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All 3 and 4-year-old children and some 2-year-old children are entitled to 15 hours a week of free early education and childcare. This adds up to 570 hours per year.
Enjoying good quality early education has been found to give children a good start in life, making them more likely to enjoy and do well at school. They can:
Hear the real stories of parents whose two-year-olds are getting free childcare in Merton.
Eligible children can take up a free place after their second or third birthday from the relevant date shown below.
|Child born between||Will be eligible from|
|1 January and 31 March||1 April|
|1 April and 31 August||1 September|
|1 September and 31 December||1 January|
You have a choice about where your child takes up their place.
Early education is provided using one of these patterns:
Your 2-year-old child may be able to get a free place if you have an annual household income of under £16,190 (before tax) and either
Find out if you can claim a place by visiting the My Early Learning website
Places are also available if:
If you meet any of these three criteria, you will need to have paper proof of this to claim your child's free place.
From September 2017, children of working families who meet the eligibility criteria will be eligible to receive an additional 15 hours a week or 1,140 hours a year in total of free childcare.
If your child is eligible for free childcare for all 3 and 4-year-olds on 1 September 2017 (see the table above) and you meet the criteria for the additional hours, they will be able to receive 30 free hours from September 2017. Other eligible children can receive the extra free hours following their third birthday (see the table above).
The main eligibility criteria are:
The government will be introducing an online eligibility checker for parents. If you register your email address with the government website gov.uk they will email you when the checker becomes available for your family.
Parents will apply via the checker and will be given a unique code to give to their provider, along with their National Insurance number and child’s date of birth so that the code can be checked to confirm it is valid.
Parents will be able to split their entitlement across more than one provider. We are working with childcare providers and schools in Merton to help them plan for the additional 15 hours. Once we have confirmation from providers, we will provide details of those offering the additional hours via the Merton Family Services Directory. You could also speak to your current or intended childcare provider to see if they are planning to offer 30 hours.
We will update this website page with more information when it becomes available.
If you are unhappy that your child may not be receiving their free entitlement in the way that it is published on this website, please see the complaints procedure for more information.
To start a formal review, you will need to complete a Stage Two Form (as specified in the complaints procedure above).
Frequently Asked Questions - free places for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds
Early Education for 2-year-olds leaflet
Information about free childcare for two-year-olds has been translated into:
This page was last updated on Friday 3 March 2017