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Providing funded early education for three and four year olds

This page is for childcare providers to find out more about Funded Early Education for 3 and 4 year olds and how they can claim funding. Most of the documents and forms you'll need are on the Providing funded early education web page. If you're a parent, go to the Funded early education and childcare for 3 and 4 year olds web page.


What is Funded Early Education for 3 and 4 year olds?

All parents of three and four year olds can have up to 570 hours of funded early education a year. You can offer this as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks a year (called a term time offer) or you may want to spread the total number of funded hours over term time and school holidays by offering fewer hours each week (called a stretched offer).

Parents can start using their funded early education from the funded period starting:

  • 1 April 2019 - for children born between 1 January to 31 March 2016
  • 1 September 2019 - for children born between 1 April and 31 August 2016
  • 1 January 2020 - for children born between 1 September to 31 December 2016
  • 1 April 2020 - for children born between 1 January to 31 March 2017

Parents can continue to access funded early education until their child either starts in reception class at a local authority maintained school or reaches compulsory school age, which is the school term after their fifth birthday.

Surrey County Council pays the funding for Funded Early Education for 3 and 4 year olds directly to the childcare provider.

Some parents may also be eligible for 30 hours funded childcare which is an extra 15 hours a week (known as extended hours) on top of their 15 hours a week Funded Early Education for 3 and 4 year olds (known as universal hours). You can offer Funded Early Education for 3 and 4 year olds without also offering 30 hours funded childcare.


Who can offer Funded Early Education for 3 and 4 year olds?

To be able to offer Funded Early Education for 3 and 4 year olds, your setting must be one of the following:

  • a childcare provider registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register
  • an independent school registered with the Department for Education (DfE)
  • an academy
  • a childminder with an outstanding, good or requires improvement Ofsted outcome.

Nannies and home carers are exempt from the requirement to register as a childminder under The Childcare (Exemptions from Registration) Order 2008 if they provide childcare for no more than two families in the parent's homes. They are currently not permitted to register on the Early Years Register and cannot therefore receive early education funding.

Childminders cannot claim for children they are related to.

You must also register your setting on Surrey County Council's Directory of Providers. Find out how to become a funded early education provider.

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How do I claim Funded Early Education for 3 and 4 year olds?

Surrey County Council pays the funding for Funded Early Education for 3 and 4 year olds directly to childcare providers. Once you've applied to become a funded early education provider and are registered on Surrey County Council's Directory of Providers, you'll be able to make claims through our online Funded Early Education Portal.

The Provider Agreement (PDF) explains how to make claims. You can download most of the forms you'll need from the Providing funded early education web page. If you need a Funded Early Education for 3 and 4 year olds estimate claim form please contact the Funded Early Education Team.

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How much will I be paid?

The rate is £4.65 per hour for Funded Early Education for 3 and 4 year olds.

You may also be able to claim the Disability Access Fund or Early Years Pupil Premium for eligible children.


Key dates

Download useful dates (PDF) to find out headcount days, funded periods, estimate payment dates and follow on payments dates.

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Statutory guidance

Early Education and childcare statutory guidance for local authorities published in June 2018, is unchanged so far this year.


Disability Access Fund (DAF)

The Disability Access Fund (DAF) is for three and four year old children who are taking up funded early education hours and are getting Disability Living Allowance. Please note that four year old children in primary school reception classes are not eligible.

Find out more about DAF including how to apply on the Surrey Local Offer website.

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Contact us

You can contact our Finance Team by:

  • email: free.earlyeducation@surreycc.gov.uk (use Egress Switch if you're emailing us confidential information)
  • tel: 01372 833811
  • post: Finance and Practice Team, Surrey Family Services, Fairmount House, Bull Hill, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 7AH.

Sign up to our Childcare professionals update e-bulletin to stay up to date and find out when new documents are available.

You may also be interested in our Early Years Providers Reference Group.

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