Funding information for registered early years providers in County Durham

Important details regarding funding arrangements for Free Play and Learn for two year olds, and Early Education entitlement for three and four year olds are available here.

The Provider Portal has now closed for Autumn 2019 Actual Funding Submissions. You can submit Autumn Funding Adjustments up to and including Thursday 16 January 2020.

The Provider Portal will be open for Spring 2019-20 Estimated Hours Submissions from 18 November 2019 up to and including 2 December 2019.

Early Years Funding 2020-21

On 31 October 2019 the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson announced details of how an additional £66 million of early years funding for 2020-21 will be distributed to local authorities. Both two-year-old and three and four-year-old rates used to distribute funding to local authorities will increase by 8p per hour. If these rates had applied in the current year there would have been an additional £543,000 of funding for County Durham compared to the 2019/20 allocation, which equates to 1.8% more funding.

Over the coming weeks the local authority will consult with early years providers and Durham Schools Forum in order to decide how the additional funding is to distributed locally. Following this consultation, final provider rates for the 2020-21 financial year will be published by the end of February 2020.

The announcement also confirmed the continuation of additional funding for local authorities to enable them to fund maintained nursery schools (MNS) at higher rates for the whole of the 2020-21 financial year, as well as commitment to fund MNS in the longer term, stating that any reform to the way they are funded will be accompanied with funding protection.

Early Years Funding Financial Year 2019/20

The government has announced that funding allocated to Durham via the Early Years National Funding Formula (EYNFF) in 2019/20 will continue at the same rate as 2018/19. On this basis we do not propose to make any changes to the way you are funded next year. This means the base rate will continue at £3.70 for all providers and supplements for deprivation (between 0p and 30p) and staff qualifications (between 0p and 20p).

Rates for 2019/20 for all providers are now available.

For further details please contact

The Early Years Provider Portal

The Provider Portal is live for all registered providers of Early Years Education with Durham County Council. All termly estimated hours, headcount returns and funding adjustments should all now be submitted through the Provider Portal.

All registered providers of Early Years Education should ensure that they contact the Early Years Funding Team to receive a Password and Portal User ID. Without a User ID you will not be able to receive any Early Years funding.

Registered early years providers will also be able to check eligibility for Free Play and Learn for two year olds and 30 hours entitlement for qualifying three and four year old’s through the Provider Portal.

Parent/Carer Declaration Forms

Funding headcounts require that parents/carers must complete a Declaration Form for the first funding period that a child attends your setting.

The declaration form is available on our Parent/Carer Declaration Forms page for you to pass on to the parents/carers of all children accessing funding at your establishment for completion.   

Early Years Funding Timetable 2019/20

Details of term dates, estimated hours submissions and interim payments, actual submissions and balance payments are now available for the 2019/20 financial year. Please see the document Early Years Funding - Provider Payment Timetable 2019/20 in the related links section of this page.

Summer Term Term 2019-20 funding information

You can still submit any Summer Term pupil funding adjustments through the Provider Portal up to and including 7 November 2019. No further adjustments can be processed for Spring Term 2018-19.

Early Years National Funding Formula for 3 and 4 Year Olds – County Durham rates for 2019/20

You can view the 2019/20 County Durham rates below:

30 hours funding process guide

Our 30 hours funded childcare for 3 and 4 year olds – funding process guide for childcare providers helps you with the process. The first flowchart looks at dealing with parents and offering places, the second with how to register to offer the funded places.

Two year olds – Free Play and Learn

To qualify for Free Play and Learn for two year olds, parents/carers must have completed an application which has then been approved by us either via a Golden Ticket, a letter from our Childcare Places Team, or a six digit reference number obtained via the Durham County Council Parent Portal. Before claiming funding, providers need to witness evidence of a successful application from parents/carers.

A child will be entitled to the funding from the term after their second birthday if the child or parent meets the eligibility criteria outlined below:

A two year old can get free play and learn sessions if they 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 - if you and your partner have a combined income from work of less than £15,400 a year after tax
  • Tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Support through part six 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.

Eligible children can be offered up to 570 hours of free Play and Learn sessions in a year and this is usually taken as 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year. If you would like to claim for fewer hours over more weeks (ie “stretch” the entitlement) please contact the Early Years Funding Team. 

The rate for two year old children in 2018/19 is £5.10 per hour.

Checking 2yr old eligibility via the Provider Portal – EY Voucher

Early Years Providers should be aware that Parents can check eligibility directly themselves for a funded Two Year Old Play and Learn place from the week commencing Monday 2 October 2017 via the Parent Portal operated by Durham County Council. Any qualifying child (based on parent’s name, date of birth and National Insurance number or National Asylum Seekers Support number) will be issued a 6 digit code confirming their eligibility. You can then enter the detail for qualifying children via your Provider Portal to claim funding. This eliminates the need to contact the Childcare Places Team to verify eligibility for cases where a six digit code has been issued.

This is explained on page 21 of the Provider Portal Guide (which can be found near the top of this page).

Two year olds – term dates for 2019/20

Funding for two year olds is available for a maximum of 570 hours per year, and the table below shows how these hours are allocated across each funding period. Please note, you will not be funded for any hours in excess of this for each funding period, so if a child attends your setting for more than the hours stated below then you will need to make separate arrangements for parents/carers to pay for those additional hours at your normal hourly rate.

