Bright Horizons Parent Policy for Universal (15 Hours) and Extended (30 Hours) Funding Programme

Bright Horizons’ Funded Childcare Policy for

Early Education Funding for 2 Year Old Funded Childcare,

Universal Funded Childcare and Extended Funded Childcare

Pilot Programme – UK 2019


  • Universal Funded Childcare and 2 Year Old Funded Childcare

Three and four-year-olds (and two-year-olds meeting the eligibility criteria below) are entitled to up to 570 hours of Funded Childcare from the term beginning on or following the date set out below:

  • Children born in the period 1st January to 31st March: 1st April following the child’s third birthday, or second birthday, as applicable;
  • Children born in the period 1st April to 31st August: 1st September following the child’s third birthday, or second birthday, as applicable; and
  • Children born in the period 1st September to 31st December: 1st January following the child’s third birthday, or second birthday, as applicable.

Two-year-olds are eligible for Universal Funded Childcare:

  • If the parent(s) claim one of the following benefits:
    • Income Support;
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA);
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA);
    • Universal Credit and an annual net earned income equivalent to and not exceeding £15,400, assessed on up to three of the parent’s most recent Universal Credit assessment periods;
    • Tax credits and they have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax;
    • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit;
    • Support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act; and
    • The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit);
  • The child has a statement of special educational needs made under section 324 of the Education Act 1996;
  • The child has an Education, Health and Care plan prepared under section 37 of the Children and Families Act 2014;
  • The child is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance under section 71 of the Social Security and Contributions and Benefits Act 1992;
  • The child is looked after by a local authority (under section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989) or by a local authority in Wales within the meaning given by section 74(1) of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014; and
  • The child is no longer looked after by a local authority as a result of an adoption order, a special guardianship order or a child arrangement order (within the meaning of section 8(1) of the Children Act 1989 or section 74(1) of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014) which relates to either or both of (a) with whom the child is to live and (b) when the child is to live with any person.
  • Extended Funded Childcare

Some three and four year olds are entitled to up to 1,140 hours per year of Funded Childcare who are under compulsory school age and the children’s parent(s) meet the eligibility criteria below:

  • Seeking the Funded Childcare to enable them to work;
  • Be in qualifying paid work;
  • 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’ (i.e. they are newly self-employed) they do not need to demonstrate that they meet the income criteria for 12 months in order to qualify for the extended entitlement; and
  • If either or both parents’ income exceeds £100,000 they will not be eligible for the extended entitlement.

In addition, three and four year olds in foster care are entitled to Extended Funded Childcare who are under compulsory school age and meet the criteria below:

  • Extended hours are consistent with the child’s care plan, placing the child at the centre of the process and decision making; and
  • In single foster families, the foster parent holds additional paid employment outside of their role as a foster carer or in two foster parent families, both partners hold additional paid employment outside of their role as a foster carer.

The relevant start dates in relation to age criterion are the same as for Universal Funded Childcare.

Where parents no longer meet the eligibility criteria for Extended Funded Childcare, there is a limited period of time in which local authorities will continue to fund a place for the child.  This period of time is known as the “grace period”.  Once the grace period ends, the child will no longer receive the Extended Funded Childcare.  Grace periods are set by the Government and may vary across local authorities.  A child may not start a new Extended Funded Childcare place at a childcare provider during a grace period.  The child will still be eligible to receive Universal Funded Childcare.


Entitlement to Funded Childcare does not guarantee a place at any one childcare provider or a particular pattern of provision.  Childcare providers can choose how to offer Funded Childcare in their settings, as long as the following parameters are met:

  • Universal Funded Childcare covers up to 570 hours per year and Extended Funded Childcare covers up to 570 (1140 in total) hours per year over 38-52 week period;
  •  Funded Childcare cannot be longer than 10 hours in a single day;
  • No Funded Childcare before 6:00am or after 8:00pm; and
  • Funded Childcare is available at a maximum of two childcare sites in a single day.


Funding is intended to cover the delivery of childcare only.  It does not cover the cost of meals (including food and preparation), consumables, outings, and extra activities.  To cover costs not included during the Funded Childcare, childcare providers can charge a voluntary fee for these costs during the Funded Childcare.  Childcare providers are responsible for setting their own policy on their charges.


