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Free early education for all three and four year olds
- Act now to avoid disappointment
- When can my child start?
- Where can my child have a place?
- Choosing a childcare provider
- How do the free education hours work
- Finding out more information
All three and four year olds can have a free early education place in a nursery, children’s centre, playgroup or childminder in Haringey or in the borough of your choice for up to 15 hours a week.
You do not need to apply to Haringey Council, simply go directly to your chosen, registered childcare provider (see the where can my child have a place section below).
Early education/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 - some two year olds can now have a free early learning place - however you will need to apply directly to Haringey using our online form so we can assess your application to see if you meet our eligibility criteria. Check our Free for 2s page to see if your child may be eligible.
Free early education starts the term after the child turns three years old (see the table below) and continues until they start in the reception class of their primary school.
Remember to contact your chosen provider just before or as soon as your child turns three because you need to register in readiness for the relevant term they can start in (see below). Also places get taken up quickly.
|For children born between||Funding starts from|
|1 September to 31 December||Spring term - 1 January|
|1 January to 31 March||Summer term - 1 April|
|1 April to 31 August||Autumn term - 1 September|
Or you can use the ready reckoner below, which works out the term start date for you:
Our easy search helps you find Haringey’s free childcare providers. You can also choose the area and type of provider you are looking for.
Remember: you do not need to apply to Haringey Council for a free early education place for 3 and 4 year olds - you just go directly to your chosen childcare provider (in or out of Haringey) and tell them that you want to claim your free place and they will ask you to sign a form.
The places in Haringey which offer free early education 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.
If you need advice or help finding a childcare place in Haringey, please call 020 8489 1000 or visit your nearest Children's Centre.
You may find it helpful to visit some childcare 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 childcare provider to show you their most recent report.
We can’t guarantee that your chosen childcare 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.
If you need help finding a childcare place in Haringey, please call 020 8489 1000 or visit your nearest Children's Centre.
Your child’s place of up to 15 hours per week will be completely free of charge to you – all money is paid directly from the council to the childcare provider where your child has a place. Childcare providers are not allowed to charge you a registration fee or a deposit.
If you need more than the free 15 hours of early education offered you can buy extra hours from your childcare provider. You should receive a clear invoice from your childcare provider showing your free 15 hours and chargeable hours.
Your childcare provider may also charge you for additional services, for example: lunch, snacks, trips and extra curricular activities.
Using your hours
You need to think about how you want to spread the hours during the day and over a week. You will need to discuss this with your provider.
If you have any questions or would like any more information about free early education you can contact us:
- By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By phone: 020 8489 1000
- In person: drop into your nearest children’s centre
You can find general information about paying for childcare, and a tax credit checker, on the Family and Childcare Trust website (external website).
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