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Free childcare for children with a disability and special educational needs

Free childcare for 2 year olds

There is up to 15 hours of free childcare for 38 weeks available to children the term after they turn 2 if they have:

  • an education, health and care (EHC) plan or,
  • Is receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

If your child is not getting DLA and you would like to check to see if they can go to DLA for children aged 0-16 years.

To see if you qualify for the free hours please call the Early Years and Childcare Team on 020 8583 6421 they can also help you find a provider.

You may also qualify if you are in receipt of certain income related benefits. For more information see the 15 hours free childcare and early learning for 2 year olds page.

Free childcare for all 3 and 4 year olds
If you have a 3 or 4 year old who is not yet going to school they can get free childcare and education at an Ofsted registered private day nursery, pre-school playgroup or childminder.

All 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to up to 15 hours free education each week for 38 weeks, from the term after their third birthday. Just contact your local childcare providers to see if they have a space available.

Some childcare providers (e.g. day nurseries) may ‘stretch’ the 15 hours across the full year resulting in fewer hours offered per week over more weeks of the year (e.g. 11 hours each week for 51 weeks).
24 hours of free childcare for 0 to 8 year olds through the Short Breaks team

The Short Breaks Service will pay for an introductory 24 hours childminding free. This is an opportunity for you and the childminder to start building a long-term supportive relationship for your child.

A registered childminder is a person who looks after children in the childminder’s own home.

Contact the childminder to see if they can accommodate your child’s individual needs along with the hours and days you are looking for. 

Once you have found someone who meets your needs, call the Short Breaks team. They will organise payment of the first 24 hours with the childminder. After you have used the 24 hours free It will be up to you to pay for the childcare.

Points to remember 

• Your family/child must be registered with Short Breaks to use this service

• Your child must meet level of need pathway 2 or 3 

• Once the 24 hours introductory offer is over, it is your responsibility to continue paying for the service. 

For more information or to discuss organising your childminding, please call the Short Breaks team on 020 8583 3636.