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Information for providers

Background information on free early learning for 2 year olds

From September 2013 the Department for Education published a statutory guidance for Early education and childcare for local authorities. This guidance provides framework for the free early learning offer for 2 year olds.

The 2 year old free early learning places can be funded through early years providers who deliver the full early years foundation stage (EYFS) and are registered with Ofsted as early years providers.

Local authorities should fund places for 2 year old children attending any provider rated 'good' or 'outstanding' by Ofsted or those who are newly registered. The decision whether to fund a provider to deliver early education places is to be made solely on the provider's Ofsted4 inspection judgement, and not undertaking a separate assessment of the quality of the provider by local authority.

All providers that are judged good or outstanding by Ofsted or are newly registered will be included on the Childminder & Childminder Day Nurseries or Pre-schools & Day Nurseries should you wish to opt out from this list, please contact Customer Service on 020 7926 9558 or email the Early Learning Team  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Providers are encouraged to offer flexible packages of early education, subject to the following standards:
• No session to be longer than 10 hours
• No session to be shorter than 2.5 hours
• Not before 7.00am or after 7.00pm 

Procedure for providers to accept a two year old on a free early learning place

There are two separate criterias that providers will need to follow before offering a two year old free early learning place:
1. Parents and carers with two year olds that are be eligible for free school meals
2. Children looked after, two year olds who have a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan, children who have Disability Living Allowance and those who meet the discretionary criteria for families under special circumstances 

1. Parents and carers with two year olds who are on a low income or would be eligible for free school meals

Parents and carers with two year olds who are on low incomes or eligible for free school meals, i.e. the family are in receipt of benefits listed, are now using an online application form to confirm their eligibility.

Before accepting a child for a place, parents/carers need to bring a copy of the email provided by their online application to you. This email will contain a reference number starting with AF.

Providers need to go to the 'My Early Learning' website and select check form. Once the website confirms eligibility you can offer the place to the child. A quick guide for providers on how to confirm a legitimate application is available here.

2. Children looked after, two year olds who have a current statement of educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan, children who have Disabitly Living Allowance, children who have left care through special guardianship or an adoption or residence order and those who meet the discretionary criteria for families under special circumstances

All of these children will have received a letter from the local authority confirming eligibility. The Early Learning Team will inform these families directly or following verification from a professional, offering them a place. Before accepting a child for a place, parents/carers will need to bring a copy of this letter to you. This letter will contain a reference number starting with HSD, LAA or OTH.

Further information about who can access these places is available on the information for parents and carers page

From April 2015, payments to providers will be in line with three and four year old funding. All two year olds who are eligible must be submitted on the headcount census form. All two year olds whether they are funded by Lambeth or by another council must be included. 

Providers must put the eligibility criteria for each child if they are a funded two year old. AF denotes the child is under the economic criteria. For any other criteria please select form the drop down menu on the headcount form.  If you are unsure please select any options and the local authority will amend this if necessary.

If you require any further information or assistance, please email The Early Learning Team - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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or a child has left care through special guardianship or an adoption or residence order

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