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Free early education for 2 year olds

Find out if your child is eligible

Who is eligible

Your child can get free early education at the age of 2 if you live in Islington and you get one of these benefits:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit
  • tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax
  • support through Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

Your child can also get free early education at the age of 2, if:

  • they are looked after by a local council
  • they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (ECHP) or assessment for an EHCP has been agreed/is underway 
  • they receive Disability Living Allowance
  • they have left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order

If you don't meet any of the above criteria, but you are an Islington resident and your child meets the criteria below we may still be able to support you:

  • Has significant level of sensory impairment (i.e. is registered as severely sight impaired or sight impaired, or has a significant level of sensorineural hearing impairment)
  • Is known to the Islington Additional Needs and Disability Service (IANDS), Social Communication Team (SCT) or the Early Years Development Team (EYDT); referred by a paediatrician/or on the waiting list for assessment
  • A significant severe or complex medical need, or profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), or mild to moderate learning difficulties (MLD)
  • Is on the Disabled Children's Team (Social Care) caseload

When you can start receiving free hours for your child

You can start receiving free hours for your child from the beginning of the term after their second birthday.

  • if their birthday is before 1 September, they can start in the autumn term
  • if their birthday is before 1 January, they can start in the spring term
  • if their birthday is before 1 April, can start in the summer term

How to apply

You can check whether your child is eligible one term before you are able to start receiving free hours. For example, if your child turns two between 1 January and 31 March, you can check from 1 January.

Please note, in order to check whether you are eligible using the online application, you need to use web Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox. The application does not currently work with Google Chrome.

Find out if your child is eligible

If your child is eligible, you can choose where you want them to go, depending on spaces at the nurseries and childminders offering free childcare for 2 year olds.

If you're applying for a child who is looked after by Islington, please contact your supervising social worker to discuss what is best for the child.

If you prefer, you can download an eligibility form or get a copy at your local children’s centre.

For help and advice, contact the Family Information Service on 020 7527 5959 or email fis@islington.gov.uk

If your 2 year old is eligible for free early education, you can also get free support and training courses to help you learn new skills to get ready to work.

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