Alliance responds as government reveals drop in take up of two-year-old funded places

Two-year-old funded places are meant to provide 15 hours free childcare for some of the most disadvantaged two-year-olds. These latest government statistics found that the number of 2-year-olds benefiting from funded early education decreased by 6,200 to 148,800 in January 2019. The take-up rate has decreased from 72% to 68% in 2019. 

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance said:

“It’s extremely concerning to see any drop in the number of two-year-olds accessing a funded place. 

“Sadly this has been on the cards for some time because, as we have repeatedly warned ministers, underfunding has made it increasingly difficult for providers to deliver places for all children cost effectively. However, the problem is even greater for those trying to offer two-year-old funded places because, according to recent Ceeda research, the gap between average funding rates and providers costs is now 37%. 

“The children entitled to these places are some of those who would benefit most from early education so any government should be concerned about this. The fact that this drop is happening under a government forever talking up the importance of social mobility is especially frustrating. Ministers now need to reflect on where their stubbornness on early years funding is leaving our most vulnerable children and look to increase funding levels as a matter of urgency.”



Notes to editors

You can find the government data here:

The June 2019 Ceeda report revealing the gap on funding rates vs provider delivery costs can be found here:

About the Early Years Alliance

  • The Early Years Alliance is the largest and most representative early years membership organisation in England. A registered educational charity, it also provides high-quality affordable childcare and education to support children and families in areas of deprivation throughout the country.
  • The Alliance represents 14,000 member settings and supports them to deliver care and learning to more than 800,000 families every year. We deliver family learning projects, offer information and advice, produce specialist publications, run acclaimed training programmes and campaign to influence early years policy and practice.
  • The Alliance website is