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Joining and leaving the Early Education Funding scheme

How a provider can join and leave the Early Education Funding (EEF) scheme.

We want to encourage the creation of more high quality provision in those areas where the number of places available is limited. We also wish to support a range of different types of early year’s provision in order to offer the maximum choice to parents and their children.

Why join?

The benefits to the provider of joining the scheme include:

  • Parents/children are able to access the free early education entitlement
  • Access to support from the Early Years Advisory Team
  • Support with recruiting staff
  • Support with advertising vacancies to parents through the Family Information service
  • Free or subsidised training
  • Information and advice (through a variety of means such as eNewsletters, forums, conferences and funding)
  • Opportunities to participate in research and development

What do I need to do to join the Early Education Funding scheme?

To offer free nursery places for two year olds or three and four year old, or both, you must follow these steps/ complete the following steps:

  1. Be registered with the Secretary of State, Ofsted or a childminding agency.           
  2. Agree to comply with the Early Education Funding Terms and Conditions (pdf format, 550Kb)
  3. Be aware that the funding is claimed via an online portal; therefore, access to a tablet or private computer is essential.
  4. Be aware of the information on the Free Entitlement
  5. Be aware that you will need to use Egress switch, the secure email solution that the council uses for email communication for personal and sensitive information as part of Data Protection Act. Egress guide (pdf format, 542Kb)

Application forms

If you are happy with all the above then please complete the appropriate application form:

Free entitlement places should not be offered until your application has been approved.

Application deadlines:

  • Autumn term - 7 September*
  • Spring term - 7 January*
  • Summer term - 7 April*

*We will consider a late application if you have an enquiry for a funded two-year-old. Please contact us.

Eligibility to take funded two-year-olds

Providers accepting funded two-year-old children need to be judged good or better in their most recent Ofsted inspection.

Providers with a satisfactory/requires improvement Ofsted inspection outcome, or a new registration, will only be funded to take two-year-olds where there are not enough good or outstanding providers in the area and they positively engage with the Oxfordshire early years Early Years Support Offer, with the aim of achieving a good or better Ofsted at their next inspection outcome.

Withdrawing from the early education funding scheme

The process to follow if you want to leave the scheme.

Should a registered provider wish to withdraw from the scheme and no longer offer funded sessions providers must notify the Early Education Funding Team in writing giving one terms notice of intent to withdraw funded sessions.

It is expected that registered providers also give one terms notice of intent to withdraw from funded sessions to any parents accessing entitlement at that provision, so that parents may have the opportunity to make arrangements to access their funded entitlement at another provision the following term.

Notice of intent to withdraw from the Early Education Funding Team should be sent to email or postal address under contact us.