Here are the answers to just some of the most frequently asked questions we have from parents on a regular basis about the free funding for 2, 3 and 4 year olds.
When Can My 3 or 4 year old Start Free Nursery Education?
Your child becomes eligible for a free Government Early Years Education Funded place from the start of the school term after their third birthday. This means that most three year olds will be able to start a free nursery place in the January, April or September following their third birthday.
If your childs birthday is for example on the 1st or 2nd January and the term starts on the 5th January I am afraid their funding will not start until the Summer Term after Easter because they have passed the cut off date of 31st December. It does not go by the date the term starts but by the cut off dates above.
How Many Funded Hours Can My Child Have?
Your child is entitled up to a maximum of 30 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year (Some eligibility criteria apply). To be included in the headcount allocation your child needs to be registered with us on headcount day which falls within the first two or three weeks of term.
How do I Get Free Nursery Education?
You do not apply for the funding directly yourself. Each term we claim on your behalf for the number of sessions your child will be attending and the local authority will then pay the funding directly to us.
The funding is not paid directly to you. Your fees will be reduced to reflect the number of free hours you wish your child to receive.
Remember you may also be entitled to the Working Tax Credit to help you with the cost of childcare fees not covered by the Early Years Education Funding.
The Two Year Olds Entitlement
Disadvantaged two year olds are also entitled to 15 hours per week of free nursery education. The free places for two-year olds are usually provided based on the child’s needs. Your situation would need to be assessed, usually by a health visitor, social worker or similar, in order to decide whether your child would benefit from a place and delivered in a way that supports effective transition to the statutory entitlement at the age of three. (Further information should be available from your health visitor.
If you are entitled to receive one or more of the following then your child will be eligible for a free place.
Income Based Jobseekers Allowance
An income-related employment and support allowance
Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
Child Tax Credit, provided you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit
Stretching the Free Entitlement
It is now possible to have a "stretched" offer over more than 38 weeks. You can ‘stretch’ your child’s free provision by accessing fewer hours across more weeks of the year. While 38 weeks will remain the minimum entitlement, the opportunity to access the free entitlement in this way may help you to budget and balance work or other commitments consistently across the year.
We do offer this flexibility. If you wanted to stretch your hours over the whole year then your entitlement would be 47.5 hours per month. The maximum number of hours during the year is 570 hours (38 weeks x 15 hours).
"Children are supported effectively to learn how to share and develop their consideration of others ...there is a secure curriculum in place that meets individual children's needs and prepares them well for the next stage in their learning."