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Early Education & Childcare

All children over three years old, including those with disabilities or special educational needs, are entitled to a free, 15 hours per week place in an early years setting. This can be in a school nursery, children’s centre, private, independent or voluntary nursery.

In Camden schools and council run children’s centres and nurseries, children access 25 hours per week.

Some 2 year olds are also eligible for 15 hours per week, free early education and childcare.

There are ‘enhanced’ places for children with social and communication difficulties or Autistic Spectrum Disorder in local settings. You can contact the Integrated Early Years Service for more information.

If your child is under five and has a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder ‘EarlyBird’ is offered, which helps you support your child's social communication and appropriate behaviour.

More information

  • You can find out more about children's centres and what they offer by clicking here.

You can search for different childcare options (including nurseries and children's centres) by using the search field from the Camden website below.


Teams that can help

Camden’s Early Years Quality Improvement Team 

  • Work with early years settings and childminders to support them to deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage for children from birth to five.
  • Childminders can ask for general support from the Early Years Quality Improvement Team and specialist advice, if they are looking after a child with a disability.

Early Years Intervention Team 

  • When children have severe and /or complex needs a nursery may refer for direct support with specialist equipment and /or interventions from the Early Years Intervention Team (EYIT)
  • EYIT offer direct interventions to children, and plan individually tailored programmes for example Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
  • EYIT support the nursery to implement programmes supported by health professionals
  • The Specialist Teacher for Children with Social Communication Needs who works in the ‘enhanced ASD places’ is based in  EYIT 
  • EYIT contribute to parent support programmes (e.g. EarlyBird)


  • The integrated service for disabled children assesses babies and young children who have more complex needs.
  • The services provides Early Support until the child moves to school.
  • For children with high and complex levels of need, the Early Years Intervention Team and family support workers work with MOSAIC, or with community health professionals working in early years settings.
  • There are a range of services that are available inlcuding The Earlybird programme is offered to parents of children under five year newly diagnosed with Autism.

My child is not in an early years setting

If your child is not in an early years setting and you are worried about your child's development, the best person to speak to is your Health Visitor. Your GP will also be able to help. They can decide whether a child needs to be referred for assessment.

Children with complex health conditions and disabilities

Children with complex health conditions and disabilities

Many children with life-long medical conditions and disabilities are identified by health services, who are required by law to let the local authority know. This usually happens before children start school.

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