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Apply for Early Education Funding (EEF)

Early education providers on the early years register can apply to offer early education funding (EEF) - for children aged from 9 months to 4 years.

How do early education providers register?

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

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:

*Providers are responsible for sending sensitive information securely.

Parental declaration and Privacy Notice form - providers complete with parents.

It is a legal requirement (and GDPR compliant) that parents accessing funded hours must complete the relevant sections and sign the parent declaration form.  Providers will need to liaise and inform parents about how they can access fund hours at the provision.

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 37 to 40 of the provider agreement and sign and return it with completed payment option, bank details and a copy of your Ofsted registration certificate.
  • Upon receipt of your completed provider agreement and bank form, our team will process your application and inform the EEF Finance team.

  • Once processed the EEF finance team will send out information that will include:

    • your EY portal password so you can validate working parent entitlement codes and 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 EEF 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.

Please note: Working Parent Entitlement eligibility codes must first be validated into the ECS checker via the EY portal.

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?

  • Working Parent Entitlements - for children aged from 9 months to 2 year olds - families who meet the earnings criteria can apply to receive 15 hours of funded childcare per week over 38 weeks, or as stretched over more weeks but for less hours per week. The unders entitlement is rolled out for September 2025.

  • 2 year olds- Think2: low income households 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 as stretched over more weeks but for less hours per week.
  • 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: Working Parents 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 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.

Coming soon 

  • From September 2025 all Working Parent Entitlements will increase to 30 hours per week or 1140 hours as stretched as over the year but for less hours each week.

For all Working Parent Entitlement, parents must apply to Childcare Choices

Children could be eligible for the term after they become of the relative age:

BirthdayFunding Eligible 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 or services that 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 elements 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 Working Parent Entitlements ?

For further information on the scheme please visit our parent's page for funded hours. 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 an eligibility code received from Childcare Choices. The provider will then validate the code and can then claim the funded hours through the EY portal.

How much funding do settings receive?

From April 2024, funding rates for PVI, childminders and maintained governor run provision is as follows: 

  • Children under 2 years old - working parent entitlement - £9.48 per hour, per child 
  • 2 year olds (Think2) and new working parent entitlement - £7.56 per hour, per child (previously £7.55 for Think2) 
  • 3 and 4 year olds, universal and extended hours - £5.08 per hour, per child. (previously £4.86).

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 3 and 4 year old in attendance) if between 10-32% of funded children reside in attendance with postcodes in the 20% most deprived areas. Settings eligible for this could have an hourly rate of £5.28 per hour for 3 and 4 year olds.
  • £0.30 higher rate - (per hour, per child for every funded 3 and 4 year old in attendance) if between 33-100% of funded children in attendance with postcodes in the 20% most deprived areas. Settings eligible for this could have an hourly rate of £5.38 per hour for 3 and 4 year olds.

What is early years pupil premium (EYPP)?

This is additional funding paid 0.68p per hours for children claiming the first 15 funded hours of their entitlement. 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 supporting children claiming the first 15 funded hours who are in receipt of the disability living allowance and who are claiming funded places. This could mean up £910 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 working parent codes and so on?

Information can be found on our EEF support webpage.

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