Bright Horizons is a year round childcare provider on a sessional basis (morning, afternoon or full day sessions).  We do not offer childcare on an hourly basis.  When considering our Universal and Extended Funded Childcare offer, Bright Horizons based its model on a framework that allows our parents to receive the greatest benefit. 

Bright Horizons offers Funded Childcare under the following model:

  • Childcare is available on a sessional basis only (morning, afternoon or full day sessions).
  • Funded Childcare hours are applied over 50 weeks of the year, which equates to 11.4 hours (Universal Funded Childcare) or 22.8 hours (Extended Funded Childcare) a week and 570 hours (Universal Funded Childcare) and 1,140 hours (Extended Funded Childcare) a year.  Please note that if your nursery is open 51 or 52 weeks a year, then there will be a one or two week period (as applicable) in which there is no Funded Childcare available and full fees will be charged as per the Fee Sheet.
  • Funded Childcare hours are available up to a maximum of 10 hours a day.
  • We charge a voluntary Extras and Food Supplement, as indicated on the Parent Fee Sheet, which covers costs not paid for by the Funding.   The Extras and Food Supplement  is charged on the following basis:
  • Extras and Food Supplement charge for the AM session that covers breakfast, hot lunch, snacks, consumables, outings and extra activities.
  • Extras and Food Supplement charge for the PM session covers tea, snacks, consumables, outings and extra activities.
  • Extras and Food Supplement charge for full day session covers all of the above items.
  • If parents refuse or are unable to the pay the Extras and Food Supplement charge, then they will need to speak with the Nursery Manager to discuss further.  There is both an operational and financial impact on Bright Horizons when an Extras and Food Supplement charge is not paid.  In order to ensure that the care for all children is not disrupted and the nursery remains financially viable to operate, Bright Horizons can only offer a limited number of Funded Childcare places in which parents do not pay the Extras and Food Supplement charge.  The decision on the number of spaces or reduced hours 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:

a)       Receipt (current or previous) of 2 year old Funded Childcare

b)      Receipt (current or previous) of EYPP

c)       Receipt (current or previous) of means tested benefit

d)      Any other extenuating circumstances

  • The following conditions will also apply in such circumstances:
    • Bright Horizons does not allow families to bring their own food such as packed lunches to the nursery to avoid allergen risks and storage/handling issues.  In addition, it is Bright Horizons practice to serve meals family style so that the children eat together and build social skills.  
  • Parents may be asked by the nursery to provide for use during Funded Childcare hours (as applicable),  wipes, nappy  cream, sun screen cream, Calpol and other consumables that are not covered by Funded Childcare.
  • It is Bright Horizons practice for all children to take part in group activities.  We will not exclude children who want to participate as it may be detrimental to their wellbeing. 
  • Parents are responsible for paying all childcare services outside of Funded Childcare as per the Parent Fee Sheet.
  • Bright Horizons reserves the right to make exceptions to its Funding framework on a case by case basis at its sole discretion.


Funding regulations require childcare providers to enter into a separate funding agreement with parents, called the Parent Funding Declaration.  Bright Horizons has a standard Parent Agreement covering all its childcare services and a separate Parent Declaration Form, covering the Funded Childcare, both of which must be signed by parents.  Some local authorities require parents to enter into an additional funding agreement as well. Along with the local authority funding agreement our Parent Declaration Form must be signed each term. If the Parent Declaration form is not signed Funded Childcare will not be claimed on your behalf and the full fees (without the Funded Childcare applied) will be charged to you.


In addition, funding regulations require childcare providers to obtain documentation to evidence eligibility for the funding as per below: 

  • 2 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
  • Extended Funded Childcare:  Child’s birth certificate or passport, Parent’s full name, date of birth, eligibility Code issued by HMRC, and national insurance number.


Each local authority has their own policy on child absences during Funded Childcare.  We 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 Bright Horizons for any reclaimed funding payments by the local authority due to a child’s absence.


We require parents to confirm their booking pattern before the start of a new term. Due to administrative system constraints, we are unable to apply Funded Childcare to any ad-hoc sessions booked outside of the confirmed booking pattern at the beginning of the term.   We are able to make permanent changes to booking patterns in accordance with the terms of the Parent Agreement.


Each childcare provider enters into an agreement with the local authority to provide the Funded Childcare.  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 or the right to access the Funding paid by the local authority.   The contract between the local authority and the childcare provider governs the Early Education Funding payments.