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Providing free early education for two year olds

This page is for childcare providers that want to find out more about offering Free Early Education for Two year olds (FEET). If you're a parent find out how FEET can help you and your child.


What is FEET?

Eligible parents of two year olds can have up to 570 hours of free early education a year (from the term after their child's second birthday). 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).

As well as offering families a childcare place, it also helps parents to take up a college course or go back to work and provides ideas on how to help their child play and learn.

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Who can offer FEET?

To be able to offer FEET, your setting must be one of the following:

  • an early years provider registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register
  • a childminder registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register
  • a childminder registered with a childminder agency which is registered with Ofsted
  • an independent school registered with the Department for Education (DfE)
  • a nursery school, nursery class or unit funded by the local education authority
  • an academy.

You also need to meet one of the following quality criteria:

  • you are a provider judged good or outstanding by Ofsted or a childminder registered with a childminding agency judged good or outstanding by Ofsted
  • you are a new provider registered with Ofsted waiting for your first full Ofsted inspection judgement to be published
  • you have an Ofsted inspection judgement of met until your Ofsted quality inspection judgement is published
  • you are a provider judged satisfactory or requires improvement by Ofsted or a childminder registered with a childminder agency judged requires improvement and are in an area where there is not sufficient, accessible good or outstanding provision.

Your setting must also be registered on the Surrey County Council Directory of Providers to offer Free Early Education for Two year olds. Find out how to become a free early education provider.

Please note that Surrey Family Services will secure alternative provision and withdraw funding from a provider (other than a local authority maintained school) when Ofsted publish an inadequate inspection judgement of a provider or a childminder agency.

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How can I offer FEET?

The government's Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities sets out how childcare providers can offer FEET. But families can take up to 10 hours in one session but not before 6am and after 8pm. And a child must come for at least two and a half hours at a time.

Watch our short film to see how one nursery prepared to take two year olds.


How can I check parents are eligible?

Parents will contact you to talk about a FEET funded childcare place. Before you offer them a place, you must make sure that the child appears in the Free Early Education Portal as this confirms they qualify for FEET and that we'll be able to fund them. Ask the parent to fill in the permission to search section of the Free Early Education Declaration Form before you check they're eligible.

Some children already at your setting may qualify for FEET. Parents who meet the financial and automatically funded criteria can apply by filling in a FEET Application Form. If we get sent an application form early (so one term before the funding would start) our Finance and Practice Team will keep it on file. They'll then contact the parent at the start of the term when their child turns two.

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How do I claim FEET funding?

Surrey Family Services' Finance and Practice Team pays FEET funding directly to childcare providers. Once you've applied to become a free early education provider and are registered on Surrey County Council's Directory of Providers, you'll be able to make claims through our online Free Early Education Portal.

The Provider Agreement (PDF) explains how you can deliver free early education. And you can download most of the forms you'll need from the Providing free early education web page.

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Key dates

Download useful dates for headcount days, funded periods, estimate payment dates and follow on payments dates.


How much will I be paid?

The rate is £5.88 per hour for FEET funded children.

Please note that FEET funded children must be able to access their full weekly entitlement of 15 hours with no additional charges

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How can I promote FEET?

We have a range of resources for early years providers, children's centres, partner agencies or any other professional involved with families that are eligible for FEET to use.

These include:

You could download and share these with the parents you work with. For example, you could display a poster, provide information in your newsletters or welcome pack and advertise on your website. If you're an early years provider, why not send out a flyer with your termly invoices too?

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Contact us

If you have any questions about offering FEET places email the Finance and Practice Team at feet@surreycc.gov.uk or call 01372 833368.

If you have any questions about FEET payments please email the Finance and Practice Team at free.earlyeducation@surreycc.gov.uk or call 01372 833811.

If you need to post anything, send it to Finance and Practice Team, Surrey Family Services, Fairmount House, Bull Hill, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 7AH.

Sign up to our Childcare professionals update e-bulletins 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.

Files available to download

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