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Early Years education


Early years providers are required to have arrangements in place to identify and support children with SEN or disabilities and to promote equality of opportunity for children in their care. These requirements are set out here in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. The EYFS framework also requires practitioners to review children’s progress and share a summary with parents.


Ofsted registered childcare settings


Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills. 

All Ofsted-registered childcare settings, such as nurseries, pre-schools and nursery classes, must make arrangements to support children with SEND and make information about this available to parents. They should identify a member of staff, such as the Special Educational Needs Coordinator or SENCo, to be responsible for SEND, to advise colleagues and ensure that parents are actively involved in decisions.



Childminders are ‘encouraged’ to identify someone to act as the SENCo, perhaps shared with others registered with the same agency. All early years settings, which offer free childcare for two, three and four-year-olds, must follow the SEND Code of Practice. You can find out more information about this by clicking here SEND Code of Practice.

Good quality childcare is beneficial for all children. It can play a hugely important role in your child's development, allowing them to become independent, to mix with other children and to learn new things. But choosing the right childcare can be a difficult decision for every parent, particularly if your child has a special educational need or disability (SEND).

There are laws to protect children from discrimination and improve support and access to services, play opportunities, education and information. There are details about these laws throughout our guide, below, to help you know what your rights are as a parent.

Please contact Westminster Family Information Service on 020 7641 7929 or if you need further assistance to find childcare to meet your requirements.


Free Childcare for Two-years-olds

Does your 2 year old have additional needs or has left care? You may be entitled to claim a maximum of 15 hours during term time or 11 hours per week throughout the year.

Children will be given the opportunity to experience high quality early years education with the support of a trained, high quality registered childminder, nursery of pre-school. The aim of the programme is to enable your child to receive high quality early education that will help them to be school ready.

This entitlement is available in the term after an elegible child's 2nd birthday. You should be able to keep your child at your preferred provider until they can access a school place, normally in the September after their 3rd birthday.

How to apply

Applications can be sent when your child is 24 months old (any application for children under 24 months old will not be processed and will be declined).

Register online and apply for free early education for your 2 year olds. You can complete your funding request using the online application form. This is the quickest and clearest way to ensure your information is received by the Early Years Team. Find the link for the online application service below:


To find out more, please have a look here or contact the Family Information Service:

Tel: 020 7641 7929



Free Childcare for 3 and 4- years-old  children 

  • For all families in England

  • With 3 and 4-year-old children

  • 15 hours of free childcare or early education a week

The majority of nurseries, pre-schools and childminders offer the free funded childcare up to 15 hours per week on a term time only basis for 38 weeks of the year. However, some providers offer a stretched offer up to 11 hours a week for a maximum of 50 weeks in the year. Before you make your choices, it is recommended that you visit or contact your preferred three provisions, so you can make the right choices for your child. Here is a good website which includes some guidance about what to look out for when making your important choice.

Family and Childcare Trust

If your child already attends a nursery, pre-schools or childminder, please inform the Children Services 'Early Help' team when you make your application so they can take this into consideration when allocating a space.  However, not all providers are participating in this scheme.

Once the 'Early Help' team have received your choices, they will contact the nursery, pre-schools or childminder to see if they have a vacancy and ask them to contact you directly and make an offer, in due course.  Please note, even though your child may qualify, places are subject to availability and they can operate a waiting list. 

For further information and contact details, you can access the website here Childcare Choices .  


30 Hours of free childcare for 3-4-years-old

  • For working families in England

  • With 3 and 4-year-old children

  • An extra 15 hours a week of free childcare - so 30 in all

  • Parents of children who will be 3 years old on 31st August 2017 can apply now

To learn more, please visit the Childcare Choices website.


Tax Free Childcare

  • For working families, including the self-employed, in the UK

  • With children under 12 (or under 17 if disabled)

  • For every £8 you pay in, the government will add an extra £2, up to £2,000 per child - that's up to £500 every three months

  • Parents of children who will be under 4 on 31st August, and parents of disabled children, can apply now.

To learn more, you can click on this link to go to the website:  Childcare Choices.


Tax credits for childcare

  • For families with children under 16 (or under 17 if disabled).

  • You need to be working more than 16 hours a week (£120 a week at the National Minimum Wage).

  • If you’re earning less than £120 a week but are under 25, or you’re an apprentice, you may still be eligible. 

  • Each of you need to be working more than 16 hours a week (£120 a week at the National Minimum Wage).

  • If you’re earning less than £120 a week but are under 25, or you’re an apprentice, you may still be eligible. 

  • Your income is above the threshold for this scheme.

  • Your household income is above the threshold for this scheme.

To learn more, you can click here to visit the website:  Childcare Choices 

Different types of childcare:


Childminders are trained, self-employed carers largely based in their own homes. They are registered with Ofsted and both the childminder and their home are regularly checked.

A childminder will normally be able to look after up to six children under eight-years-old including their own, but only three of them can be under the age of five.

Childminders are perfect if your working day doesn’t fit the 9-5, Monday to Friday pattern or if you have children of different ages and you want them to be looked after together. You may also want your child to be cared for in a home environment by just one person.

Day Nurseries

Day nurseries offer childcare and, in most cases, early education. They are for children aged from birth to five years old and some may also offer out-of-school care for five to 11-year-olds. Opening times tend to coincide with a standard working day, 8am to 6pm on weekdays.

You can access a list of Westminster day nurseries here.

Nursery Schools and classes

Nursery schools offer early education and are for children between the ages of three and five. They are open during school hours, normally only in term time for full or half-day sessions. Nurseries are free if part of a state education system (excluding meals and trips). Independent schools charge fees.

As always it is best to check with the nursery school or class you’re interested in to find out about available places and their admissions policy. 

Local authority maintained nursery schools in Westminster:

           293 Shirland Road,

           London W9 3JY

           Tel: 020 8969 5835



            13 Riverton Close,

            London W9 3DS

            Tel: 020 8969 9683



            12-18 Salisbury Street

            London NW8 8DE

            Tel: 020 7641 5435 or 020 7641 5436



            Cockburn House,

            Tachbrook Estate,

            Aysleford Street,

            London SW1V 3RT

            Tel: 020 7641 8725



You can access a more comprehensive list of Westminster nursery schools here.


Usually organised by community or voluntary groups, often with the help of parents, they normally offer early education places. They give your child access to different toys, equipment and activities and ensure they mix with other children. Sessions last between two-and-a-half to four hours and take place either every day or several days a week, during term time. They are for children aged between two and five years. 

Before and After School clubs

Some clubs are open before and after school and all day during school holidays. They offer a quiet space for catching up with homework as well as plenty of fun activities for children. Clubs tend to be for primary school children, but some do offer care for children up to the age of 14 (and up to 16 for children with special educational needs). Most breakfast, after school and holiday play schemes are linked to local schools.

Schools now offer a variety of activities on top of the normal school day such as music, art, sport or additional study support. 


A home carer or nanny would be someone that looks after your children in your own home. Because they are looking after children in your own home they are not required to be registered with Ofsted but some choose to go on a voluntary register. If you go through an agency you may need to pay a finders fee.

If you arrange a nanny or home childcarer directly you become their employer. This means you become responsible for recruiting an appropriate person; carrying out a criminal record check; ensuring they are trained; agreeing terms and conditions and taking care of their pay including tax and National Insurance Contributions. 

Early Years Providers

The following link can provide information about early years providers in your area:

Information for families: Early years providers in your area