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Government Funding

Funding for Nursery Education Places for Three and Four Year Olds

The following has been written to help you understand more about funding for 3 and 4 year olds. Sandcastles Nursery is registered and regulated by Ofsted. As a result, all 3 and 4 year olds attending are entitled to ‘free’ nursery education. We in-turn deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum to all nursery and pre-school children and are inspected by Ofsted. Please ask a member of staff for a full copy of our inspection reports or alternatively they can be viewed on this website and on www.ofsted.gov.uk. The Local Authority (LA) funding is for 570 hours per year which Sandcastles delivers over a 38 week period thereby allowing for 15 hours of free care per week for 38 weeks a year, as far as possible running in line with school terms. Pre-school sessions run from 9.30am to 12.30am and 1.00pm to 4.00pm. Families are also able to access 6 hours of funding per day if they wish, paying an additional cost for lunch and the care over the lunch time period. Families who access more than 15 hours of care per week will automatically have 15 hours of funding deducted from their invoices. Please note: children attending more than one setting can use the 570 hours per year to help fund places in up to 2 settings (not including school placements). We refer you to our terms and conditions with regards to payment. Please note that any additional sessions that are outside the 570 hours of funding will incur a cost which is payable to Sandcastles Nursery by the parent/carer. The LA sends through contractual forms which have to be completed by us on certain ‘headcount’ dates. The information they require in determining eligibility is your child’s name, address and date of birth. The parents/carers signature is also required and the name of other settings your child attends where funding is also claimed. Children start to receive funding at the start of the term after which they turn 3. For example, a child who turns 3 in the spring term (approx. Jan to March) will be eligible for funding from the start of the summer term (approx. April to July).

A child born on or between Will become eligible for a free place from
1 April and 31 August 1 September following their third birthday
1 September and 31 December 1 January following their third birthday
1 January and 31 March 1 April following their third birthday

If you decide that you want to increase the number of hours your child is accessing after the headcount date, Sandcastles will charge for the additional sessions as no late claims can be made in this instance. This also prohibits you utilising any unclaimed entitlement with another provider for that term. In situations where a child attends Sandcastles at the beginning of term but leaves before headcount date, the new provider will be eligible to receive funding for the whole term. In this instance, Sandcastles will charge parents at our published fee rates for the childcare provided until the date of leaving. We have more information available around the rules governing children moving from one setting to another etc. If you are now more confused than before you were before you started to read, please do come and speak to us. We’ll be happy to help.

Additional Funding – Early Years Premium  (for children accessing the Free Early Education Entitlement (FEEE).

Additional funding has been made available to help support children who fit into the criteria below –

Income Support

Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit

Child Tax Credit (provided they’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)

Working Tax Credit run-on,  which is paid for 4 weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit Universal Credit.

If you feel that your circumstances meet any of the above criteria, please come and see me.  The funding is currently set at £100 per term which is to be used by the setting to provide for learning opportunities to benefit the child/ren.

Please be assured that any information provided will only be shared with those identified as needing to know.



Further information is available on the GOV.UK website.

Government Funding for 2 year olds

The Government currently funds for 570 hours of care and education a year for any two year old whose family meets the criteria detailed on this fact sheet.  Sandcastles Nursery offers this provision over 38 weeks of the year.   This works out at 15 hours each week.  Sessions are from 9.30-12.30 and/or 1.00 p.m. to 4.00 pm) with the 6 hours being the maximum that can be offered in one day. If families choose this option, there is an additional charge for lunch and the care over the lunch period will automatically be added to your monthly invoice.  This will result in the family having an invoice to be paid monthly in advance.  Alternatively, 3 hours can be offered daily which incurs no extra cost to the family.  The care and education has to be delivered by one setting only (a child cannot claim part of it at one nursery and the rest at another).  It is expected that the child remains at one setting only for the duration of the funding and does not move to a different setting during that period (unless there is exceptional circumstances) again this is to ensure stability and continuity for the child.

Two year olds who meet any one of the following criteria are eligible for the Free Early Education Entitlement.  (Children become eligible in the term after their second birthday.

The criteria for claiming –

The parent/carer meets eligibility criteria also used for free school meals as set out below:

Income support

Income-based Job Seekers’ Allowance

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

The Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit

Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and have an annual income not exceeding £16,190

Working Tax Credit 4 week run-on

Their family receives Working Tax Credits and have annual gross earnings of no more than £16,190

The child has a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education, health and care plan

The child (not the parent/carer) attracts Disability Living Allowance

The child looked after by their local authority

The child has left care through special guardianship or through an adoption or residence orders