Free childcare for 2 year olds (FEET)
FEET is the offer of 15 hours of free childcare a week. Find out if your 2 year old can get FEET by checking the financial and automatically funded criteria below.
High quality childcare can help your 2 year old get the best start in life, you'll be amazed at how quickly they learn through play and these benefits will last them a lifetime. Watch our short films to hear what other Surrey parents using FEET have to say about it.
- Financial criteria
- Automatically funded criteria
- When can my child get a FEET place?
- How do I apply?
- How can I find a childcare provider offering FEET?
- Can I change my childcare provider once a term has started?
- Further information
If your family receives one of the following benefits then your child may be eligible to claim FEET:
- Income Support
- Income based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Support through Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit and have an annual income under £16,190 before tax
- Working Tax Credit and have an annual income under £16,190 before tax
- Working Tax Credit 'run-on' – the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit
- Child in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Receiving FEET will not affect your benefits unless you are using 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.
Automatically funded criteria
If a child is in one of the groups listed below they will automatically be eligible to claim FEET.
- 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 (EHCP)
Please note: These are the only groups that can now claim FEET as 'Other criteria' was withdrawn on 31 December 2014.
When can my child get a FEET place?
You can apply for FEET the term your child turns two but you won't receive the free hours until the following term.
|Child born between||Can have a free place from|
|1 January 2014 to 31 March 2014||April 2016|
|1 April 2014 to 31 August 2014||September 2016|
|1 September 2014 to 31 December 2014||January 2017|
Your child can continue to receive FEET until the term after their third birthday when they will become eligible for Free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds.
How do I apply?
You do not have to live in Surrey to apply but you will need to take your 15 hours of free early education at a childcare provider in Surrey. If the childcare you use is in a London borough or neighbouring council you will need to contact that area's Family Information Service to apply for the funding.
If you meet the eligibility criteria and are using a Surrey childcare provider you can apply for FEET by completing theSurrey FEET Application Form (pdf) and sending it to the address given on the form.
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).
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.
How can I find a childcare provider offering FEET?
You can find details of childcare providers who offer FEET 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:
- pre school playgroups
- day nurseries
- nursery units of independent schools
- maintained nursery schools and classes
- and childminders.
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.
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.
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
- your current childcare provider has closed or has been suspended by Ofsted.
Please note: You may still need to give your childcare provider the required notice period stated in your childcare contractwith them.
To find out more about the potential benefits of accessing FEET watch our short films showing the experiences of Surrey parents.
You can also find additional information about FEET in the What's stopping you? information sheet below.