Mayor tackles low uptake of funded two-year-old places

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More than a third of eligible families in London are missing out on two-year-old places, according to figures released by the Mayor.


Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

  • Wide variation in take-up of twos places across London
  • Grants to boost awareness

Just 61 per cent of eligible twos in the capital are accessing a funded early education place, compared with 72 per cent nationally.

The figures come from the Mayor’s Early Years in London report, which also highlights the wide variation in take-up across the capital. While uptake in Sutton is 111 per cent (with only 400 twos eligible yet 420 children taking the entitlement), in Tower Hamlets just 47 per cent of places are being used.


Local projects

The Mayor’s campaign aims to tackle the problem by awarding grants of between £8,000 and £15,000 to 11 organisations that are running creative projects to boost awareness of funded early education among families and communities.

The projects, running until October, are as follows:

Family Lives (Westminster)

The project, through one-to-one support, will help more than 400 low-income families with complex needs to take up their free early education entitlement. An awareness campaign will target eligible families by door-knocking, coffee mornings and other social events at family hubs and children’s centres. It will use tablets to help families apply on the spot, subsequently supporting them to find an appropriate provider.

Wheely Tots (Haringey)

Aims to improve awareness and take-up by recruiting parent ambassadors to share information through word of mouth and engage with local faith and community groups via leaflets, posters, newsletters and websites. It will create unbranded marketing material so information is not seen as ‘top-down’, distributed through local community contacts and therefore ‘more trusted’. It will support families to secure places with childcare providers and create a simple toolkit to help them plan walking, cycling and public transport routes to their nearest providers.

London Borough of Ealing

To support vulnerable families living in the most economically challenged areas through a strong multi-agency/parent partnership that delivers creative engagement approaches to improve awareness and take-up.


The Volunteer Community Peer Networkers project targets families from areas where cultural barriers to take-up exist. It will train male volunteers to raise awareness of the twos offer with other local men.


Aims to address low take-up within the Bangladeshi and Indian communities, working with the borough’s Early years Hub and Coram Family and Childcare Trust.


Aims to improve uptake for two-year olds from households with English as an additional language.

The Limehouse Project (Tower Hamlets)

A dedicated awareness campaign in the Limehouse, Poplar and Stepney wards to engage particularly disadvantaged and marginalised black, Asian and minority ethnic residents with targeted focus groups, as well as broadcasting TV and radio debates on community stations.

The Lloyd Park Children’s Charity (Waltham Forest)

In partnership with Hackney Play, the Play Bus will run 24 play sessions combined with a targeted outreach programme.

Manor Gardens Welfare Trust (Islington)

Using bilingual staff, the project will work with refugee and migrant families to address the barriers to take-up and explore cultural perspectives via community centres and groups.

Minki Kardes (Hackney)

Aimed at Turkish- and Kurdish-speaking families (including Albanian, Bulgarian and Romanian residents) who face cultural and language barriers when it comes to accessing free early education. It will employ bilingual workers to increase parental awareness and confidence, and support nurseries to work with families.

South London Tamil Welfare Group Will help Tamil households to access funded childcare.

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