Record numbers of two year olds in Tower Hamlets are accessing outstanding free early learning places

  • Free education and childcare for two year olds for eligible parents and families.
  • Education and training opportunities for parents.
  • Additional £1 million of investment in childcare and early years.


Over 1,000 two year old children in the borough are accessing ‘good’ Ofsted rated free early learning, double the numbers from just five years ago. Nearly 300 of them are doing so in Ofsted ‘outstanding’ pre-schools, schools or with childminders. 

Eligible parents of two year olds can have up to 570 hours of free early learning a year (from the term after their child's second birthday). This can be offered as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks a year (called a term time offer) or the total number of funded hours can be spread over term time and school holidays by offering fewer hours each week.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “We have invested an additional £1m into childcare and early years initiatives in the budget this year.  Centres like the Lincoln Hall Playgroup offer supportive education and childcare for families with younger children and I would encourage parents to check if they are eligible to receive support.”

Councillor Danny Hassell, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Young People said: “I’m pleased that over the last five years we have doubled the amount of children taking up their entitlement for free early years education in the borough. However we are not complacent and will be continuing our focus on this, as well as other initiatives, to ensure our children get the best start in life.”

Mayor Biggs and Councillor Danny Hassell, Cabinet Member for Children Schools and Young People visited the Lincoln Hall Playgroup on Fern St in Bow to celebrate an example of excellent childcare and early education provision in the borough. 

The pre-school, rated as outstanding by Ofsted in 2014, provides free early years education for children aged two, three and four to qualifying parents and ensures children have a flying start when they enter school.

Lincoln Hall also supports children who have special educational needs and/or disabilities and those who learn English as an additional language. It provides two sessions each weekday from 8.45am to 11.45pm and 12.30pm to 3.30pm, 38 weeks of the year.

The mayor and Cllr Hassell led a reading session with children and saw the great work that the pre-school does.

For more information or advice on how to access early learning support for two years olds and eligibility visit



For more information about this release contact the London Borough of Tower Hamlets communications team on

020 7364 4389 or email


Notes to editors

Two year old children who are entitled to early learning must be in receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Universal credit - if you and your partner have a combined income from work of £15,400 or less a year, after tax
  • Tax credits and you have an income of £16,190 or less a year, before tax
  • The guaranteed element of state pension credit
  • Support through part six of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • The Working Tax Credit four week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for working tax credit)

Children can also get free early education and childcare if any of the following apply:

If parents are eligible for free early education and childcare, this must be taken with an approved childcare provider and starts from the term after a child’s second birthday. Parents may have to pay for extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.

Posted on Tuesday 18th June 2019