If you are a good quality early years provider and are not yet signed up to provide places under the Free Early Learning for 3 and 4-year-olds scheme, please contact the Early Years and Childcare Service on 020 7527 5932.

Ofsted registered providers can offer free early learning places:

  • All registered providers can offer 15 hours per week during term time (570 hours per year) to all 3 and 4-year-olds from the term after they turn 3
  • Providers can also offer 30 hours per week (an additional 15 hours, 1140 hours per year) during term time to eligible working parents
  • The Bright Start Priority Early Learning process is also available for Islington resident 3 and 4-year-old children with complex needs who do not qualify for 30-hours free childcare but, due to their complex needs, could benefit from a full-time place.

Support for quality improvement and Ofsted registration and inspection is available through the Early Years and Childcare Service.

Providers need to meet the requirements in the Early Education and Childcare Agreement 2017-18.

Revenue funding

  • Group settings can receive the base rate of £5.78 per child, per hour, plus £1.51p per hour deprivation factor.
  • Childminders can receive £6.83 per child, per hour (£5.78 base rate, plus £1.05 flexibility)

30-hours eligibility code validation

Some working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds are eligible for an additional 15 hours per week (term-time) of free childcare; a total of 30 hours free childcare per week (1140 hours per year).

Only children with a valid code can start provision for 30 hours free childcare. Children in their grace period (a limited time a child continues to be funded for extended free childcare once the eligibility expires) can continue to be funded but cannot start a provision.

Parents apply for 30-hours free childcare on the government's childcare service website.

Childcare Service

If eligible, parents will receive a code which they will bring to their childcare provider.

  • Providers must validate a code before they can offer a funded place. 
  • Providers must ensure parental declaration forms are completed in full for all children aged 2, 3 and 4 accessing the free early education entitlement.

Schools and Early Years providers - including childminders - can use the Provider Portal to validate the 30 hours free childcare eligibility codes. The Provider Portal gives an instant response when validating codes including the date the parent received a code from HMRC (eligibility start date), the date the eligibility has to be re-confirmed (eligibility end date) and the grace period end date.

Islington Provider Portal

Children may only access the 30-hours free childcare the term after their third birthday, therefore it is essential that providers ensure that the child is at the eligible age and has a valid 30 hours free childcare code.

Please refer to the Provider Portal User guide for further information.

You will still need parental written consent to use their personal details. Please use the  'Parental declaration for the free entitlements' form. 

More information on the 30-hours process for providers can be found in the 30 hours free childcare factsheet and the parent customer journey.

Please check Free Early Learning Updates for changes to the process including guidance on any technical issues that you or your parents may be experiencing.

Free Early Learning Updates

If you have any further queries please contact Islington FIS on 020 7527 5959.

Email Islington FIS