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Last updated May 2024

All councils in England are required to publish a ‘Local Offer’. This is to provide information in one place: detailing the services and activities that families can find locally and how to access them.

The Local Offer will include information on:

  • Childcare options, including expertise to support children with SEND
  • Support to parents to aid children’s development at home, such as home learning programmes and Portage (see the tab Early Years Support below)
  • Free early education places and any special arrangements for children with SEND
  • Support to help children with SEND move smoothly from nursery or a childminder to reception class at primary school

The Local Offer should be published on your council’s website, and also be made available in a printed copy.

All 3-and 4-year-olds in England are entitled to 570 hours of free early education or childcare a year. This is often taken as 15 hours each week for 38 weeks of the year.

Working families of three- and four-year-olds are entitled to an extra 15 hours of free childcare on top of the 15 hours of free early education.

Some 2-year-olds are also eligible.

Gov.UK / Find Free Early Education explains the rules about who can provide the childcare, when it starts and when it stops, and what is available in your area.

For information for childcare in:

Contact charity /support in the early years provides information about how this works in different parts of the UK

Portage home visitors provide help at home for pre-school children with learning difficulties, physical disabilities or other special needs.

To see if you have portage services in your area, visit the National Portage Association website which has details of all registered portage services and who to contact.