Free Early Learning for two year olds
- Apply for a place online
- How does Free for 2s work?
- How do I know if my child can have a free place?
- What if my child cannot have a free place?
- Where can my child have a place?
- How do I choose a provider?
- When can my child start?
Please note: paper Free for 2 application forms will no longer be accepted or processed from 1 March 2018.
- Act now - places are limited
With Haringey’s Free for 2s, some two-year olds can have a free early learning place in a nursery, children’s centre, playgroup or childminder, for up to 15 hours a week. Early learning is good for children’s social, physical and mental development and also helps them to prepare for school – giving your child the best start in life.
Please note: for younger children, you can only apply for a place up to 8 weeks before the first day that you want your child to attend – see when can my child start.
We will let you know within ten to fifteen working days of receiving your application whether your child can have a free place. We might ask you for more information, if necessary.
With Free for 2s, your child’s place of 15 hours per week will be completely free of charge to you – all money is paid directly from the council to the person or provider where your child has a place.
Providers are not allowed to charge you a registration fee or a deposit, or ask you to pay for uniforms, lunches or similar as a condition of your child taking up a place.
You need to think about how you want to spread the hours during the day and over a week. Here are some examples of how you could use your hours:
- 15 hours per week, during term time only – as 3 hours per day over 5 days, or 5 hours per day over 3 days
- 11.88 hours per week for 48 weeks of the year
- 11.40 hours per week for 50 weeks of the year
We recommend that you speak to your chosen childcare provider about the hours that they can offer you. We can’t guarantee you a place with your preferred provider, but you should be able to find something to suit you within the local area or the borough of your choice.
If you want a place for your child for more than 15 hours, you will need to ask your provider and you will need to pay for any extra hours.
Even if your circumstances change while your child has a place, your child will not lose their free place.
Look out for our Parent Champion volunteers who are out and about in the community talking to families about free early learning!
Lots of two year olds in Haringey are entitled to a free early learning place.
To be eligible for free childcare you must receive at least one of the following:
- Income support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Universal Credit
- Child Tax Credit, and/or Working Tax Credit and have a joint, annual household income of £16,190.00 or less
- The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- Support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
- The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
Or your child:
- Is looked after by the local authority
- Has a current statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan
- Receives Disability Living Allowance
- Has left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order
If you do not meet the criteria for a Free for 2s place, there are other options available.
You can view your options here for free childcare by age of child and parental status.
You can download the list of providers who offer free early learning for two year olds (PDF, 167KB).
You’ll need to give the provider the letter or email we sent you saying you can have a free place. You can also use your eligibility letter in the borough of your choice - just check with the childcare provider that they are a registered free early learning provider for that borough.
The places in Haringey which offer free early learning include:
- Children’s centres
- Nursery classes in primary schools
- Playgroups and preschools
- Independent schools
You can find out more about different types of childcare providers on our childcare options page.
You may find it helpful to visit some providers, to help you decide where is best for your child. Recommendations from other parents can be helpful, but remember that each child is different, and what suits someone else’s child may not be right for yours.
All registered childcare providers are inspected every few years by Ofsted, who assess how well they are doing. You can see all the reports on the Ofsted website (external link), or you can ask the provider to show you their most recent report.
We can’t guarantee that your chosen provider will have a place available, or can provide the hours that you need, but you should find something to suit you within the local area or the borough of your choice.
- See the Family and Childcare Trust website (external link) for a guide on what to look for in a provider
If you need help finding a childcare place visit your nearest Children’s centre or you can call the council on 020 8489 1000.
If your child is eligible for Free for 2s, they can start the term after their second birthday - see the table below:
|If your child turns two between:||Your child can start from:|
|1 September to 31 December||1 January (Spring term)|
|1 January to 31 March||1 April (Summer term)|
|1 April to 31 August||1 September (Autumn term)|
Or you can use our ready reckoner, which works out the start date for you:
Please note: You can only apply for a place up to 8 weeks before the first day that you want your child to attend.
If you have any questions or would like any more information about free early learning you can contact us:
- By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By phone: 020 8489 1000
- In person: drop into your nearest children’s centre or local customer service centre
You can find out what help you can get with childcare costs on the government's Childcare Choices website (external link).
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