Funding Policy – Community Nurseries – England Only

Bright Horizons Family Solutions Limited (BH) offers a wide range of funding options for families.

As of 1st April 2024

Early Years Funding

Early Years Funding is a national scheme, administered by local authorities, which offers funded childcare hours with an Ofsted registered provider. A variety of funded hours are available depending on the child’s age and the family’s situation. Childcare providers can choose how to offer the Early Years Funding as long as the following parameters are met: -

  • Funded childcare cannot be longer than 10 hours in a single day;
  • Funded childcare must be accessed between 6am and 8pm; and
  • Funded childcare is available at a maximum of two childcare sites in a single day.

How BH offers Early Years Funding

BH wants to make sure that families use their funding to its full potential.

Families are able to maximise their funded childcare by using up to 10 hours of funding a day before purchasing additional hours and without any artificial break in the day.

As an all-year-round childcare provider we stretch the early years Funding across 50 weeks instead of limiting it to 38 weeks of term time, enabling families whose child is registered part time to access more of the funded hours than they would otherwise be able to if we used the restricted term time structure. (At some nurseries we may be able to ‘un-stretch’ the funding if preferred. This is dependent on the operational requirements and will be at the discretion of the nursery on a case-by-case basis.)

Stretch effect

  • 15 hours of funded childcare over 38 weeks (term time) equates to 570 funded childcare hours a year. Under BH’s stretched offer this equates to 11.4 hours of funded childcare a week over 50 weeks of the year.
  • 30 hours of funded childcare over 38 weeks (term time) equates to 1,140 funded childcare hours a year. Under BH’s stretched offer this equates to 22.8 hours of funded childcare a week over 50 weeks of the year.

Some nurseries are open for more than 50 weeks. In this instance any additional weeks where Early Years Funding is not accessed, will be charged at the nursery’s usual fee rate (as per the fee sheet).

BH reserves the right to make exceptions to its funding framework on a case-by-case basis at its sole discretion.

Fully funded places (where no additional hours are accessed) are available at our nurseries. Availability and booking patterns vary from nursery to nursery. Fully funded places may be offered on a term time or stretched basis dependant on the operational requirements of the nursery from time to time. If requested, the Nursery Manager will discuss the options available for a fully funded place directly with parents.

Information on all the Early Years Funding eligibility criteria can be found here:

Essentials and Extras

Early Years Funding is intended to cover the delivery of childcare only. It does not cover the cost of meals and snacks, consumables, additional services, or additional hours. To cover costs not included in the Early Years Funding we charge an Essentials and Extras fee for every funded hour booked. The Essentials and Extras charge varies per nursery and is detailed on the nursery’s fee sheet.

BH is mindful of the potential impact of the Essentials and Extras fee on parents and will consider reducing or waiving the Essentials and Extras charge, allowing parents to supply their own consumables or reduce or waive the cost of meals. This will be at the discretion of the nursery on a case-by-case basis. When exercising this discretion, the following circumstances will be taken into consideration: -

  1. Receipt (current or previous) of Support 2-year-old funding
  2. Receipt (current or previous) of EYPP
  3. Receipt (current or previous) of a means tested benefit
  4. Any other extenuating circumstances

BH does not allow families to bring their own food (such as packed lunches) into the nursery to avoid allergen risks and storage/handling issues.

BH will not exclude children who want to participate in group activities.

Types of Early Years Funding

Supported Two-year-old funding

A child will be entitled to 570 funded hours a year from the term after both the child has attained the age of two and the child or parent meets the eligibility criteria.

Where a child is in receipt of Supported Two-year-old funding they will continue to receive their funded place until the point when the child becomes eligible for the Universal Funding, even if the child or parent ceases to meet the eligibility criteria during this time.

The Essentials and Extras fee is not charged when Supported Two-year-old funding is accessed.

Only one type of Two-year-old funding can be claimed at a time.

Universal Three- and- Four-year-old Funding

All three- and four-year-olds are entitled to 570 funded childcare hours a year. Regulation requires us to validate your child’s age. Parents will need to provide evidence of a child’s birth date (normally a passport or birth certificate) and copies will be taken and retained as evidence of compliance.

Working Families Funding

Working Families Funding is for qualifying working parents with a child aged 2, 3 or 4 years old. A child will be entitled to 570 funded hours a year from the term after they have attained the relevant age and the eligibility criteria, set by the government, has been met.

