Early Years Funding

Early years funding supports the national scheme administered by local authorities to offer free early learning and childcare places to all three, four and eligible two year olds. On this page you will be able to find out about the agreed funding rates for two, three and four years olds and Early Years Pupil Premium.

Funding Formula Consultation

Schools forum are currently out to consult for the 23-24 funding formula. The online consultation and all supporting documentation relating to the consultation can be found below: 

The consultation is being run from 13 January to 21 January 2022. Here is the link to the online survey.

The 2023-24 indicative hourly rates can be found at the following link.

Two, three and four year old's free early education

What is it?

Every eligible 2, 3 and 4 year child is entitled to 570 hours of free early education each year, which must be taken over a minimum of 38 weeks, equating to 15 hours per week. If a child attends a setting which is open more than 38 weeks, then the Free Early Education Entitlement will be spread equally over those weeks. For example, if a child attends a setting that is open for 50 weeks a year, they will receive 11.4 hours a week.

Each Free Early Education session must be:

  • A minimum of 2.5 hours long
  • A maximum of 10 hours long

Children must attend the setting for a minimum of two days per week to receive their full entitlement. Should parents/carers require childcare for additional hours, the provider can charge for this. The majority of parents/carers who require only the Free Early Education Entitlement access it through their local nursery school or pre-school, although some full day-care providers do offer this service. FEEE approved providers include:

  • Children's centres
  • Nursery classes in primary schools
  • Nursery schools
  • Pre-schools or playgroups
  • Private nurseries
  • Childminders

You can register to offer the Free Entitlement here.

Two, three and four year old's funding levels

Schools Forum were provided with reports in November 2022, December 2022 and February 2023 which set out the rationale and recommendations for the 2023/24 Early Years Funding Formula (EYFF) and agreed in February 2023 that the funding for 2023/24 would be based on the following:

  • a universal base rate for all types of provider
  • a supplementary funding rate for maintained nursery schools
  • deprivation payments to be made across IDACI bands 1 to 6, with a higher payment weighting for IDACI bands 4-6
  • 10.1 per cent of the over all Early Years budget for 3 and 4 year old's to be allocated to the following supplements: Quality Supplement (previously Teacher Pay and Pension Grant) (2.1 per cent) for system leadership (0.3 per cent) and workforce development; and Deprivation (3.5 per cent)

Therefore in 2023-24 Schools Forum agreed Early Years providers will receive:

Two year old funding of £6.15 per hour eligible two year olds for all providers. 

Three and four year old funding made up of:

  • A base rate of £5.14 per hour for all providers
  • The Maintained Nursery Schools supplement has increased from £1.87 to £3.80 per hour. However, the TPPG is now included within the £3.80 hourly rate which equates to 54p per hour.
  • Deprivation supplements - IDACI band payments will be paid per hour where eligible at the following levels: Band 1 £0.25 per hour; Band 2 £0.50 per hour; Band 3 £0.75 per hour; Band 4 £1.50 per hour; Band 5 £2.25 per hour; and Band 6 £2.70 per hour. 

Appendix B of the Schools Forum paper presented on 13 February outlined the indicative budgets for 2019-20 for all Early Years providers. 

Eligibility criteria for two year old FEEE and 30hrs FEEE can be found on the Early Years Eligibility Checker page. 

Early Years Pupil Premium Funding

The Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) is additional funding aimed to improve the education they provide for disadvantaged three and four year olds. Providers receive £0.66 per hour attended by the eligible child (totaling £376.20 per year). It applies to children in a free early education place from April 2015.

The EYPP is child-specific in addition to the standard hourly rate for three and four year olds (detailed above). Hours must be reported via the headcount returns through the Early Years Provider Portal. To ensure providers receive their EYPP payments in a timely manner,  they will receive an interim payment mid-term which will be reconciled at the end of the term and any balancing payments will be made in the following term (in February for Autumn term, in May for Spring term and October for Summer term.

Responsibilities of Early Years providers

Early years providers are responsible for:

  • Identifying which children may be eligible for the EYPP; and
  • Passing that information on to the local authority via the Headcount returns.

EYPP eligibility criteria can be found on the Early Years Eligibility Checker page. 

Providers should encourage parents to provide and record their NI numbers and date of birth at the point of registration in order to assess children for EYPP eligibility via the Early Years Provider Portal, as the portal is GDPR compliant and will securely store this data). A detailed Step by Step guide on how to assess children for EYPP eligibility can be found in the “User Guide” section on the Hub using the following link. By embedding into the standard admissions process parents/carers are not stigmatised and settings reduce the possibility of missing out on additional funding.

How to spend your Early Years Pupil Premium

Deprivation Supplement Funding

Deprivation Supplement Funding payments are based on children’s postcode data submitted by settings. Deprivation supplement funding is NOT child specific and can be used to support any disadvantaged or vulnerable child or children with SEND who are taking up their Free Early Education Entitlement at your setting.

Deprivation supplement funding can be used by your school/setting throughout the year to close the gap between the attainment of the most disadvantaged children and their peers.

Full details regarding deprivation funding is outlined in the FEEE Financial Guidance.

Free Early Education Material 

A4 Free childcare poster

Free childcare digital leaflet 


Last update: Tuesday 16th of January 2024 10:59:40 AM