Early Education Funding

Early Education Funding for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds (Free Childcare Entitlement)

30 Hour Free Childcare Entitlement 


Early Education Funding for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds

From May 2024 children who attend Willow Cottage will be able to claim Early Education Funding to help with the cost of their childcare, subject to their eligibility.

Although the Government or the media often refers to ‘Free Childcare Entitlement‘ or ‘Funded Childcare‘, it is usually better described as Early Education Funding (EEF).

Children are able to claim 2-year-old funding from the term after they turn 2 and it is the same for 3-year-old funding.

EEF funding is subject to eligibility and for more information about funding please see www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

2-Year-Old Funding

  • Children attending 2 or more days per week are able to claim up to 15 Hours Free Childcare Entitlement.

3-Year-Old Funding

  • Children attending 2 days per week are able to claim up to 20 Hours Free Childcare Entitlement.
  • Children attending 3 or more days per week are able to claim up to 30 Hours Free Childcare Entitlement.

Children are able to claim more than 10 hours per day they attend because the funding is stretched from 38 weeks per year to 50 weeks per year. The funded hours are delivered entirely free of charge during our core hours. When they are stretched, this works out to 1140 hours per year (38 x 30), that are delivered across 12 months, at around 95 hours per month.

Future Changes – including September 24

9-Month-Old Funding

There are two key future dates where funding is expected to change. The website www.childcarechoices.gov.uk contains all of the (somewhat scant) information that has been made available to both parents and nurseries.

September 2024

From September 2024 eligible working families are expected to be able to claim 15 Hours Early Education Funding for children from 9 months old.

We are expecting the funding to operate similarly to the existing EEF, however, details, such as funding rates, are yet to be published.

Please see our fees for funded 2-year-olds for an idea of the effect of EE funding on fees.

September 2025

The scheme is expected to be expended to provide 30 hours of EEF to all working families from the age of 9 months.

Early Education Funding and Fees

The government helps provide childcare to families through its EEF scheme but unfortunately the funding they offer does not deliver the ‘Free Childcare’ promised. However, for most families EEF helps to significantly reduce monthly childcare costs. Please visit our Fees Page for details of how the EEF affects your monthly fees.

Registering for Early Education Funding

Parents and carers need to obtain an Eligibility Code in order to receive any additional hours funding.

This additional funding includes both 15 hours of 2 year EEF funding as well as any funding over the universal 15 hours EEF for 3 year olds.

The code can be obtained from the Department for Education, by registering at the following site: https://childcare-support.tax.service.gov.uk/

Before the Additional Hours funding can be included as part of your Standard Monthly Charge you must have provided the nursery with your Eligibility Code, your National Insurance number and your child’s date of birth.

You will be contacted by the nursery with more information about funding in the term before your child becomes eligible.

Funding-only Free Childcare Entitlement places

Willow Cottage offers a limited number of funding-only places under the Early Education Funding scheme. Children with a funding-only place receive the same quality of care as a child attending full-time and it is entirely free of charge.

Further resources

Oxfordshire County Council and the Gov.uk site both publish helpful resources on Early Education Funding and eligibility. As the pages change regularly, please visit the sites and search for ‘Free Childcare Entitlement’.