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Early education funding finance - tasks and payments

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.  A Forecast, an Actual, and two amendment tasks.

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 opportunity 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

Information on funded places and what and how funding can be offer is found on the Provider FAQs for funded places

  • Depending on a child's age and eligibility they could receive up to 15 hours or 30 hours of funded childcare across 38 weeks of the year. See FAQs for more details.

  • Instead of 38 weeks, providers have the option to supply funding over more weeks of the year, this is called a 'stretched' offer. An example of a stretched offer could be instead of 30 hours over 38 weeks, funding could be supplied as 23 hours, 45 minutes per week over 48 weeks.  

  • Providers can choose over how many weeks they can stretch funding, it does not have to be 48 weeks. But providers must beware they can only claim as 48 weeks on the EY Portal and the stretched offer is also paid as 48 weeks over the year.

  • Parents can only change to a 48-week offer from a 38-week offer (vice versa) at the beginning of a new term.  Providers should be aware there could be occasions when a child has been accessing their full entitlement as stretched in summer and changes to the 38 week offer from autumn term. Due to the number of funded hours used a child could be left with fewer hours in spring term because of accessing more funded hours in the previous two terms.

  • The below table shows the maximum number of funded hours a child could access for 38 weeks and stretched.


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

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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