Free Early Learning for two-year-olds
- Free for 2s videos
- Mayor of London's Early Years Campaign
- 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?
The Mayor’s London Early Years Campaign aims to raise awareness about early years learning/education and how it benefits children.
Want your 2 year old to learn, play and make friends? Find out whether your child is eligible for up to 15 hours a week of free learning and play - apply now for Haringey’s Free for 2s.
Please note: you will need an email address in order to make your application. This means we can email you with the outcome of your application and helps us to be low-paper or paper-free.
- 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: you can apply once your child is 1 year and 6 months old - however, they cannot start until the term after their second birthday. You can apply straight away if you have already missed the term your child could have started. See when can my child start below.
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 place, 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 - if you and your partner are on a low income from work - this usually means a combined income of less than £15,400 a year after tax (external link)
- Tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax
- 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)
A child can also get free early learning and childcare if any of the following apply:
- The child has a statement of special educational needs (SEND) made under section 324 of the Education Act 1996
- The child has an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC) prepared under Section 37 of the Children and Families Act 2014
- The child is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) under Section 71 of the Social Security and Contributions and Benefits Act 1992
- The child is looked after by a local authority (under Section 22 (1) of the Childcare Act 1989)
- They are no longer looked after by a local authority as a result of an Adoption Order, a Special Guardianship Order or a Child Arrangement Order - within the meaning of Section 8 (1) of the Childcare Act 1989
In September 2019 the government extended the eligibility criteria for the free early learning entitlement for the most disadvantaged two-year olds. Two-year-old children in low income families will now be able to take up a free place when their parent(s) have one of the following types of immigration status:
- Zambrano carer (derivative right to reside in the UK under European law as the primary carer of a British child or dependent adult). Parents who are Zambrano carers must also be able to demonstrate that they meet similar low-level income requirements to others eligible for the offer (eg £15,400 net earnings threshold for families in receipt of Universal Credit)
- Leave to remain with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) granted on family or private life (Article 8) grounds. Parents who who have leave to remain with NRPF must also be able to demonstrate that they meet similar low-level income requirements to others eligible for the offer (eg £15,400 net earnings threshold for families in receipt of Universal Credit)
- ‘Appeal rights exhausted’ (ARE) asylum seeker receiving asylum support from the Home Office under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
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, 96KB).
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 apply once your child is 1 year and 6 months old - however, they cannot start until the term after their second birthday - see table above. You can apply straight away if you have already missed the term your child could have started.
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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