Two, three and four year old funded providers

Information for providers on early education funding for two, three and four year olds.

All three and four year olds and some two year olds are entitled to free early education and childcare of 15 hours per week, 38 weeks per year, 570 hours per year. Children are able to access the free early education entitlement the term after their second or third birthday.

From September 2017, eligible three and four year olds will be entitled to 1,140 hours per year (30 hours a week term time).

If you are a new childcare provider, you can apply to become a funded provider for two, three and four year olds.

If you are an existing provider, further information and downloadable documents are available below.

Who is eligible for early years funding?

Two year olds

A two year old can get free early education and childcare if they live in England and if the parent/carer gets one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit
  • tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • the Working Tax Credit four-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

A child can also get free early education and childcare if any of the following apply:

  • they’re looked after by a local council
  • they have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • they get Disability Living Allowance
  • they’ve left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order

Parents must apply and check their eligibility for the two year old entitlement using an online application form.

Or face to face support is available from the Gateway Centres and by telephone 0161 778 0384 Option 2.

Children are eligible to receive the early years funding from the start of the term after their second birthday until the child qualifies for free funding as a three year old, even if the family’s circumstances change. 

Parents cannot apply before the start of the funding period in which the child’s second birthday occurs.

Following a successful application, the childcare provider will need the reference number to confirm the funded place.

Three and four year olds

Free early education and care available to all three and four year olds the term after their third birthday until they start reception class.

15 hours per week 38 weeks per year is available and this can be stretched out to include holiday periods - although this can only be done from the beginning of each new term.

Parents/carers should contact their chosen nursery/childminder to arrange a place.

Extended Entitlement for three and four year olds - 30 hours

A three or four year old can get the extended entitlement of up to 1,140 hours of funded childcare, if the parents meet the following criteria:

  • They earn or expect to earn the equivalent to National Minimum or Living wage over the coming three months
  • This equates to £120 a week (or c. £6,000 a year) for each parent over 25 years old or £112 to £180 a week (or c. £5,800 a year) for each parent between 21 and 24 years old.
  • This applies whether you are in paid employment, self-employed or on zero hour’s contract.
  • The parent (and their partner where applicable) should be seeking the free childcare to enable them to work.
  • Where one parent meets the income criteria and the other is unable to work because they are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have been assessed as having limited capability to work.
  • Where a parent is in a ‘start-up period’ (i.e. they are newly self-employed) they do not need to demonstrate that they meet the income criteria for 12 months.
  • If a non-EEA national, the parent must have recourse to public funds.

Parents must apply for the extended entitlement hours through the Childcare Choices website.

If parents are eligible, they will receive an 11 digit code to take directly to a participating childcare provider. Childcare providers must then gain written permission to verify the code with the local authority (parent agreement form below).

Once verified, a place can be confirmed for the funding period.

The entitlement is available over 38 weeks, term time only, or taken over the entire year, e.g. to include holiday periods too, flexible or stretched.

Parents should apply when the child turns three to ensure government funding is available the following term.

Further information

Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP)

The Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) is additional funding for early years providers to enhance the education they provide for disadvantaged three and four year olds.

Children must receive free early education in order to attract EYPP funding. They do not have to take up the full 570 hours of early education they are entitled to in order to get EYPP.

Providers will receive an additional 53p per hour for each eligible child.

Providers must submit data on parent/carers, including their name, date of birth and national Insurance or NASS number for a check to be done. This data is submitted via the Capita Provider headcount portal. Data can be gathered via the parent declaration form (below).

Get more information on the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) and how to claim this additional funding.

Offering funding

If you choose to offer ‘free’ funded places we would encourage you to consider offering them as flexible packages, subject to:

Description Eligibility criteria

Minimum session

No minimum session length (subject to the requirements of registration on the Early Years Register)

Maximum session

No session to be longer than ten hours

Operating times

Not before 6am or after 8pm

Number of providers

A maximum of two sites in a single day

How much will I get paid for providing the Early Years Funded childcare?

Early years providers are funded to provide childcare at a rate of £4.85 per hour per eligible two year old and an average of £4.04 for three and four year old funding (dependent upon supplements paid). Each childcare provider is given their indicative budget rates each year. EYPP funding for eligible children is added to the three and four year old rate paid. This is paid at £0.53p per hour.

Please see below for the three and four year old funding rates

Base rate: £3.63

Supplements:

Quality: Graduate Leader

Deprivation: Calculated using the average IDACI score for all children attending each setting

Band Percentage
Band 1 0% - 25%
Band 2  25% - 30%
Band 3 30% - 40%
Band 4 40% - 50%
Band 5 50% - 60%
Band 6 60% - 100%

Can I offer Early Years funding?

To offer the Early Years funding for two, three and four year olds a provider must be:

  • An early years provider other than a childminder registered on the Ofsted Early Years register;
  • A childminder registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register;
  • A childminder registered within a childminder agency which is itself registered with Ofsted or;
  • Schools taking children age two and over and which are exempt from registration with Ofsted as an early years provider

What do I need to do?

  1. Agree to the terms and conditions set in the funding agreement annually.

Each term you will need to:

  1. Check that children are eligible for the Early Years Funding and complete a parental agreement form with parents.
  2. Complete a headcount claim through the Provider Portal
  3. Make amendments for any children that have joined or left during the term
  4. Inform Starting Life Well service if you are unable to meet the conditions of the agreement. This will not necessarily affect the continuation of the service and Salford City Council may be able to offer support to enable it to continue. 

The parent contract form and timetables are available to download below. The parent contract form is for your records and does not need to be returned to the service. The timetable contains two tabs, one showing time table and the second tab has key dates for processing the two, three and four year old funding via the Provider Portal.

What to do if a two, three and four year old funded child stops attending a setting

Please complete the two, three and four year old funding non-attendance form

Who to contact

For further information or advice, please email the Starting Life Well team at SLW@salford.gov.uk. You can also call 0161 778 0384. 

This page was last updated on 7 November 2017

Information for childcare providers

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