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Supporting the whole community

For 2-year-olds

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


Your child will qualify for a free place if you get:

  • income support
  • income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • support under immigration and asylum law
  • the guaranteed part of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit and you have an annual income of £16,190 before tax or less
  • working tax credits and earning no more than £16,190 per year.

To check your eligibility against the criteria, use the Newham online checker. If you are eligible you will be given an eligibility certificate. Print it out and take it to your chosen childcare provider.


Children qualify in their own right if:

  • they are a looked after child in the Newham
  • 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 plan
  • they left care through special guardianship or an adoption or residence order.
  • If you think the child qualifies 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 is on 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 you have not received your “I am 2” letter,  but you think your child is eligible, call Newham 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