Early Education Funding

All children between 3 and 5 are entitled to free education. Pre-school education may be provided by any of the following -

. A nursery (private or state maintained)

. Accredited child-minder

. Voluntary pre-schools and playgroups

. Primary school reception classes

. Children's centres

Children are eligible for the free education at the start of the first school term after their 3rd birthday. For example a child born between 1st January and 31st March is eligible from the 1st April. Funding is provided for 12.5 hours a week for 38 weeks a year, this is 5 sessions of 2.5 hours.

Free education is not in the form of cash or vouchers. The payment is made directly to the education provider for each session (morning or afternoon) your child attends. Levels of funding vary, I recommend contacting your education provider to ascertain if you will be required to pay top-ups to cover the sessions your child requires. Parents need not apply for the government funding, as the education provider will do this.

As many education providers will charge more than the level of funding provided by the government the difference will need to be paid by the parents.

For an education provider to receive funding towards the child places on your behalf they must be -

. Ofsted Regulated

. Working towards early learning goals and the Foundation Stage of the National Curriculum

. Listed in the local authority Directory of Providers


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