Parents must apply for a positive determination of eligibility from HMRC via Childcare Service Account i.e. a valid eligibility code. This eligibility code must be provided to us before the Early Years Funding can be claimed. The parent is responsible for re-validating the eligibility code every three months when reminded by HMRC. Failure to do so may result in the Working Families Funding being withdrawn.

Parent Declaration Form

Regulation requires childcare providers to enter into a separate funding agreement with parents, called the Parent Declaration Form. BH has a standard Parent Agreement covering all its childcare services and a separate Parent Declaration Form, covering the Early Years Funding, both of which must be signed by parents. 

Some local authorities require parents to enter into an additional Parent Declaration Form as well. Along with the local authority parent declaration form, BH’s Parent Declaration Form must be signed each term. If the Parent Declaration Forms are not signed Early Years Funding cannot be claimed and the full fees (without the Early Years Funding applied) will be charged to you.

Required documentation

Regulation requires childcare providers to obtain documentation to evidence eligibility for the Early Years Funding as per below: 

  • Supported Two- year old Funded Childcare: Child’s birth certificate or passport, confirmation of eligibility (e.g. local authority confirmation letter/email or code);
  • Universal Funded Childcare: Child’s birth certificate or passport; and
  • Working Families Funding: Child’s birth certificate or passport, Parent’s full name, date of birth, eligibility Code issued by HMRC, and national insurance number.

Additional documentation may be needed depending on local authority requirements.

Child absences

Each local authority has its own policy on child absences during Funded Childcare. BH must keep the local authorities informed of child absences and the local authority has the right to recover funding payments made during periods of absences. Parents are responsible for paying BH for any funding payments reclaimed by the local authority due to a child’s absence.

Booking pattern

BH requires parents to confirm their booking pattern before the start of a new term. BH is unable to apply Funded Childcare to any ad-hoc sessions booked outside of the confirmed booking pattern at the beginning of the term.

BH is able to make permanent changes to booking patterns in accordance with the terms of the Parent Agreement.

Local authority role

Each childcare provider enters into an agreement with the local authority to provide the Early Years Funding. The local authority pays the childcare provider directly for the Funded Childcare it provides to the eligible children. The parents of the eligible children do not have access to, or the right to access, the Early Years Funding paid by the local authority.

Other types of funding

Special Educational Needs (SEN) Funding

Every local authority has a SEN inclusion fund to support providers in meeting the needs of individual child with SEN. SEN funding is paid directly to the provider by the local authority. When deciding on the value of SEN funding, the Local authority must consider the number of children with SEN in the local area, their level of need, and the overall capacity of the local childcare market to support these children.

BH will use SEN funding to support your child with any learning and developmental delay or special educational needs or disability by accessing specialist resource and equipment.

Disability Access Funding (DAF)

DAF is available to support 3- and 4-year-olds in receipt of Disability Living Allowance and Universal Funding. Local authorities are responsible for checking that the DAF eligibility criteria are met. It is a one-off annual payment directly to the provider. If the child changes provider during the year, the DAF will remain with the original provider. If a child attends more than one provider, then the parent must allocate the DAF to one provider. This funding cannot be shared across providers.

BH will use any DAF to support making reasonable adjustments/adaptations to enable the child to have equal access to the provision in the same way as any other child or for resource that will be beneficial to the child.

BH will liaise with the child’s parents and engage with any relevant professionals to ensure that DAF is spent appropriately.

Where we have more than one child accessing DAF we may use the money for all children to support an adjustment or purchase resource that will benefit more than one child.

Any resources purchased as part of DAF remain the property of BH and can be used to support future children to access the provision. If a child moves provision, it is BH’s discretion whether to transfer any resource purchased using DAF to the new provider.

DAF will not be used for additional staffing costs.

Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP)

EYPP is additional funding that BH can claim to help improve outcomes of eligible children. The local authority pays the EYPP directly to the provider.

EYPP is available to support 3- and 4-year-olds whose parents meet the eligibility criteria and are in receipt of Universal Funding. Local authorities are responsible for checking that the EYPP eligibility criteria are met.

Eligibility criteria can be found here:

BH will use EYPP funding to support positive impacts on your child’s development.

Deprivation Funding

Deprivation Funding is paid directly to BH by the local authority. Payment is made based on a child’s postcode taking into account: -

  • Deprivation (mandatory)
  • Rurality/Sparsity (discretionary)
  • Flexibility (discretionary)
  • Quality (discretionary)
  • Language (discretionary)

Deprivation Funding is not child specific and can be used to support all children within the setting.

BH will use Deprivation Funding to close the gap in attainment of children in the nursery.