Joining and leaving the Early Education Funding scheme | Oxfordshire County Council

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?

There is one application form for all types of early years setting, including academies and childminders. Use this form to join if you want to offer free nursery places for 2 year olds, or 3 and 4 year olds - or both.

You will need to have an Ofsted registration, or (for independent schools) be registered with the Department for Education.

You will need to agree to comply with the Early Education Funding Terms and Conditions (pdf format, 415Kb)

If you would like to complete an electronic application form please complete the application form (docx format, 63Kb) and send it in before the relevant deadline as detailed below to

Please find below some guidance to help you complete your application. This includes a form that you can print if you prefer, and then send to our address which is shown on the form.

Guidance pack and printable application form (docx format, 130Kb)

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 or to the address under Contact us.

Last reviewed
11 December 2017
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