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Willow Children's Centre

Willow Children's Centre achieved 'Outstanding' in the last Ofsted inspection. 'The inspirational senior management team creates a highly focused ethos, which is reflected in the positive attitudes of staff, parents and children. Meeting children's care, well-being and learning needs is central to all that they do’. The report states that, ‘Staff have the highest expectations for children's development. The learning environment is filled with stimulating and imaginative resources and learning opportunities, both inside and outside. Children's interests are central to learning and themes are embedded in activities which stimulate the children’.

Willow is situated in the Bright Start North area in a light and spacious purpose-built space. We have a large garden with a large sandpit, a meadow with a bug hotel, climbing equipment and tree house, mud kitchen and space for growing plants and vegetables, calm spaces to explore natural materials the Forest School way.There are covered areas which means the outdoors can be accessed easily in all weathers. Willow's garden has been awarded the Islington in Bloom 2021 GOLD award for 'Best Chidren's Planting'!

At Willow Children’s Centre we have an integrated, holistic and responsive approach which develops children’s physical health, emotional wellbeing, creative and critical thinking skills. This is done through trauma induced practice, sensitive interaction, an enabling environment and parent partnership so all children reach their full potential to achieve positive outcomes.

Willow Children’s Centre is in the register of good practice for ‘Providing Adventurous Learning Through Forest School Experiences’.

As well as providing childcare and education for babies and children from 6 months to 5 years, the Centre offers a range of activities and services including stay and play, fathers’ stay and play, midwifery clinics, family support, chatterpillars,  and free healthy start vitamins. The Bright Start North timetable indicates the activities we offer. 

The services have been highly rated by users, ‘We have had such a warm welcome from everyone, even staff who didn’t know us, and the welcome sign on the door was a lovely touch. The keyworker has been so warm, thoughtful and patient, and it has clearly worked as L appears to have settled really well’.

The children really loved it and led the way. I was so impressed with their adventurous spirit; climbing huge muddy hills & fallen trees, jumping ditches and much more. It was also great to see how the Forest School facilitators interacted with the children - I was taking tips! Their enthusiasm was infectious & the children hung on their every word’

Willow is recognised as an Islington Healthy Early Years setting and has received the Healthy Early Years London Silver Award.

Islington Healthy Early Years works with settings to ensure a good level of support for the health and wellbeing of children under five and their families. Healthy Early Years London (HEYL) is an awards scheme funded by the Mayor of London which recognises Early Years settings’ achievements in child health, wellbeing and development. More information about the London award is available here.

There are also a range of exciting volunteering opportunities available at the centre including working with children and families in sessions, leading exciting projects or helping in our garden.

More information on Bright Start services for families with children under 5, including the timetable of local and online activities.

Healthy Start vitamins are available to collect here.

For accessibility information, please visit Disabled Go.

Parents can do a tour of the centre; please call to book!

A video tour can be accessed on this link



Who to contact

Contact Name
Mita Pandya, Executive Head
020 7527 1990 020 7527 1990 020 7527 1991 020 7527 1991
Willow Children's Centre
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1a Holbrooke Court
off Tufnell Park Road
N7 0BF

Time / date details

Opening times/date
Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.

Other Details

Age Ranges
Childcare services are for children aged 6 months to 4 years
Cost Details
There is a charge for children under 3 and for those 3- and 4-year-olds who stay longer than the free education hours.
Who is this service for?
Everyone living in Islington who cares for a child under 5.
Can I refer myself?
Referral not required
Referral Details

The Centre is popular and prioritises children on whether the child: is at risk or in need; has special educational needs; lives in Islington; lives close to the nursery; is the right age for the space available; has parents who are working or studying full-time.

You can apply for a place at a children’s centre by either collecting an application form from the centre or phoning and asking for one to be emailed to you. You can then return it in person or email back. If your child is offered a place, an admissions meeting will be arranged where you can bring in the relevant paperwork (proof of address etc) and the administrator will help you with the forms that need to be signed.

If you would like any more information about protective measures in place at the centres to minimise risk of transmission of Covid-19 or curriculum practice and provision in general, please phone and ask to speak to the Head or Executive Head who will be happy to speak with you.

Additional Languages
Turkish, Greek, Gaelic and Igbo.

Childcare Information

2 year old funding
3 & 4 year old funding (15 hours)
3 & 4 year old funding (30 hours)
Tax-free childcare

Local Offer

How will you support my child?

We welcome children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families. Our vision for all children with SEND is that they achieve well in their early years and beyond and lead happy and fulfilled lives.

We have experience of working with children with a wide range of needs including autism, global developmental delay, down syndrome, speech delay, complex trauma, emotional needs.

We aim to provide a broad, balanced and high quality curriculum, which is inclusive, accessible and supports children with SEND, taking into account their interests, preferences and individual needs. We will ensure that children with SEND engage in activities together with those who do not have SEND, and participate fully in the life of the nursery and in any wider community activity.

Some children will start attending the setting with special educational needs or a disability already identified. For some, difficulties with their development will begin to emerge while they are with us. Where a child is identified as having SEN or disabilities, to enable the child to participate, learn and make progress, we will remove barriers to learning and put effective, personalised special educational provision in place through a four-part cycle, known as the graduated approach. We ensure that the views of children and their families are taken into account and that they are actively involved in planning and decision making throughout.

We recognise the importance of early identification and the timely provision of appropriate high-quality support, together with high aspirations and expectations of children with special educational needs help children achieve the best possible outcomes. We deliver a range of evidence based support and interventions including language groups, play therapy, sing and sign, Read it 2, Attention Builders and sensory room at Arsenal.

The centre benefits from working in collaboration with specialist partners in education, health and social care to ensure early identification and appropriate support. These include speech and language therapists; clinical psychologists; educational psychologists; health visitors, Social Communication Team; Early Years Development Team; audiology; community nursing; physiotherapists; occupational therapists; Richard Cloudesley Outreach Service; Downright Excellent.

Our Over Threes SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) holds Qualified Teacher Status. Our Under Threes SENCO holds Early Years Professional Status.  The skills and training of our SENCOs and staff include autism awareness, social communication, meaningful transitions for children with SEND, trauma, Makaton, speech/sound awareness. Our Islington link Area SENCO provides us with support, advice and training regarding children with SEND.

You can download a copy of our Special Needs and Disability Policy.

Ofsted Information

Inspection Outcome
Inspection Outcome
Inspection DateInspection typeInspection Outcome
18/06/2019Inspection (Early Years Register)Outstanding
Link to latest Ofsted inspection report 

Last Updated

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