Mayor launches Early Years Hubs to help most disadvantaged children

08 January 2018
  • Mayor confirms three new Early Years Hubs will be set up in Newham, Wandsworth & Merton and Barnet


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today confirmed the three locations for his Early Years Hubs scheme, which aims to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds fulfil their potential. He announced that the Hubs will be set up in Newham, Wandsworth & Merton and Barnet later this month as he reiterated his commitment to improving early years education across the capital. The Mayor is delivering on his pledge to improve access to high-quality, affordable early years education for the most disadvantaged families in London.


Last year only 58 per cent of eligible two-year-olds took up a free early education place in London, compared with 71 per cent nationally1. High-quality early education sets children up to thrive at school and beyond2, and the new Hubs are being launched in areas where take-up of the free places is lower than the London average.


By the age of five, children eligible for free school meals are almost three months behind their peers in terms of their attainment at school3. By bringing together schools, childminders and nurseries, the Hubs will help ensure more children are ready to thrive when they start school. Early Years Hubs will also boost the take-up of early years education and childcare support entitlements, and enable more parents to seek work.

These organisations will work together over a three-year period, supporting quality early years practice and engaging with families to improve access for the most disadvantaged. They may also provide childcare out of normal working hours and support children with special educational needs and disabilities, as well as promoting careers in early-years education. 


City Hall will provide funding of £175,000 for each Hub as well as a toolkit to share learning across the capital.


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Every child in London deserves the best start in life and should be able to benefit from all the opportunities our great city has to offer. Too often, in early years education, it is the most disadvantaged children who miss out. 


“That’s why I want to improve both the quality and access to early years provision for all children. Through these Early Years Hubs, and by working with our partners across London, we can ensure that no child is left behind and that all families have the support they need for their children to thrive.”


The Mayor has already announced a number of schemes to help families. With the soaring cost of childcare in the capital preventing parents from starting a new job or returning to work, Sadiq Khan introduced a new childcare deposit loan across all organisations in the Greater London Authority (GLA) family last year, giving parents a helping hand to get back to work, and is calling on employers across the capital to do the same. 


He has also proposed a compact with employers, called the Good Work Standard - this will encourage employers across London to offer family-friendly working practices like flexible working and fair pay.


Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare, Joanne McCartney, who spoke at the Newham Early Years Conference today, said: “A good education has a profound impact on a young person’s life, and their experiences at school are critical. We know that the earlier a child starts to learn the better they tend to do later on. That’s why early years education is so important and I know that the new Early Years Hubs will make a big difference to children and families alike.


“Childcare and early years education can become a costly barrier to employment for some parents, and by bringing organisations together to provide this support, we can help ensure parents are aware of what’s available and increase take-up of the free early years offer across London.”


Ellen Broomé, CEO of the Family and Childcare Trust, said: “Childcare is as vital as the rails and roads to making our country run: it boosts children’s outcomes, supports parents to work and provides our economy with a reliable workforce. It can help mothers – who are less likely to work in London than other parts of the country – to balance work and care.


“Evidence shows that early education can only narrow the gap between children and their better off peers when the quality is good enough. The Mayor is right to take a strategic approach to childcare to support children, parents and businesses in London.”


Justine Roberts, Mumsnet Founder and CEO: “It can take time for new parents to become accustomed to the array of childcare, health and educational services that apply to pre-schoolers - especially those with additional needs - and in the past we've seen strong support on Mumsnet for the principle of bringing services together. If these hubs prove to be effective in providing affordable childcare and early education, as well as extra support for those who need it, they will be very welcome.”


Early Years Hubs announced today


Newham: Working Together

Led by Sheringham Nursery School, the Hub will build on the existing seven ‘Learning without Limits’ hubs in Newham. Working Together aims to increase take up of the 2-year-old free childcare places offer in Newham from 43 per cent to 75 per cent. 100 childcare settings are forecast to be supported by the Hubs in addition to 60 childminders.  Each Hub will review local areas with lowest take up and work to increase the number of places in high quality settings. 


Wandsworth & Merton: Wandle Early Years Hub

Led by Chesterton Primary School as part of their Teaching School Alliance, this Hub will serve Wandsworth and Merton. It will target disadvantaged areas and aims to increase the take up of the 2-year-old offer overall, including children with Special Educational Needs.  Proposed activities include providing professional development around supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities and rolling out learning from a nursery which holds sessions for children with autism. 


Barnet: Barnet Early Years Alliance

Led by Barnet Early Years Alliance, four new hubs will be established in the East Central Locality within Barnet. Micro-hub champions will develop a range of initiatives to meet local needs including setting up a new live feed to provide information to parents on the available childcare places in the area. The Hubs will also will bring family support practitioners together with early years professionals.

Notes to editors


Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., Sammons, P., Siraj-Blatchford, I. and Taggart, B., (2004). The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) Project: Final Report. London: Institute of Education.

3 Mayor of London’s Annual Education Report 2017, source National Pupil Database -

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