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Apply for early education funding (EEF)

Childcare providers on the early years register can apply to offer early education funding (EEF) - childcare places for 2, 3 and 4 year old children, which includes 30 hours for 3 and 4 year olds.

How do I register?

Important: providers must read the terms and conditions of the provider agreement. The documents below will advise providers of processes, parameters and legislation. Guidance and FAQs are also available below.

Forms you need to complete

Please note:  We currently only accepting documents electronically (i.e scanned /photo ) which must be returned to: eeac@staffordshire.gov.uk Do not return by post

You may need to print off, complete, sign and return the following documents. You must complete all applicable fields on the forms, or the application could be returned to you and therefore funding delayed:

IMPORTANT: the current provider agreement 2020-21 has been extended by addendum. This is currently on a rolling term until the DFE update their guidance.

  • Provider agreement 2020-2021 (442 KB) - providers must complete in full and return pages 34, 35 and 36 (also see Addendum)

    • Addendum 2022 - 23 (279 KB) - for referenceadvised on the extension to the above provider agreement and updates to some procedural changes.
  • Copy of Ofsted registration certificate must be supplied (not required if academy or LA schools)

*Providers are responsible for sending sensitive information securely.

Parental declaration and Privacy Notice form - parents must complete

It is a legal requirement (and GDPR compliant) that parents accessing funded hours must complete the relevant sections and sign the parent declaration form  before information is shared about children to the local authority about funding. Providers will need to liaise and inform parents about the funding package at the setting and the hours the provider will claim in any given period.

Please note: Providers have the responsibility to retain and securely store completed parent declarations. Do not return to the local authority unless it is requested.




Guide to register for EEF and your funding questions answered

How to register to offer early education funding

  • You must read the agreement as this is the contract and parameters for early education funding (EEF).
  • Proceeding with the application you must complete all the fields on pages 34, 35 and 36 of the provider agreement and sign and return it with completed payment option, bank details and a copy of your Ofsted registration certificate (not required if exempt school run provision). Without all these completed and returned documents your application will not be processed, and it will be sent back to you, therefore potentially delaying the first payment.
  • Upon receipt of your completed provider agreement and bank form, our team will process your application and inform the EEF Finance team.

  • If the provider is offering funded places with immediate effect, the EEF finance team will aim to complete the creditor payment set up and send out to your provision the completed set up details (via email) within 2 to 3 weeks of the return of the aforementioned documents. If a provider indicates that funded places will start at a later date/ term, the set up completion would take longer but will be done so you can claim on time.

  • The EEF finance team will send out information that will include:

    • your EY portal password so you can validate 30 hours codes, submit claims

    • information on schedule headcounts  or payments dates etc

    • guidance on using the portal, claiming funding and how to validate 30 hours codes 

  • From then on, the EFF finance team will notify providers when it is time to log in and submit a claim or complete a task as well as other general information related to claims.

Claiming procedure after registration and EEF finance team confirm and EY portal access.

Claiming by providers is done each term as follows:

Please note: 30 hour codes must first be validated into the ECS checker via th the EY portal before claims can be submitted on a child for the extended 15 hours.

Important: your provision is solely responsible for submitting claims by the deadline date given to you by the EEF finance team otherwise your payment/s for children will be made at a later date.



Frequently asked questions

How is child eligibility determined?

  • 2 year olds: could be eligible from the term after turning 2 years old (see table below). The household must meet the criteria and apply online to receive code confirmation for funding.
    A maximum of 15 hours per week over 38 weeks (or stretched as 570 hours per year) can be claimed.
  • 3 and 4 year olds: universal entitlement of 15 hours per week over 38 weeks (or stretched as 570 hours per year). No parent criteria nor application is required. Children become eligible the term after turning 3 years old (see the table below).
  • 30 hours for 3 and 4 year olds: families who meet the earnings criteria could be eligible for an additional 15 hours of funded childcare. The extended hours start from the term after parents successfully apply to Childcare Choices or HMRC for an age-eligible child. A maximum of 30 hours per week over 38 weeks (or stretched as 1140 hours per year) can be claimed.
BirthdayEligible from:
Spring Term (1 January to 31 March) Following Summer Term (from April)
Summer Term (1 April to 31 August) Following Autumn Term (from September)
Autumn Term (1 September to 31 December) Following Spring Term (from January)

Can parents access an EEF only place without paying for extra hours, food, administration fee?

