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Early education for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds

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.

What are the benefits to your child?

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:

  • Develop their speech and language
  • Make friends and play with other children
  • Try out new and exciting activities
  • Learn new skills

Video

Hear the real stories of parents whose two-year-olds are getting free childcare in Merton.

Watch the video on YouTube

When can my child get a free place?

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

Where can my child get a free place?

You have a choice about where your child takes up their place.

How are the free places delivered?

Early education is provided using one of these patterns:

  1. three hours a day over five days a week
  2. five hours a day over three days a week
  3. Flexible hours between 7am and 7pm

Sessions:

  • must not be longer than 10 hours
  • must not be less than 2.5 hours
  • must not be before 7am or after 7pm

How do I know if my 2-year-old is eligible

Your 2-year-old child may be able to get a free place if you have a household income of £16,190 a year (before tax) and either

  • receive certain non-working benefits or
  • receive working tax credit or
  • your child receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Find out if you can claim a place by visiting the My Early Learning website

Places are also available if:

  1. Your child has a current Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP); or
  2. You have adopted your child or you have a special guardianship order or residence order to care for them or
  3. A child is looked after by the Local Authority, for example, they are in foster care

If you meet any of these three criteria, you will need to have paper proof of this to claim your child's free place.

How do I make a complaint?

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).

Documents

Frequently Asked Questions - free places for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds

Early Education for 2-year-olds leaflet

Early Education for 3 and 4-year-olds leaflet

Information about free childcare for two-year-olds has been translated into:

Contact us

Email: fsd@merton.gov.uk

This page was last updated on Friday 27 May 2016

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