Somerset County Council
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Early years entitlement information for providers

 

When do children qualify for the Early Years Entitlement?
Do I need to apply for the funding?
How much is the funding worth?
Can providers charge for extras?
What happens if the child attends more than one provider?
Can children carry forward unused hours?
What happens when a child starts school on a part-time basis?
What about deferred entry?
Where do providers go for further information?

Somerset County Council will fund part-time early years entitlement places for three and four year olds starting from the funding period after the child's third birthday.  This is called the universal entitlement.  Two year olds who meet the eligibility criteria can also access funding.  For more information about the criteria for 2 year olds, please see our Funding for 2 year olds page.  

From September 2017, some working parents will be entitled to an extra 15 hours per week early education and childcare for their 3 and 4 year old child on top of the current offer. This is called the extended entitlement.  For more information on the eligibility criteria, please see our 30 hours funded childcare page.

The Early Years Entitlement can be claimed at:

  • a day nursery 
  • a pre-school or playgroup 
  • an independent school 
  • a children's centre nursery 
  • a maintained nursery 
  • a reception class in a primary or infant school 
  • a foundation stage unit and academy 
  • with an approved childminder

These are known as providers and all providers are under a duty to deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage. The providers must be registered and inspected by Ofsted or the Independent Schools Inspectorate and be able to offer a minimum of 38 weeks in a year. The provider must be registered with Somerset County Council to offer the Early Years Entitlement.

When do children qualify for the Early Years Entitlement?
A child will become eligible for the Early Years Entitlement in the funding period after the child's third birthday. If the child qualifies for Funding for 2 year olds, then funding will be available from the date stated on the parents and carers acceptance letter.

The funding periods are:
Autumn - 1 September to 31 December
Spring - 1 January to 31 March
Summer – 1 April to 31 August

Below is a guide if a child is about to access the funding for the first time, it is broken down into funding periods and birthdays:

  • If the child is born between 1 April and 31 August, funding can be claimed from 1 September - autumn funding period
  • If the child is born between 1 September and 31 December, funding can be claimed from 1 January - spring funding period
  • If the child is born between 1 January and 31 March, funding can be claimed from 1 April – summer funding period

Do I need to apply for the funding?
Children who are 4 between 1 September – 31 December will be able to claim up to a maximum of 380 hours from 1 January – 31 August.  Children who are 4 between 1 January – 31 March will be able to claim up to a maximum of 237.5 hours from 1 April – 31 August.  If the child doesn’t then go to a maintained/academy/free school from the following September, then any remaining hours from the 570 will be available to use.

No. The parents' and carers' chosen provider will claim on their behalf and we will pay the money directly to the provider. Parents and carers must check with their provider that they are registered to offer the Early Years Entitlement.

From each provider, we will require you to send us:

  • a copy of the child's birth certificate or passport with a signed Child Registration Form
  • a completed and signed Parent's Declaration Form to claim the funding

These will be submitted by the provider. If a birth certificate or passport is not available from the parent or carer, other forms of legal documentation may be accepted. Please contact the Entitlements Team for clarification. If these documents are not submitted, the Early Years Entitlement will not be paid and the parent may be charged for the hours their child has accessed.

How much is the funding worth?
Funding is paid directly to the provider for the hours claimed. The rate of pay per hour is explained in the breakdown of your Early Years Single Funding Formula which you are sent yearly.

Can providers charge for extras?
Providers are entitled to charge parents and carers for any hours accessed over the Early Years Entitlement and for additional services, such as food. However, this must be made clear to the parents and carers in advance, as well as being clearly defined on the bill. Please refer to your prospectus or fees policy showing how fees are charged.

What happens if the child attends more than one provider?
Parents and carers can claim at a maximum of three providers that their child attends at any one time.  The total universal hours claimed at the three providers cannot exceed 15 per week combined or the 570 over the year.

If the total hours claimed exceeds the maximum entitlement or 15 hours per week, the universal entitlement will be apportioned between the three providers on a pro-rata basis. Therefore, in the event of an overclaim, parents do not have the right to choose which provider is funded through the entitlement for that funding period.

Can children carry forward any unused hours?
In each entitlement year, hours can be carried forward from one funding period to the next. If the child attends less than the maximum number of hours per week, children may be able to use the hours in the following funding period up to the maximum of 15 per week. However, children cannot carry hours over from one entitlement year to the next. Any unused hours will be lost.

What happens when a child starts school on a part-time basis?
Some schools run a staggered entry system for their new children. This means that the child will only attend school on a part-time basis to start with (the child may not start attending full-time until half term). In this situation, a lot of children will continue to go to pre-school until the school takes them full time. Once a child is attending school, even if it is only for a few hours per week to start with, the Early Years Entitlement will not be available to claim by any provider. Therefore, parents and carers will have to pay the providers for any hours that the child attends once they have started school or if their name appears on the school roll or register.

What about deferred entry?
The Department for Education (DfE) requires all Admission Authorities to offer parents the opportunity to defer their child's entry to school. This means rather than the usual September entry, parents and carers can choose for their child to start later in the year, usually in January at the beginning of the Spring Term but they can defer until later in the year if they wish.

Where do providers go for further information?
If you would like additional information about the Early Years Entitlement, then please phone the Entitlements Team on 01823 357039 or email eyfunding@somerset.gov.uk.

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Information and resources


Shared Foundation Partnership. Film clip, created by City of York Council, about the benefits of partnership working where childcare providers are working with feeder schools to promote the entitlement.

Please note: The 'Change of Address Form' below  must be completed if a child has recently moved to a new address. It is important that this is completed otherwise the address held for the child by us will be incorrect and the starting school information could be sent to the wrong address.

change of address form

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