All three and four years olds are entitled to 15 hours of free early years entitlement, or nursery funding, a week
We 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.
Some working parents are 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:
The provider must agree to abide by the terms and conditions in the Somerset Local Provider Agreement to offer the early years entitlement.
Children who are 4 between 1 September and 31 December will be able to claim up to a maximum of 380 hours from 1 January to 31 August. Children who are 4 between 1 January and 31 March will be able to claim up to a maximum of 237.5 hours from 1 April to 31 August. If the child doesn’t then go to a maintained, academy or free school from the following September, then any remaining hours from the 570 will be available to use.
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:
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.
Who is eligible?
Full details listing all the requirements for a provider offering the Early Years Entitlement can be found in the Somerset Local Provider Agreement. Any setting wishing to offer the Entitlement must read this before completing an application form.
Please note, if you are a childminder you cannot claim funding for any child that is related to you and funded children must not be left under the care of an assistant or a childminder that is not registered to offer the entitlement for any funded hours.
How to register
Providers wishing to register with Somerset County Council to offer the Early Years Entitlement, including Funding for 2 year olds and 30 hours, need to:
If a state school transfers to become an academy, or a school setting that is run under ‘Community Governance’ lowers the age range of the school and decides to put the nursery pupils on the roll of the school, this is classed as a new provision. Therefore, a new application form will need to be completed and returned. It is very important that Somerset County Council are informed of this change at least a month before the transfer takes place.
What happens next
If you need help with any area of the application or more information, please contact the Entitlements Team on 01823 357039. If they can’t help, they will arrange for the appropriate person to contact you.
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
This 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:
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.
Charging 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you would like additional information about the Early Years Entitlement, then please phone the Entitlements Team on 01823 357039 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guidance on writing a Fees Policy or Financial Contractual Agreement
Please note: The ‘Change of Address Form‘ 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.
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.
Submission dates for EYE funding forms
Somerset Local Provider Agreement Sept 2018
Key Changes – Provider agreement 2017 to 2018
Parent Declaration Form for Early Years Entitlement
Example termly invoice for a childcare provider (EYE)
Example monthly invoice for a childcare provider (EYE)
Offering the early years entitlement getting it right
Child Registration Form – June 2018
Application form for a funded early years place for 2 year olds
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