Free early education for two year olds

Some children qualify for free early education from the age of two.​​​​​​

Who qualifies


your child will qualify for a free place if you get:
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • support under immigration and asylum law
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • tax credits and you have an annual household income of under £16,190 before tax
  • Universal Credit and you have an annual income of less than £15,400 after tax.
To check your eligibility against the criteria, use our online checker.
The online check will return an immediate result. If you are eligible you will be emailed an eligibility certificate. Print it out and and take it to your chosen childcare provider.


Children qualify in their own right if:
  • they are looked after by a local council
  • they have a child protection plan
  • they have a disability living allowance
  • they have a current statement of special educational needs (SEN)
  • they have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan
  • they left care through special guardianship or an adoption or residence order.

If you think the child qualifies in their own right under any of the criteria, email or call 020 3373 0980.


What your child gets

Your child can receive 15 hours of free early education per week, 38 weeks per year.
Free places are offered as:
  • three hours per day over five days
  • five hours per day over three days
  • 15 hours spread over a week
  • .or the hours can be stretched out to meet your needs.
Watch our short film about free early education for two year olds and learn more about the benefits and what we offer in Newham.

When your child can start

If your two-year old qualifies for free early education, they will usually start in the term after their second birthday.
If we have not contacted you, but you think your child is eligible, call us on 020 3373 0980 or email

Where your child can get free early education

Free early education and childcare can be at:
  • all types of nurseries and nursery classes
  • playgroups and pre-schools
  • childminders.
The provider must be registered with Ofsted and included on our ap​proved list of early learning providers for two year olds​.
Before you choose a provider for your child, find out more about the different types of childcare on offer. You can also get tips on how to choose a childcare provider.


​​​​​​​Contact us

For more information you can email us on or call us on 020 3373 0980.
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Contact us

  • Best Start in Life Team
    London Borough of Newham
    Newham Dockside
    1000 Dockside Road
    E16 2QU

    020 3373 0980

    Email us