Yes, the government legislation states providers should ensure that parents do not have conditions placed on them just to gain access to a funded place and therefore the parent does not have to access and purchase non-funded hours or services or consumables.

But it is up to the provider how the funding is offered at their provision: e.g. hours of the day, days of the week, term time only or stretch through the whole year.

Providers can also charge a deposit for a parent to secure a place and keep it particularly if a child does not start with them. For Think2 or the most vulnerable, if a deposit it charged this must be refunded at the end of the term a child starts the place.

Can I charge parents if a child attends for hours that the I do not supply as funded?

Yes, any additional hours that the child attends that you are not offering as funded hours can be charged for at your own determined rate. This also includes food, drinks, nappies, any consumables and trips and so on. These eleents are not covered by funding.

How could my provision offer the funded hours?

The baseline offer for funded hours is 38 weeks of the year. However, providers can decide to offer a stretch place instead– this means you would offer less funded hours per week but across more weeks of the year - i.e:

  • for 15 hours - the yearly total of 570 hours can be stretched over more than 38 weeks of the year
  • for eligible 30 hour families - 1140 hours can be stretched over more than 38 weeks of the year

However, a child cannot be claimed as both ‘stretch’ or ‘term time’ at the same provision, a claim can only be submitted as one offer. The funded hours must also be offered to the family in the same way you have has submitted the claim for the child i.e. if child is claimed as 38 weeks only this is how funding must be offered or deducted for family.

Basic example of stretch offer: yearly total for funding should be divided by number of weeks.

For 30 hours offered over 48 weeks this would be is 1140 / 48 (the number of weeks) = 23 hours, 45 minutes per week funded.

  • no more than 10 hours of funded hours can be supplied in a day
  • funded hours must be offered between 6.00am and 8.00pm
  • over weekends
  • no minimum stipulation on the amount of funded hours offered in a day
  • children can be supplied with a maximum of 15 funded hours per week (or a maximum of 30 hours for eligible 3 and 4 year olds).

Can a child receive funding from more than one provider?

Yes, up to a maximum of two sites in one day. A parent has the discretion to split funding between any type of provider, childminder, nursery, preschool, school or academy run provision. 

Want to know more about 30 hours childcare ?

For further information on the scheme please check out our 30 hour childcare webpage. Here you will find information on the criteria parents must meet and how they should apply.

Confirmed eligible families must present to their chosen childcare provider a code received from Childcare Choices or HMRC. The provider will then validate the code and can then claim the extended 15 hours through the EY portal.

How much funding do settings receive?

From September 2023 funding rates for PVI and governor run provision is as follows:

  • 2 year olds (Think2) - £7.55 per hour, per child (a £1.88 increase from £5.67)
  • 3 and 4 year olds - £4.86 per hour, per child. (a 0.34p increase from £4.52).

  • Maintained Nursery Schools - 3 and 4 year olds - £4.86 per hour, per child. (a 0.34p increase from £4.52).

Additional deprivation supplement rates for 3 and 4 year olds only will be as follows: 

  • £0.20 lower rate - (per hour, per child for every funded three and four year old in attendance) if between 10-32% of funded children reside in areas of disadvantage. Settings eligible for this could have an hourly rate of £5.06 per hour.
  • £0.30 higher rate - (per hour, per child for every funded three and four year old in attendance) if between 33-100% of funded children reside in areas of disadvantage. Settings eligible for this could have an hourly rate of £5.16 per hour.

In April 2023 funding rates confirmation, it was confirmed the Contingency fund will continue, this is to mitigate financial risk and to manage any unforeseen budget variances as a result of changes in demand. This will be c. 0.7% of the overall budget. Any unused contingency will be returned to the sector in the following year (subject to affordability).

What is early years pupil premium (EYPP)?

The is additional funding that 3 and 4 year olds for 0.66p per hours for chldren claiming the universal ffunded hours. Families must meet the eligibility criteria and apply via the EY portal. Parent's national Insurance number and consent must be obtained via the parent declaration.

For further information please see our EYPP webpage.

What is the disability access fund (DAF)?

Additional funding is now available for providers to support 3 and 4 year old children in receipt of the disability living allowance and who are claiming funded places. This could mean up £859 per academic year for reasonable adjustments for the provision.

For more information please see our DAF webpage.

Where can I get information on payment and headcount dates, copies of parent declaration forms, EY portal guidance, validating 30 hour codes and so on?

Information can be found on our EEF support webpage.

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