The estimated number of two-year-olds eligible for 15 hours of free early education is shown in the table below:
Two-year-old eligible population estimates
Years: 2015 -2017
Source: Department for Work and Pensions estimates of eligible population
We do not hold an estimate for the eligible population prior to 2015. This is because the entitlement to 15 hours of free early education for disadvantaged two-year-olds was introduced in September 2013 and extended in September 2014. The January 2015 early years census, the first census following the extension, was the first to record the eligible population.
 The estimated number of eligible two-year-olds is based on analysis of administrative data held by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) containing information on benefit and tax credit records relating to November each year.
The estimate is therefore based on the benefit and tax credit eligibility criteria only. The following non-economic eligibility criteria are not covered: children with a current statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care plan; children who are looked after by a local authority; children who are no longer looked after by the local authority as a result of an adoption order, a special guardianship order or a child arrangements order which specifies with whom the child lives. Two-year-olds from families in receipt of Universal Credit are also not included in the published figures.