Funding Term Start date End date Weeks Hours 2 year old eligible birth dates
Summer 1 April 2019 31 August 2019 13 195 1 April 2016 31 March 2017
Autumn 1 September 2019 31 December 2019 14 210 1 September 2016 31 August 2017
Spring 1 January 2020 31 March 2020 11 165 1 January 2017 31 December 2017
Annual Total 38 570

Three and four year olds - early education

Children can access up to 15 funded hours per week for each term. This is a universal offer, and begins from the start of the term following a child’s third birthday. This is at £3.70 per hour plus increments based on deprivation levels and staff qualification rating.

Three and four year olds – extended free entitlement

From September 2017, the Department for Education rolls out a new policy of extended entitlement of up to 30 hours funded childcare for eligible children aged three and four.

A child is eligible from the term that begins following their third birthday if the child’s parent(s) meets the eligibility criteria set out below:

  • The parent (and their partner where applicable) should be seeking the funded childcare to enable them to work.
  • The parent of the child (and their partner where applicable) should also be in qualifying paid work. Each parent or the single parent in a lone parent household will need to expect to earn the equivalent of 16 hours at the national living wage or their national minimum wage rate over the forthcoming quarter.
  • Where one or both parents are in receipt of benefits in connection with sickness or parenting, they are treated as though they are in paid work.
  • Where one parent (in a couple household) is in receipt or could be entitled to be in receipt of specific benefits related to caring, incapacity for work or limited capability for work that they are treated as though they are in paid work;
    where a parent is in a ‘start-up period’, (ie they are newly self-employed), they do not need to demonstrate that they meet the income criteria for twelve months in order to qualify for the extended entitlement.
  • Children in foster care.
  • If either or both parents’ income exceeds £100,000 they will not be eligible for the extended entitlement.

Three and four year olds – term dates

The allocation of hours across the terms is shown in the table below.

Funding Term Start date End date Weeks Hours 3 year old eligible birth dates 4 year old eligible birth dates
Summer 1 April 2019 31 August 2019 13 195 or 390 1 April 2015 31 March 2016 01 April 2014 31 March 2015
Autumn 1 September 2019 31 December 2019 14 210 or 420 1 September 2015 31 August 2016 1 September 2014 31 August 2015
Spring 1 January 2020 31 March 2020 11 165 or 330 1 January 2016 31 December 2016 1 January 2015 31 December 2015
Annual Total 38 570 or 1140

Payment arrangements

All registered Early Years (EY) providers are eligible to receive an interim payment and a balance payment providing they submit the required information via the Provider Portal by an agreed deadline.

From April 2018, we have offered the choice of providers receiving either termly interim payments or monthly interim payments. This is dependent on providers submitting estimated hours for each term.

If you choose the termly option then you receive 75% of your expected hours’ total (multiplied by your hourly rate) for the first day of term. EY Providers will then receive a balance payment later in the term based on your submission of actual hours.

If you choose the monthly option then you still receive your 75% of your expected hours’ total (multiplied by your hourly rate). However, this is apportioned into three equal monthly payments for Summer and Autumn terms (and two for Spring Term). EY Providers will then receive a balance payment later in the term based on your submission of actual hours.

Please note that the payment dates shown are contingent on EY providers ensuring that we receive your completed returns by the deadline date. When these deadlines are not achieved, then we cannot guarantee payment by this date.

The 2019/20 financial year timetable for submissions via the portal and payment dates is available through the related links section of this page.

Where pupils leave or new pupils join your setting in a particular term after you have submitted your actual headcount (and the term is locked on the provider portal), you must inform the EY Funding team of the details of the child by completing a Pupil Funding Adjustment via the Funding – Adjustments section in the Provider Portal.

Early Years Pupil Premium

Funding for disadvantaged three and four year olds comes from the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP). You may be entitled to funding worth approximately £100 per term for qualifying children. EYPP is used to improve teaching and learning facilities and resources so as to impact positively on children’s progress and development. For more information contact us on Tel: 03000 268 913 for eligibility criteria.

Submitting claims for EYPP for Autumn Funding Period 2019

Registered EY Providers can make a claim via the Provider Portal for the children you think may be eligible for EYPP.

Providers should go into the respective child’s record and in the Parent/Carer Tab complete each required section with the parent's name, date of birth, and their National Insurance Number or National Asylum Seekers Number. The consent box for an eligibility check must also be completed. Please note that without all of this detail provided, a check will come back as “not eligible”.

Once you have completed this tab, and the child’s record is complete, please submit your claim via the Provider Portal. The Autumn Funding Period 2019 will be locked for submissions on Thursday 7 November 2019 and that is the stage when we will instruct the Childcare Places Team do to a check on all of the EYPP claims received via the Provider Portal and to confirm eligibility for Autumn Funding Period 2019.

Please note that any qualifying children from the previous term who are still at your setting, will also be rechecked and their eligibility re-confirmed for Autumn Funding Period 2019. This is explained on pages 16 & 17 of the Early Years Provider Portal User Guide (which can be accessed near the top of this page).

Contact us

Early Years Funding Team
County Hall

Tel. 03000 262 789

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