The Bright Start Priority Early Learning panels will meet termly to coordinate childcare placements and additional hours for children who are in need and identified as being a priority by Islington Children’s Services, Whittington Health, early education providers and other health and early help professionals.
Bright Start Priority Early Learning is the new process that has replaced the Early Years Priority Referral (EYPR) process. The most significant change is a move from two central panels to three area-based panels chaired by the Family Support Coordinators.
All Islington professionals working in health, early education and early help can make a request for Priority Early Learning Places. The eligibility criteria can be found in appendix one of the guidance document in Attachments below.
Places are not automatically free of charge. For 2, 3 and 4 year olds, you will need to complete a free entitlement eligibility check before submitting a request.
Working parents may be asked to complete an income assessment to assess how much they will be expected to contribute to the cost of a place.
Requests can be made for the following places:
- Bright Start Priority Place (15 hours) for a child not already in a place - these places are funded in Islington Children's Centres and some childminders. More information about which settings have funded places can be found in appendix 7 of the Guidance document
- Additional 15 hours for a child already attending a Bright Start Priority Place - applications can only be made for children who have previously been agreed for a Bright Start Priority Place
- Additional 15 hours for a 3 or 4 year old not meeting the eligibility criteria for free entitlement - these requests can be made by the childcare provider of Islington resident children who are already in the nursery provision and who are not eligible for the national free 30 hours due to falling below the minimum income criteria but, due to their complex needs, could benefit from a full-time place
- A holiday place/additional hours in a children's centre/childminder over and above core day hours - in some circumstances where core day hours are not sufficient a request for additional hours or holiday places can be made. Children aged under 3 years are usually only allocated 15 hours core day. Any requests for hours over and above this are only agreed in exceptional circumstances
- A request to transfer a child in a Bright Start Priority Place to another setting - hours agreed at panel do not automatically transfer if a child moves setting. Requests need to be made to panel with relevant information about the change in circumstances. Priority will always be given to children not already attending a setting
Before making an application, please read the terms of reference and guidance document in Attachments below. The guidance (appendix 3) lists the questions that you will be asked in the application process and explains the information the panel requires.
As part of the application process providers must demonstrate:
- why the priority place is required
- what difference it will make
- how the impact will be measured
All applications must be discussed and agreed with the child's parent or guardian. We may require a family income assessment.
All professionals submitting a request must complete the online form by the specified deadline for priority consideration of a child for under-fives provision or additional hours at the child’s existing provider.
Before starting your application, please check in which Bright Start area the child lives so that the application goes to the correct panel meeting. To do this, enter the child’s postcode into the Islington Local Area postcode search box, click search and then select the ‘Children’s Centres and Bright Start family services’ dropdown.
Childcare charges for additional hours
Hours over and above the free early education are chargeable according to agreed fee structures:
- Private, voluntary and independent (PVI) providers and childminders set their own fees
- Voluntary providers with a council childcare subsidy and council-run early years centres should apply the Islington childcare charges for children under five in Islington
- Islington schools are encouraged to follow Islington childcare charges for children under five in Islington.
Further information and advice for early years providers can be found on the government's Childcare Choices website
Bright Start Priority Early Learning Panel Dates
Bright Start Central
Bright Start North
Bright Start South
If your request is urgent and cannot wait until the next panel meeting, please email Priority Early Learning.
If you have a query that is not answered in the guidance document, please contact Sarah Bolden - Priority Early Learning Coordinator:
Telephone: 020 7527 5625
Request a Priority Early Learning Place
To make a request please complete a Priority Early Learning request form. Please read the Terms of Reference below, if it is your first time making a request.
The Family Information Service (FIS) can support parents to apply for free entitlement and provide information about other funding available to help meet childcare costs.
Contact the FIS on 020 7527 5959 or by email