Early Years

Helping your child become confident, able to communicate their views and transition smoothly in to primary education.

Here is a list of the different types of Early Years education available in Southwark:

  • 2 year old offer - This provides free education and child care for two year old children.
    Southwark funds a range of providers to deliver free places. These include: Nurseries, pre-schools and child minders.
  • 3 year old offer - This provides free education and child care for three year old children. Southwark funds a range of providers to deliver free places. These include: Nurseries, pre-schools and child minders.
  • Children's centres - These provide advice and support for parents and carers.
    Their services are available to you from pregnancy to reception class at primary school.
    They offer a wide range of services under one roof.
    Your child can make friends and learn as they play and you can get advice on health and family matters, learn about training and job opportunities or simply socialise with other parents.
  • Portage - This is a home visiting service for pre-school children and families with additional support needs.
    Southwark provide this service and it is delivered by an organization called KIDS.
  • Nursery Schools - There are different types of nursery schools in Southwark.
    Some are attached to schools.
    You will need to go to the school and make an application for a nursery place.
    Most schools operate a waiting list.
    You will be entitled to 15 hours in a school nursery.
    There are also many Private, Voluntary and Independent Nurseries in Southwark.

To find a nursery in your area click here:

  • Childminders - A childminder will look after children at home, usually their own home. They are registered with the Office for Standards in Education Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) and they are inspected regularly.
    They are often flexible about the hours that they work and will make the most of local parks, playgrounds, toy libraries, drop-in groups and community centres.
    Children have the chance to make friends with the other children who go to their childminder.
    To see a list of childminders in your area click here


Additional support in the early years

All of the above listed service providers must have arrangements in place to support children with Special Educational Needs (SEN).
When you contact them you can ask what they can offer you and they can give you an SEN Information Report.

It is particularly important in the early years to identify needs quickly and make provisions to meet those needs.
Information and guidance is available to settings and you can read these for further insight into how settings are expected to provide for children: The Code of Practice and the EYFS Statutory Framework provide this information.

Early Years providers are funded in different ways to provide support in addition to what is available for all children.
For more information on the types of funding available click here:

There are lots of specialist services provided by the Council and the Health Authority to support children in the early years.
You can find details of these services in the 'Specialist Services Provided By The Council' section and the 'Health And Wellbeing' section.