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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. 

Qualifying criteria

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

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 been adopted or has left care through special guardianship or a residence 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.

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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)

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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 January to 31 March 2012 - summer term (April 2014)
  • 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)

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.

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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).

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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.

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).

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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.


Can I move my funding to another childcare provider during term time?

Moving house or having to change your job may mean that your current childcare is no longer practical. It may be too difficult for you to get to your nursery or childminder or changing your job means that you require more or less childcare hours. Alternatively your current childcare provider may have received an inadequate outcome in their latest Ofsted inspection. All of these circumstances would allow you to ask for your funding to move with you without the need to give notice.

If you are aware that you will be changing your childcare in the middle of a term you can include this date on the registration form that you sign when your child takes up a place, or you can include it in the declaration form you sign at the beginning of each term. This advanced notice will also mean that you can move your funding to your new childcare provider.


Further reading

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


Files available to download

Page information

  • Updated: 05 Aug 2014
  • Surrey Family Information Service
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Permalink: http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/view?a=200488

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