Free Early Learning and Childcare for Three and Four year olds

All children are entitled to a free place from the start of the term after they turn three. They receive 570 hours of free early learning and childcare over the year – 15 hours per week if taken over term times only (38 weeks). Some childcare providers open all year round, in which case the number of free hours can be stretched over the full year.
This service is for all children from the age three. This service is open to everybody, though individual settings offering places may have their own criteria for offering places. For instance, schools may have an admissions policy based on how far children live from the school. All providers have to comply with the ‘Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage’. This states that ‘Providers must follow their legal responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 (for example, the provisions on reasonable adjustments)' and ‘must have arrangements in place to support children with SEN or disabilities’.Southwark funds a range of providers to deliver free places, including nursery classes in schools, private or voluntary sector nurseries, pre-schools and childminders.

How to access the Services?


Approach the school, nursery or childminder of your choice. If they offer you a place and your child takes it up, they will claim the funding for the place from the Council