Early years education

  • all childcare settings including childminders, pre-schools and nurseries follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
  • this provides a structure of play-based learning, care and development for children from birth to five years
  • the EYFS guide tells parents and carers more about how your child is learning and developing during their first five years
  • if your child has Special Educational Needs, additional support may be available to your child’s childcare setting
  • for further information visit the Local Offer or alternatively speak to your childcare provider

Support for childcare providers

Bexley’s Early Years Team is made up of two elements, the Early Years Advisors and the Early Years Support Officers who can provide support for childcare settings.

The team offer:

  • strategically planned and professionally delivered training programmes which can be accessed online via Bexley Service Network
  • if you do not have an account and would like to access our training contact earlyyears@bexley.gov.uk
  • support and guidance on any aspect of childcare, including business support, defining training needs and support around safeguarding
  • they are also able to come and visit your setting to offer more intense and prolonged support. There may be a charge for some services
  • support with the Early Years Foundation Stage including, bespoke training, advice and guidance
  • the team also help to identify children with special educational needs and disabilities to ensure their needs are being met within the setting
  • there may be a charge for some services


Childcare providers offer a safe and stimulating environment for your child to enjoy and thrive in.

Children are encouraged to learn through play. Activities are planned to support their learning and development.

Early years settings include:

  • childminders
  • pre-schools
  • nurseries

All early years settings follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). This provides a structure of play-based learning and care for children from birth to five years.

Finding childcare providers

Find information on local childcare providers on:

Information on free early education is available on funded childcare.

To find an Ofsted inspection report for any childcare setting go to Ofsted.

Becoming a childminder or setting up a new childcare setting

If you are looking to become a childminder or set up other forms of childcare (for example a nursery or pre-school), contact our Early Years team, email earlyyears@bexley.gov.uk.

You will be sent an information pack which will detail the steps you need to take to get started.

Further information about setting up childcare can be found on Ofsted.

Our Early Years Support Officers can offer business advice. Information can also be found on GOV.UK.

View the Bexley Childcare Sufficiency Assessment (PDF, 629KB).

Funded childcare in Bexley

All three and four-year-olds in England can get 570 hours of free early education or childcare per year, usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year. Some two-year-olds are also eligible.

  • the funding is flexible and can be accessed at up to two childcare sites for up to 10 hours a day
  • if 15 hours is too much for your child you do not have to use the full 15 hours, this can be built up over time
  • when you start your funded place you will be asked to sign a parent agreement which states the terms and conditions of your child’s placement
  • if your child has been attending a childcare setting as part of the Play 2 Learn funding they will remain at the same setting where possible
  • if there are no places you will need to re-apply at another setting
  • if your child attends a school nursery there is no guarantee this will entitle them to a school place

Free childcare for two-year-olds (Play 2 Learn funding)

Increasing to 30 hours

As of September 2017, some three and four-year-olds will be able to get 30 hours funded childcare or education.

The additional 15 hours of funded childcare is available for families where:

  • both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone-parent family)
  • each parent earns at least the equivalent of 16 hours a week at the national minimum or living wage and less than £100,000 a year

For more information visit Childcare Choices.

When can my child start their free place?

  • whether your child is two or three they will start their place at the beginning of the term following their birthday
  • your two year old can only access a place if they meet the set criteria
  • find out when you can start claiming at GOV.UK

Where can my child attend?

  • early years settings include childminders, nurseries and preschools
  • the type of setting you choose depends entirely on your personal preference and what you think is best for your child

For a list of funded childcare providers:

Special educational needs

Early Years Pupil Premium

  • nurseries, schools, childminders and other childcare providers are able to claim extra funding through the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) to support children’s development, learning and care
  • the EYPP provides extra funding for three and four-year-old children whose parents are in receipt of certain benefits or who were formerly in local authority care but who left care because they were adopted or were subject to a special guardianship or child arrangements order
  • the extra funding can be used in any way the setting chooses to improve the quality of the early years education that is provided for your child
  • more information about EYPP is available on GOV.UK