(FEET) Free Early Education for Two year olds

What's stopping you?

If you have a two year old and you're not getting 15 hours of free childcare a week, we don't want anything to put you off applying.  To make sure we've put together answers to questions we get asked all the time from other parents, which we hope will ease any worries you many have.

Please take a look at the flyer below....

Why parents love childcare for their 2 year olds

Some parents whose children are eligible for free childcare are still not taking it up. To see what benefits early education can bring we've produced a new film "Why parents love childcare for their 2 year olds" and we'd like to share it with you.

This film will appeal to all parents of two year olds although the focus is on those eligible for Free Early Education for Two year olds (FEET). It's the latest in a series of FEET films which highlight the benefits of childcare for two year olds as well as giving tips to childcare providers, including schools, who are thinking of expanding their intake to include this age group.

Please take a look at the following information.

  • Editorial (see below).
  • See our posts on Twitter about this, we're @SurreyEYCS and we're using #feetfilms if you want to quickly find the relevant tweets.
  • Posters, flyers and application form (see below)
  • Please find the film at http://ow.ly/TIKOi.


Why choose childcare for a two year old? Because by learning through play they can grow in confidence and improve their social, communication and language skills as well as their physical development. 

“He’s developed a lot more words”. “Her speech has improved vastly”. “She’s become more confident and happy”. “It’s improved her sharing”.

These are a few comments from parents whose two year olds have just started nursery. Watch the short film "Why parents love childcare for their 2 year olds" to hear how delighted they are that their children are getting this opportunity. You'll find the film at www.surreycc.gov.uk/feet  

Some parents are eligible for free childcare for their two year olds. They can find out if they meet the criteria for Free Early Education for Two year olds (FEET) at www.surreycc.gov.uk/feet

Free Early Education for Two year olds (FEET) is an offer of up to 15 hours of free early education and childcare a week.

Qualifying criteria

To be eligible to apply for FEET your family must meet either the automatically funded or financial criteria shown below.

Please note: These are the only groups that can now claim FEET as 'Other criteria' was withdrawn on 31 December 2014.

Automatically funded criteria

If your child is in one of the groups listed below they will automatically be eligible:

  • Child looked after by Surrey County Council
  • Child who has left care through either a special guardianship order, a child arrangements order or adoption order
  • Child with a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan

Financial criteria

If your family receives one of the following benefits then your child may be eligible to claim FEET:

Receiving FEET will not affect your benefits unless you are receiving the Childcare Element of Working Tax Credit. This may be affected if your childcare costs are reduced once you start receiving FEET as you cannot claim it for the free hours. If this is the case you will need to let HMRC know as soon as possible as they may need to adjust their payments to you.

When can my child receive FEET?

You can apply for FEET the term your child turns two but you won't receive the free hours until the following term. This means eligible children will be able to receive FEET from the following terms:

  • Born between 1 January to 31 March 2013 - summer term (April 2015)
  • Born between 1 April to 31 August 2013 - autumn term (September 2015)
  • Born between 1 September to 31 December 2013 - spring term (January 2016)
  • Born between 1 January to 31 March 2014 - summer term (April 2016)

Your child can continue to receive FEET until the term after their third birthday when they will become eligible for Free Early Education for 3 and 4 year olds.

How to apply?

Families who meet the criteria can apply for FEET by completing the FEET Application Form below and sending it to the address given on the form.

You do not have to live in Surrey to apply but will need to take your 15 hours of free early education at a childminder provider that is located in Surrey. If your childcare provider is not in Surrey you will need to contact their local Family Information Service to apply for the funding.

Applications should only be made one term before your child is eligible for funding. When the FEET team receive your application they will check your eligibility and then write or email you to let you know if you qualify.

Any applications received before one term in advance of funding will be held on file and you will only hear from the FEET team at the beginning of the term your child turns two.

Once your eligibility has been confirmed by the FEET team you can continue to receive the funding even if your circumstances change and you no longer meet the qualifying criteria.

If you do not have access to a printer you can request a copy of the form through our online enquiry form (please put FEET application form in the What is your enquiry? box).

How can I find a childcare provider offering free early education?

You can find details of childcare providers who offer free early education in Surrey on our childcare finder. Just enter your location or postcode and scroll down to select 'Yes' to 'Registered to provide Free Early Education for Two Year Olds' on the right hand side.

These will include:

Childcare providers can choose the times when they offer the free hours, so talk to them first to make sure that the time you use is free. 

Our Thinking about childcare and early education booklet has information and advice on how to find, choose and pay for childcare. You might also like to have a look at our At my childminder's photobook for real life snapshots of how children in the care of a childminder might spend their time.

Can I change my childcare provider once the term has started?

You can only change childcare provider if:

  • you move property and it's now too far to travel to your current childcare provider
  • you change jobs and the hours your childcare provider offers no longer meet your childcare needs
  • you have stated on either your registration form or the Declaration of attendance form, that your child will be leaving during the term and you specify the last day that you wish the childcare provider to claim the free hours for you
  • your childcare provider gets an inadequate outcome in their latest Ofsted inspection.

Please note: You will still need to give your childcare provider the required notice period stated in your childcare contract with them.

Further information

If your child is eligible for FEET you may want to find out a bit more about it and the potential benefits of accessing free childcare from the perspective of other parents.

Surrey have produced three short films showing the experiences of Surrey parents accessing FEET for their own two year olds. The films look at three different types of childcare provider - a Sure Start Children's Centre, a day nursery and a childminder.

You can also find additional information about FEET in our parent booklet below.

There are still lots of parents who are eligible for a FEET place who aren't applying and we hope that by listening to other parents' stories they'll be encouraged to apply. The films are really short, taking about a minute to watch. Just long enough to give parents a taste of what the two year olds featured are gaining from the experience of being with a childminder, at a children's centre or at a nursery and how it helps their parents too.

Links to FEET films
FEET parent using a childminder
FEET parent using a children's centre
FEET parent using a nursery.