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Information for childcare providers

All three and four year old children are entitled to 15 hours of free early years (EY) entitlement per week, across 38 weeks of the year (school term time). If you are an Ofsted registered childcare provider with at least a satisfactory rating then you can register to offer these funded places.

Where to find help

Registering to offer early years places

Please contact the Early Years Funding Team or the Information Advice and Support Service to start the process.

You will then be sent a contract document which covers provision of the free places at pre-school/playgroups, private day nurseries, maintained nursery units or a maintained nursery school (operated by a Cheshire West and Chester school) and independent schools. The contract for childminder is slightly different to account for the variation in how the childminder runs and staffs their provision. All providers will be sent a funding contract as part of their setup. The contract must be signed and returned before you will be able to receive two, three or four year old funding.

You will also be asked to confirm your banking details.

We will ask you to provide details about your provision which will determine the hourly rate we fund you for these free entitlement hours. The formula is based on the average cost of providing the place at the setting. Childminders have a different single funding formula rate form which accounts for the variation in how the childminder runs and staffs their provision.

Claiming funding for early years free entitlement for three and four year old children

Once you're set up to claim the funding you will be sent a number of documents:

  • a summary of three and four year old free entitlement registration and claims process
  • the parent/guardian/care contract and guidance notes - to be completed at the start of each terms by parents claiming with you
  • funded weeks/term dates, eligible children date of births and last date for corrections
  • payment dates and deadlines for estimates, headcount and late claims

Other resources

New funding: Free childcare extended entitlement (30 hours)

From September 2017 families where both parents work (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family) may get up to 30 hours free childcare per week for your three or four year old child.

Over the next 12 months, the local authority will be testing out elements of the 30 hour early education programme, to get ready for the programme roll out from September 2017.

During this time, we will work with providers in a variety of ways and will be undertaking a series of events and consultations to help us plan for the future.

We are very aware of providers concerns over the successful roll out of the 30 free hours childcare in terms of funding, planning, staffing and practice and hope that our work over the next 12 months will help to alleviate this uncertainty.

New funding: early years pupil premium

From April 2015, children who are currently claiming the free entitlement for three and four year olds could be eligible for additional funding called the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP). The Early Years Pupil Premium is extra funding paid to early years providers to improve outcomes for eligible children. Providers are asked to encourage families to apply and to make the application part of their registration process for 3 and 4 year old funded places.

To find out more:

2017 - 2018 assessment of childcare sufficiency

This is the latest Childcare Sufficiency Assessment for Cheshire West and Chester. The Childcare Sufficiency Assessment (CSA) is a detailed study into the supply and demand of childcare within Cheshire West and Chester and is vital tool to share information with the public, local authority officers, elected members and the childcare within Cheshire West and Chester and is vital tool to share information with the public, local authority officers, elected members and the childcare market itself. 

For more information, visit the Local Offer website.

You can request copies of previous assessments by email: EY.Providers@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.

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