to start using the new entitlements from 01 April.

Apply here for 2-Year-Old Working Entitlement Childcare

3.   Free childcare for 3 to 4-year-olds

All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get 570 free hours per year. As Highbury is a term-time only nursery, this can be taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year. You can get it from the term after your child’s 3rd birthday. We apply for the funding on your behalf by way of submitting a Funding Declaration Form which you are required to sign.

4.   30 hour funding for 3 to 4-year-olds

You may be able to get 30 hours free childcare if:

  • you live in England
  • your child is 3 to 4 years old

Your eligibility depends on whether you are working, your income (and your partner’s income, if you have one), your child’s age and circumstances and your immigration status. If you are working you can usually get 30 hours free childcare if you (and your partner, if you have one) are:

  • in work
  • on sick leave or annual leave
  • on shared parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave

If you’re on adoption leave for a child aged 3 to 4 years old, you must return to work within 31 days of the date you first apply for 30 hours free childcare for that child.

If you are not currently working you may still be eligible if your partner is working, and you get Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance.


Funding Declaration Form

Apply for 2-year-old funding online 

Apply here for 2-Year-Old Working Entitlement Childcare

Apply Online for 30 Hours Free Childcare