Early Years Free Entitlement (EYFE)

Schools and early years providers like ourselves must follow a structure of learning, development and care for children from birth to five years old. This is called the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and it enables your child to learn through a range of structured activities. Ultimately, the EYFS will prepare your child for school.

All three and four year olds and eligible two year olds are entitled to free part-time early years learning until the school term in which they have their fifth birthday. If your child attends a reception class in a local authority school, this counts as their free entitlement. Children of the eligible age are guaranteed a free early years place (15 hours offer) or (30 hours offer – subject to eligibility), but not the right to a free place with a particular early years provider.

Date of your child’s third birthday

Funding period in which your child can access EYFE

1st April – 31st August Autumn (1st September)
1st September – 31st December Spring (1st January)
1st January – 31st March Summer (1st April)


What is the Early Years Funding Scheme

All 3 and 4 year olds and some eligible 2 year olds are, from the term after their second (if eligible) or third (universal) birthdays, entitled to free early years provision up to 15 hours a week for 38 weeks per year (term-time) or stretched to 570 hours if your child attends year round. Here at the The Wishing Tree we provide all year round funding.

Some  3 and 4 year olds whose parents are working are entitled to an additional 15 hours per week, i.e. 30 hours term-time or 1140 stretched across the year, this is called the ‘Extended’ or ’30 hours’ Entitlement and became statutory under the Childcare Act 2016.

How much Free Early Learning can my Child Receive?

Here at The Wishing Tree we can provide EYFE funding as a stretched offer over the year as follows:

Universal entitlement (3&4 year olds) – not means tested (maximum 11.4 funded hours per week for 50 weeks per year = 570 hours)

Subject to eligibility (3&4 year olds, the 30 hours offer) – a further 11.4 hours per week making a maximum of 22.8 funded hours per week for 50 weeks per year = 1140 hours)

Please note an eligibility code is required for the additional hours which must be applied for termly in advance prior to the start of term.


Wishing Tree Nursery Terms Admissions Policy for EYFE

The nursery can offer places to parents / carers seeking either just the free entitlement hours (stand-alone provision) or those wishing to book additional paid hours (combined hours). The nursery can also accommodate parents wishing to provide their own extras such as food, drink and toiletries. We do not charge top up fees for the free hours, however, we do charge for extras such as food, drink, outings, toiletries and extra classes.

The nursery’s admission policy is geared towards prioritising bookings that (1) comprise EYFE combined with additional hours (2) require the nursery to provide extras such as food and drink (3) require the EYFE to be provided solely by the nursery and not split with another provider. Regardless of the booking request, all places are offered on the basis of availability.

Stand-alone provision – a child who only accesses the free entitlement with no additional hours booked

Wherever possible we will try to accommodate the full entitlement of 11.4/22.8 hours per week or 570/1140 hours per year. If our availability does not permit this, then we will offer a place to the maximum we have at the time of booking.

New children joining the nursery who are immediately eligible for the free entitlement will pay no deposit provided they only access the EYFE. Children requiring additional hours will pay a deposit in accordance with the nursery’s normal terms and conditions.

Please note that EYFE funding does not include any extras so if you wish the nursery to provide our “all-inclusive offer” such as meals, drinks and toiletries then there will be an additional charge. Please call 01273 551515 for more information.

If you do not wish the nursery to provide these extras then we will advise you on what to bring in terms of meals and toiletries. We have refrigerated storage for any items that need to be chilled.

Combined provision – a child who accesses the free entitlement plus additional hours booked

Where the number of hours booked exceeds the free entitlement and assuming parents wish to take our all-inclusive offer, we will provide you with up to 47.5/95 hours of free entitlement per month, which will be arranged in accordance with the overall booking requirement. So if your booking equates to 125 hours per month, and assuming you are eligible for the extended EYFE, 95 hours per month will be at no charge.

The nursery charges £25 per session as a deposit for additional hours, to be held whilst your child attends the nursery. This is refunded in the final month of your child’s time at nursery.

General Terms for Standalone or Combined EYFE Bookings

There is a 4 week notice period for termination of the booking or any changes to the booking where fees comprise EYFE hours only or EYFE hours with additional non funded hours.

Billing is provided monthly and will only show extras or additional hours if you are booking standalone hours. For combined hours, invoices will show EYFE extras such as food and drink as well as non EYFE hours. Invoices will also show the amount of free hours provided in any given month.

Whilst the free entitlement is structured for 38 weeks of the year, 15 hours per week, the nursery cannot accept a booking if it is required for term time only. Our booking period is for 50 weeks of the year (we are closed bank holidays and between Christmas and New Year).

Existing children in the nursery who become eligible for the free entitlement are subject to the same EYFE admission criteria as new children joining the nursery.

Existing children in the nursery who become eligible for the free entitlement, and who paid an initial deposit on joining the nursery, will have the deposit refunded within 2 months of the commencement of the entitlement. This only applies to children accessing EYFE hours with no additional charged hours.

How the Funding Works 

We claim your EYFE hours from Brighton and Hove Council on your behalf and these funded hours are shown on your monthly bill in advance. Following your child’s 3rd birthday we will send you an EYFE form which provides details about your child and what EYFE hours you are claiming. This also provides details of any other setting that your child may be attending.

We allocate your EYFE hours to your account on a monthly basis in the same way we calculate your monthly fees for non funded hours i.e. we take the amount of EYFE hours being provided over the year and divide by 12. This amount is then deducted from your bill transparently so you only see the fee for additional hours, extras, food and drink etc. The idea behind this is that for ease of administration and payment, your monthly invoice is a constant figure. Any over or under charging can be smoothed out during the year. 


How do I Claim the Free Hours?

When your child becomes eligible for the EYFE hours we will give you a simple form to complete called a ‘parents/carers EYFE declaration form.

You will be required to sign this as a declaration of your claim when your child is first eligible for EYFE hours. Thereafter you just need to notify us if there are any changes to eligibility.

You will be asked to confirm the number of hours you are claiming at our nursery and state how many hours (if any) you are claiming from another early years provider.

If your child joins later in the funding period, a late application can be made. If you move your child mid-term the funding will be redistributed between the old and new early years providers.  In both cases, a change of attendance form will be completed by us.




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