Southwark Council would like to use cookies to store information on your computer, to improve our website. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the site to operate and have already been set.

You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but parts of the site will not work. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy notice.

Jump to content | Change font size and colours |

| or register?

Choose a service...

Early education

Two year old free early learning offer

What is the two year old free early learning offer?

From September 2013, Southwark Council will introduce an offer of free early learning for two year old children who may not otherwise benefit from early learning at this age. Early learning benefits children’s social, physical and mental development while also helping them to prepare for school. Evidence shows that regular good quality education has lasting benefits for all children.

Is the free early learning offer available to all two year olds?

No. The free early learning offer is only available to two year olds whose parents/carers meet specific eligibility criteria.

Who is eligible for the two year old free early learning offer?

  • Income Support
  • Income based Job Seekers’ Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (with an annual gross income of no more than £16,190) and are not
  • in receipt of Working Tax Credits (except during the four week period immediately after their employment ceases, or after they start to work less than 16 hours per week).
  • Or, children who are looked after by the local authority.

From September 2014, the eligibility criteria is likely to be widened further.How is the two year old early learning offer delivered?

Each eligible child is entitled to receive a maximum of 15 hours of free early learning per week until the term after they turn three years old. Then like all children, they will become eligible for a three and four year old free place.

The entitlement can be taken over a minimum of two and a half hours per day or no more than ten hours per day, between the hours of 7am and 7pm, over no fewer than 38 weeks per year (maximum 570 hours per year). You should discuss with the provider of your choice the hours they can offer and how you can access them.

When can my child access the two year old free early learning offer?

The table below shows when your child will become eligible:

If your child is born between:

They are eligible for a free place from:

1 April and 31 August

First September following their second birthday until the term following their third birthday 

1 September and 31 December

First January following their second birthday until the term following their third birthday

1 January and 31 March

First April following their second birthday until the term following their third birthday 

Where can my child access a two year old free early learning place?

The two year old free early learning offer can be provided by:

  • Day nurseries
  • Pre schools or playgroups
  • Independent schools
  • Children’s centres
  • Maintained nursery schools and classes
  • Some registered childminders

All private, voluntary and independent providers of early education must be registered on the Southwark Directory of Providers, however the two year old free early learning offer does not guarantee a place at your preferred provider.

Who pays for the two year old early learning offer?

Registered early education providers claim the cost of the offer directly from Southwark Council. There is no monetary value passed onto parents/carers and there are no forms to complete, however you will be expected to verify that your child has received the free offer.

Will parents be charged for the free early learning offer?

Providers cannot charge parents for any part of the 15 hours free early learning. Providers who charge for goods or services such as registration, lunch or uniform fees cannot do so as a condition of children accessing this offer.

Will the free early learning offer affect my tax or benefits?

The free early learning offer does not affect benefits received.

How can I be sure about the quality of an early education provider?

All providers of early education must meet the following criteria:

  • Be maintained schools in the local authority or registered by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) and inspected for the childcare and education they provide on a regular basis
  • Be included in the Southwark directory of providers
  • All staff are checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service
  • Meet the learning and development and welfare requirements of the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage

You can view the Ofsted inspection report of an early education provider on Ofsted’s website: www.ofsted.gov.uk/reports

Who pays for the two year old free early learning offer?

Registered providers claim the cost of the offer directly from Southwark Council. There is no money passed to the parents/carers.

Will parents be charged for the free early learning offer?

Providers cannot charge parents for any part of the 15 hours free early learning. Providers who charge for goods or services such as registration, lunch or uniform fees cannot do so as a condition of children accessing this offer.

Will the free early learning offer affect my tax or benefits?

The free early learning offer does not affect benefits received.

If my circumstances change whilst my child is attending a free early learning place, will my child lose the place?

No. If your circumstances change whilst your child is attending an early learning place, your child will not lose the free place.

What if my child attends for longer than the hours of the free learning offer?

If you choose for your child to attend for longer than the length of the funded offer, you will be expected to pay for this additional time.

Can I use more than one early education provider?

It is possible to split your place between two private, voluntary and independent providers as long as the total number of free hours does not exceed the offer. However, this option is only available if the provider is able to accommodate you in this way. You will also need to inform both providers of where you are taking up a split place.

Can my child access the free early learning offer if they have just moved to England from another country?

Children moving to England from other countries are entitled to the free early learning on the same basis as any other eligible child, regardless of whether they have British citizenship, provided they meet the eligibility criteria.

How do I apply for the offer?

Complete the application form attached to this leaflet and send it back to us using the freepost address at the end of the form. We will check if you are eligible for a free place and confirm this in writing to you.

If you are eligible, we will send you a list of participating providers. You can then contact the providers in your area and see what places they have available. Once you have found a provider that you are happy with, they will let us know that your child has taken the free place.

Contact us

If you would like a list of free early learning providers, or you have any questions about the free early learning offer you can contact us by phone on 0800 694 0171, or by emailing earlylearninginfo@southwark.gov.uk

You can also contact us if you are not happy about the way your child has received their free offer. We would encourage you to raise any concerns you have with the early education provider in the first instance, however, if you are still not able to resolve your concern, or are not happy with the way it has been dealt with, please let us know.

More information can be found within this leaflet

Bookmark this page

Share this page

 

Contact us

Southwark Council
PO BOX 64529
London SE1P 5LX

0207 525 5000

More contacts...

Follow us What is this?

  • RSS feed
  • youTube channel
  • twitter account
  • facebook fan
  • flickr photostream
.