Providing free childcare for 2, 3 and 4 year olds

Information for childcare providers - find out how to provide Free Entitlement to eligible children.

1 Overview

The Free Entitlement for 2, 3 and 4 year olds funding scheme is open to day nurseries, pre-schools and childminders in West Sussex that meet the scheme criteria. The terms and conditions for providers are outlined in the provider declaration document below. Providers who join the scheme must adhere to these.

The base level of funding that all providers receive for 2 year olds is £5.47 an hour and for 3 and 4 year olds is £4.72 an hour. The funding is not a subsidy towards a provider’s normal fees as the entitlement is for a free place.

You may also be able to claim supplements for some 3 and 4 year old children who are in receipt of the funding at your setting:

2 Before you apply to join the scheme

Before you apply to join the scheme to become a Free Entitlement provider, read the following in full:

The following guidance and tools may also inform your decision about whether to include extended Free Entitlement (30 hours) places as part of your offer to parents:

3 Apply to join the scheme

When to apply

If you are an existing Ofsted registered provider, you must apply to join the scheme by the end of the first half of the term prior to the one in which you wish to begin claiming funding. You may apply to join the scheme earlier if you wish, as your approval remains valid even if you are not claiming for children at your setting.

If you are in the process of registering with Ofsted, you should apply as soon as you are in receipt of your Ofsted proposed registration unique reference number (URN). In the event that your Ofsted registration is delayed past your anticipated opening date, we will work with you to start your Free Entitlement places from an appropriate date.

How to apply

Contact us to register your interest. One of our team will answer any queries you may have and begin the process to apply.

4 How and when to claim

We need to approve your application to join the scheme before you can make your first funding claim. Your first funding claim cannot be earlier than the term after you apply.

Claims are submitted to us electronically using the Online Provider Portal only. You will be given access to the correct functions within the portal at the point of approval. Portal help guides and instructional videos are provided to help you to claim.

You are responsible for submitting your claims on time. Note that the weekly Early Years and Childcare broadcast email from the Early Help Service provides a reminder to make your claim - contact us if your setting is not receiving it.

Read an overview of the claims process below.

5 Additional scheme documents

The following documents are referenced in the provider declaration and are required for your administration of the Free Entitlement scheme:

Last updated:
6 April 2022
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