Is my deaf child entitled to free early years education?

Free learning for preschoolers isn't just for deaf children or those with a hearing loss, three and four year old children are entitled to some free education during school term time. We explain where you can find out more about this depending on where you live.

Where can I access free hours for my deaf child?

 Your child can receive their entitled free hours of free education at the following places:

  • Nurseries
  • Pre-schools
  • Playgroups

Free early years education in England

As well as the free education for three and four year olds, families with low incomes can access free education for their two year old children.

Find out more: visit Free childcare and education for 2 to 4-year-olds.

How does the system work?

Many children in early years settings will be assessed against developmental milestones as part of the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile, and the information from this will be passed to your child’s new school or reception class teacher. 

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Free early years education in Scotland

For more information about free pre-school education in Scotland, visit the Scottish Families website: Free early learning and childcare: the basics.

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Free early years education in Wales

In Wales, the curriculum for three to seven year olds is known as the Foundation Phase. For information about free education in the Foundation Phase visit the wales.gov.uk website. 

The Flying Start programme offers free part-time childcare for two to three year olds in some deprived areas.

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Free early years education in Northern Ireland

For more information about free pre-school education in Northern Ireland, visit the www.deni.gov.uk website: Applying for a funded pre-school place.

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Helping deaf children learn

Deaf children may be able to receive support to help them be included in pre-school education, for more information your child’s Teacher of the Deaf or local specialist education support service can tell you more.

Related information

At the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) we have information on how to help deaf children with maths and literacy useful for developing key skills in the early years.

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Glossary Terms

early years deaf children