Skip navigation View desktop version

Surrey County Council

What's behind the website banner?

General enquiries: 03456 009 009

Text size

Help tools

Site search

Global navigation

Free early education for two year olds (FEET) - information for parents

Free early education for two year olds (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. 

You can see examples of the type of childcare on offer in our three short films which show first hand experience of parents with two year olds using a Sure Start Children’s Centre, a day nursery and a childminder.

Qualifying criteria

To be eligible to apply for FEET your family must meet either the automatically funded, financial or other criteria shown below. (Please note: other criteria is to be withdrawn from 31 December 2014).

Families who meet the automatically funded and financial criteria can apply themselves but families who are applying under other criteria will need to be referred to the FEET team.

If your child does not meet any of these they may still be eligible for funding if a professional involved with your family considers them to have a significant need.

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:

Claiming 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 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.

Return to top

Other criteria

If your child is in one of the groups below they can only be referred for FEET by a professional:

  • Child with a Child Protection Plan (only social workers or a health visitor can refer this child)
  • Child with a parent or carer who is a member of the armed forces
  • Child with a disability
  • Child with an identified special educational need (needs to have involvement with three or more specified agencies - see application form)
  • Child who is a member of a travelling family (includes Gypsy Roma Traveller, Travellers of Irish Heritage, New Age Travellers, Circus and Fairground families).

 Return to top

When can my child receive the funding?

Funding can be applied for the term of your child's second birthday but it won't start until the following term. This means eligible children will be able to access FEET from the following terms:

  • Born between 1 April to 31 August 2012 - autumn term (September 2014)
  • Born between 1 September to 31 December 2012 - spring term (January 2015)
  • Born between 1 January to 31 March 2013 - summer term (April 2015)
  • Born between 1 April to 31 August 2013 - autumn term (September 2015)

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.

Return to top

How to apply?

The application process will depend on which criteria your family meets and only applies to families who live in Surrey.

If you live in a London borough or a neighbouring local authority you will need to contact your local Family Information Service to apply for FEET funding, even if your child attends a childcare provider in Surrey.

Families who meet the automatically funded or financial criteria

If you are in one of these groups you can now apply yourself by completing the FEET Application Form below. Please note: If you are applying under Working Tax Credit you will also need to send a copy of your HMRC TC602 tax credit award statement or if applying under Disability Living Allowance a copy of your DBD 384.

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.

Once you have received a letter confirming your eligibility you can continue to receive FEET even if your circumstances change and you no longer meet the qualifying criteria.

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.

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).

Return to top

Families who meet the other criteria

If you meet the other criteria your child will need to be referred by a professional involved with your family such as a health visitor, local children's centre, childcare provider, home start or social worker. Referral forms and guidance for referrers can be found at Free early education for two year olds - information for referrers. Please note: This funding will be withdrawn on 31 December 2014. Any completed applications would need to received by this date to be considered.

Families who do not meet any of the above criteria

Referrals can only be made by a professional involved with your family who has identified a significant need. Referral forms and guidance can be found at Free early education for two year olds - information for referrers. They will also need to ensure that they have completed a Early Help Assessment (previously called Common Assessment Framework - CAF). Please note: This funding will be withdrawn on 28 November 2014. Any completed applications would need to be received by this date to be considered.

Return to top

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 pre school playgroups, day nurseriesnursery units of independent schools, maintained nursery schools and classes and childminders with a good or outstanding Ofsted inspection report

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 house 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.

You will still need to give your childcare provider the required notice period stated in your 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.

We 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.

Files available to download

Page information

  • Updated: 29 Sep 2014
  • Surrey Family Information Service
  • Send to a friend



Please rate this page