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Early education funding - headcount tasks and payments explained

A headcount task is the way in which a registered childcare provider can make a claim for their funded children who are in attendance with them.  This is done through the Early Years Provider Portal.  It is only possible to add or remove children, or update hours, when a task is open.  Once a funded task has been submitted the information is processed by the early education funding (EEF) team to calculate payments.  

Payments are paid into to your nominated bank account based on your chosen payment model option, which can take up to 4 working days dependent on your bank.

Explanation of Headcount Tasks

Each term consists of four headcount tasks, issued within the scheduled dates found on our Term tasks and Payment dates from April 2023 to March 2025.

Forecast headcount task

This task is open prior to the term starting. 

A provider must ensure before adding or carrying over a child onto their new claim that they are in receipt of the parents completed and signed (or updated) parental declaration and privacy notice. This enables the provider to claim funded hours on the behalf of the family.  The parental declarations must be stored securely in line with GDPR requirements.

Providers can enter on this task all the children that will be expected to start at beginning of the new term.   

Children expected to start later in the term can be added at the Actual headcount task. 

Children leaving before the new term starts, leave dates must be added, and the weeks and hours must remain blank.  

Providers on payment option 1, payment is calculated as 75% of the total claim and payment is made in one lump sum at the start of the term. 

Providers who on payment option 2 (monthly), payment is calculated as 75% of the total claim and payment is made by three equal monthly instalments.

If providers are unable to submit a Forecast, the above payment(s) will be delayed until they are able to enter details on at the Actual headcount task.  

Actual headcount task

This task is open during the term.

Providers should have by now all the parent declarations in place to record the Actual attendance of the children onto this task. 

Providers must take into consideration of the child's start date if the child starts mid-term and count down the remaining weeks of the term offer. 

For children who did not start as expected or leave during the term, it is the responsibility of the Provider to update their relevant task for the related term the child left and reduced the weeks.  Providers cannot claim for any notice period that the parents have breached.  This is because funding will always follow the child.  Breaches of contract is a private matter between the Provider and parent to resolve.

When the task has closed, the EEF team will identify any over claim of hours, and make any alternations to claims.  Once the claims have been authorised for payment, a balancing payment for the term is payable.

Amendment headcount task

This task is issued a month after the term ends.  Except for Autumn, this issued in December.

This task is issued to all Providers.   This offers the opportunity for providers to adjust their term's headcount.  

A payment (or reclaim in most cases) will be made in line with the term tasks and payments schedule. 

Final amendment headcount task

This will be a provider's final chance to update their term claim.   

This task is only available on request following the production of the term's final funding statement (based on the first amendment task).  Providers can request for a final task by emailing the EEF team, and quoting their user ID.

Understanding Funded Places

All three and four year olds become eligible for the universal 15 hours of EEF across 38 weeks per year (or 570 hours) from the term after the child's third birthday.

Three and four year olds who are in receipt of the universal 15 hours could receive an additional 15 hours of EEF (a further 570 hours). The full and extended criteria for the additional hours can be found on Provider FAQs for funded places

If a child qualifies for two-year old funding, the child will be entitled up to 15 hours per week and will remain in place until the child qualifies for three-year old funding.  

EEF can also be offered up to 52 weeks based on a stretched offer. Example of a stretched offer, instead of 30 hours over 38 weeks, a stretched offer can be claimed at 23 hours, 45 minutes per week over 48 weeks.  

If a provider allows a Parent to change to a 48-week offer from a 38-week offer, they can only do so at the beginning of a new term.  Please be aware when offering a change of offers it may leave the child with fewer hours during their third term of their yearly entitlement. 

When a child splits funding with more than one funded provider, parents must state on their parent declaration how many hours they wish to claim with each provider, whether it is standard offer or stretched offer.  Parents cannot exceed claiming more than the maximum hours allowed per week or term:

TermNo of weeks for 38 week over38 week total in hoursNo of weeks as StretchedStretched total hours (48 week example)
Spring 11 330 hours 12 285 hours
Summer 13 390 hours 20 475 hours
Autumn 14 420 hours 16 380 hours

If the total hours shared between providers exceeds the maximum allowed per week or term, the EEF team has the authorisation to apportioned or reduce the individual providers claims to resolve the hours been overclaimed.

Both the ‘universal’ and ‘stretched’ offers fit into funding periods with maximum hours that can be claimed in each period.   Any unused hours cannot be carried forward or banked for the following funding period.   

For links to key information or guidance notes, please visit our Overview webpage.

Contact the Early Years Funding team


01785 854009 

Opening hours:  Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 4.30pm, and Friday 8.30am to 4pm.  

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