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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.  It is only possible to add or remove children, or update hours, when a task is open.  This is done through the Early Years Provider Portal.  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 related dates from April 2022 to October 2023 - Staffordshire County Council

Forecast task

This task is open prior to the term starting. 

You must ensure before adding or carrying over a child onto your new claim that you are in receipt of the parents completed and signed (or updated) parental declaration and privacy notice. This enables you to claim funded hours on the behalf of the family.  You must ensure you store the form securely in line with GDPR requirements.

You can enter on this task all the children that will be starting with you at the start of the new term.   Any children leaving before the new term starts, leave dates can be added and hours/weeks removed. 

Payment is made within the first month of the new term (75% of your total claim).

If you are unable to submit a Forecast, you can enter details on at the Actual headcount task.  Please note this will delay the initial term payment to you.  

Actual task

This task is open during the term.

You should have by now all the parent declarations in place to allow you to record the actual attendance of the children on your headcount.  You can add any new starters and remove any leavers by putting in their end dates. 

Please note, any children who did not attend their 4-week notice period cannot be claimed on your headcount as the funding follows the child.

Once submitted, the EEF team will identify any over claim of hours, and make alternations to your claim.  Once your claim as been authorised for payment, you will receive the balancing payment of your total claim.

First amendment task

This is open prior to the term finishing, except for the Spring term, the task will be issued in April. 

You have the chance to update your headcount with any new starters or leavers since the Actual headcount was submitted.  A payment (or reclaim in most cases) will be made.

Final amendment task

The final amendment task is only available on request following the production of the term's final funding statement (based on the first amendment task).  This will be your final chance to update your term claim.   

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 - Staffordshire County Council

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:

  • Autumn term - Standard offer up to 420 hours or Stretched offer up to 380 hours.
  • Spring term - Standard offer up to 330 hours or Stretched offer up to 285 hours.
  • Summer term - Standard offer up to 390 hours or Stretched offer up to 475 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 - Staffordshire County Council webpage.

Contact the EEF team


01785 854009 

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

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