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Funding Options:

Various options are available, depending on eligibility criteria.
Here is an explanation of what is available and our EYE Policy.

EYE (Early Years Education) Funding

Eligible 2 year olds/3-4 year olds - 15 hours/Eligible 3-4 year olds - additional 15 hours

All children from the 1st full term after their 3rd birthday are entitled to 15 hours per week government preschool funding (Early Years Education). Some families who are eligible may be able to claim for their 2 year olds or an additional 15 hours for 3 and 4 year olds. The funding is offered for 38 weeks of the year (or spread over 51 weeks of the year with the 'stretched' offer) and runs with the academic year, following the full term after your child’s birthday.

Your child can claim all their funded hours with us at Forest Footsteps Childcare or share the hours between different settings. If you are planning on sharing the hours, please contact Erin Cuffley directly regarding this. For 3 and 4 year olds (who are eligible for the additional 15 hours funding) may use more than two providers; but no more than two providers in one day.

When claiming funding, you will be invoiced monthly to include our contribution charge. Funding hours can also be stretched a cross the whole year (51 weeks) which is known as a 'stretched' offer. 

The funded places provided for your child do not include funding to cover the cost of consumable items such as: drinks, meals, nappies, additional staffing or additional services/outings. These items will be included in your termly invoices.  Any full days that do not include any funding will be charged at our usual rates.

Additional hours outside of the funding and extra charges are to be paid in advance as set in the monthly invoices. One month's fees of additional contracted hours and extra charges will be charged as a deposit, to secure your place. This will be agreed in advance. Your deposit will be credited to your final invoice, providing appropriate notice is given. Where appropriate notice has not been given, your deposit will be lost.

If children are absent due to illness or holiday, the additional hours contracted outside of funding and extra charges will still be charged for each of the days where your child would usually attend. To terminate the contract for the additional hours outside of funding and extra charges, four weeks' notice must be given in writing.

*Where parents/guardians do not wish to pay for the additional cost of extras, this may jeopardise their child’s place or the experiences your child takes part in. We provide all outings and activities to ensure a wide choice of experiences that stimulate, excite and extend the children’s learning and that meet their developmental needs. Some of our outings or experiences require higher adult to child ratios that our funding rate from the local authority does not cover.

If agreed by Forest Footsteps Childcare (where parents/guardians will not contribute towards the extra charges), they will need to provide their child with all food, drinks and nappies for the day. This may also effect the activities and experiences that will be offered.

Eligibility Criteria:

15 hours free childcare for all 3 and 4 year olds.

All children in England get 570 free hours per year. It’s usually taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, but you can choose to take fewer hours over more weeks.

Free education and childcare for eligible 2-year-olds 

Your 2-year-old can get free early education and childcare if you live in England and get one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

  • Universal Credit

  • Tax credits (and you have an annual income of under £16,190, before tax)

  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit

  • Support through Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act

  • The Working Tax Credit 4-week run-on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)


A child can also get free early education and childcare if any of the following apply:

  • They’re 'looked after' by a local council

  • They have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan

  • They get Disability Living Allowance

  • They’ve left care under a special guardianship order; child arrangements order; or adoption order


If you’re eligible, the free early education and childcare:

30 hours Free Childcare

You can usually get 30 hours free childcare if you (and your partner) are:

  • In work - or getting parental leave, sick leave or annual leave

  • Each earning at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week. This earnings limit doesn’t apply if you’re self-employed and started your business less than 12 months ago.


You’re not eligible if:

  • Your child doesn’t usually live with you

  • The child is your foster child

  • Either you or your partner has a taxable income over £100,000


You can get 30 hours free childcare at the same time as claiming Universal Credit, tax credits

or childcare vouchers.

If you can’t work

You may still be eligible if your partner is working, and you get Incapacity Benefit,

Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance.

How to apply for 30 hours free childcare

You’ll need your details (and your partner’s, if you have one), including your:

  • National Insurance number

  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), if you’re self-employed

It takes 20 minutes to apply. You may find out if you’re eligible straight away, but it can take up to 7 days.

You’ll get a childcare account if your application is successful and you can use it to get your code for 30 hours free childcare. If you pay for childcare and want to use Tax-Free Childcare to get help with costs, you can also apply, using this service.

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