Pre-school early education

Free early education for 3 and 4-year-olds

All 3 and 4-year-olds whose parents require it are entitled to up to 15 hours per week of early education or childcare during term time. A comprehensive list of childcare providers can be found in the Early Help Information Service Directory.

Children who attend a nursery where funded places are available will be eligible for a funded place from the term following their third birthday.

For more information see Free early learning for 2, 3 and 4 year olds

Free early education for 2-year-olds

Some 2-year-olds are also entitled to up to 15 hours per week of free early education or childcare. These places can be taken up at pre-schools, through childminders or at a selected number of nurseries and in some children's centres.


To be eligible families must be in receipt of one of the following:

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

Children are also entitled if:

  • they have a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education health and care plan
  • they receive Disability Living Allowance
  • they are looked after by the council
  • they are left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order

Use the table below to determine when your child will be eligible for their free place:

Child’s second birthday falls between They will be entitled to their free place from They can contact FIS from
1 January and 31 March 2018 The start of the summer term after Easter 2018 From January 2018
1 April and 31 August 2017 The start of the autumn term in September 2017 From April 2017
1 September and 31 December 2017 The start of the spring term in January 2018 From September 2017


Applications for consideration for a place under the 2 year old offer will be available online. Please note that some of Westminster's childminders are also able to deliver the offer.

Apply online

Contact the Early Years helpline on 020 7641 7929 or email for more information.

Starting school

The council has written a guide for parents with children starting primary and nursery schools in September 2017. To download a copy of the guide 'Your choice for primary education' brochure please visit the schools admissions page or contact the Schools Admissions team on 020 7745 6433.

    Last updated: 31 October 2017
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