Funded Early Education for two-year-olds (FEET) offers eligible families up to 15 hours of funded early education and childcare a week for 38 weeks a year. You can find out if your child can get FEET by checking the eligibility criteria below.
Please use the index below to jump to a section further down this page:
- Financial criteria
- Automatically funded criteria
- Non-EEA citizens who cannot claim benefits
- When can my child get a FEET place?
- When can my child use the funded hours?
- How do I apply?
- I have already been approved for FEET but have lost my confirmation letter or message?
- How can I find a childcare provider offering FEET?
- Can I move my funded hours to a new childcare provider once a new funded period has started?
- Further information
If your family receives one of the following benefits then your child may be eligible to claim FEET. Once your child has been agreed for FEET they will continue to be funded even if your family does not meet the criteria at a later date.
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- The Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (gov.uk) and have an annual household income up to £16,190 before tax
- Working Tax Credit and have an annual household income up to £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 if you and your partner have a combined income from work of less than £15,400 a year after tax.
Claiming FEET does not affect your benefits, but if you are using the childcare element of Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit you can only claim for any childcare over and above the 15 hours. If you were using the childcare element before claiming FEET and you do not change your hours you may need to contact HMRC so they can adjust their payments to you. They can be contacted on 0345 300 3900.
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 been adopted or has left care through either a special guardianship or child arrangements order
- Child with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan
- Child getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Non-EEA citizens who cannot claim benefits
Your two-year-old may get funded childcare if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act and have either:
- Claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as 'part 6')
- Been refused asylum in the UK (known as 'section 4')
A two-year-old you care for may also get funded childcare if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after-tax, and you have either:
- Leave to remain with 'no recourse to public funds' on family or private life grounds
- 'No Recourse to Public Funds' and are in receipt of support under section 17 of the Children Act 1989
- The right to live in the UK because you're the main carer of a British citizen (known as a 'Zambrano Carer')
When can my child get a FEET place?
Eligible children can receive FEET from the start of the funded period following their second birthday. These periods are set by the Department of Education rather than following school term dates.
|Child born between||Can have a funded place from||You can apply from|
|1 January 2019 to 31 March 2019||April 2021 (Summer)||January 2021|
|1 April 2019 to 31 August 2019||September 2021 (Autumn)||April 2021|
|1 September 2019 to 31 December 2019||January 2022 (Spring)||September 2021|
|1 January 2020 to 31 March 2020||April 2022 (Summer)||January 2022|
Your child can continue to receive FEET until the funded period after their third birthday when they will become eligible for Funded early education and childcare for all three and four-year-olds.
When can my child use the funded hours?
Children are entitled to a maximum of 570 hours per year. These will usually be offered as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks a year. However, the funded hours may only be available within set times and sessions so you will need to speak to the childcare provider to see if the hours they offer suit your needs.
However, you won't be able to:
- Have any time before 6am or after 8pm
- Have a session longer than 10 hours
- Claim more than 15 hours a week
- Claim more than 570 hours per year
- Use the funding at more than two sites in one day
Some childcare providers may be able to stretch the hours throughout the year rather than just during term time so for example, you could receive 10.96 hours per week for a maximum of 52 weeks a year. If this would suit you better speak to the childcare provider to see if they are able to offer you a more flexible option.
However, once your child starts at a childcare provider they will have to continue claiming either term time or stretched hours until the funded period after their next birthday to ensure they do not exceed the maximum number of hours. You will be asked to complete and sign a Surrey County Council Declaration form for each funded period stating how you are taking the funded hours.
How do I apply?
If you would prefer to receive a paper application form in the post, please contact us using our online general 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 Finance 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 Finance Team at the beginning of the term your child turns two.
Once your eligibility has been confirmed you can continue to receive the funding even if your circumstances change and you no longer meet the qualifying criteria.
You do not have to live in Surrey to apply but you will need to take your funded hours 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 make an application for FEET funding, your data will be stored electronically and will be kept for 7 years. You can view a copy of our privacy notice here
I have already been approved for FEET but have lost my confirmation letter or message?
If you've received a letter or message confirming you are eligible for FEET funding this term, your details will also have been added to Surrey's Funded Early Education Portal. Your chosen childcare provider can use this portal to check that you qualify for FEET without needing to see a copy of your letter or message. You just need to agree to the search permission on the Funded Early Education Registration form and they will be able to find your FEET ID number by using details like your child's name or date of birth.
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 Funded Early Education for Two-Year-Olds' on the right-hand side.
These will include:
- Pre-school playgroups
- Day nurseries
- Nursery units of independent schools
- LEA maintained nursery schools and classes
Our Choosing childcare booklet has information and advice on how to find 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 move my funded hours to a new childcare provider once a new funded period has started?
You can only move the funded hours to a new 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 your Declaration form, that your child will be leaving during the funded period and you specify the last day that you wish the childcare provider to claim the funded 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 contract with them.
To find out about the potential benefits of accessing FEET watch our short films to hear what other Surrey parents using FEET have to say about it.
Files available to download
- FEET Application form 2020-21 (PDF)
Application form for Funded Early Education for Two year olds (FEET)