Early Years

Free Early Education Entitlement For All Three & Four Year olds Information for Parents and Carers, whose children are attending a registered provider in Bristol September 2013. Please note funding is now available for some 2 year olds (Bristol City Council Early Education and Childcare link)

Why do we provide Early Education to 3 and 4 year olds?

Children’s experiences in the earliest years lay the foundations for the rest of their lives. Every child deserves the best start in life, which is why the government is committed to enabling all 3 and 4 year olds to access their entitlement to free early years education. It is important that parents feel confident about the quality of the early years settings they choose. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a statutory framework that sets the standards for keeping young children happy, safe and secure when they are attending a setting outside their family home. It provides guidance for supporting children’s early learning and development, through play that builds on their individual needs and interests. All settings offering free nursery education will be inspected by Ofsted to ensure that these standards are met.

What is the Free Early Education Entitlement?

The Government is providing funding for all 3 and 4 year olds to attend a registered early years setting for a maximum of 15 hours a week during the school terms or a minimum of 12 hours all year round. Individual settings will be able to offer you different choices.

Registered settings and providers include:

• pre-school playgroup

• private day nursery

• childminder (if they belong to a registered childminder network)

• maintained nursery school

• nursery class in a primary or independent school

• Children’s Centres The Free Entitlement will be offered up to a maximum of 15 hours a week spread over at least 3 days and a maximum of 6 hours per day, for at least 38 weeks a year.

What providers can I use?

If your child does not attend any childcare setting at the moment, Bristol has a range of providers to choose from. A list of these providers together with details of the provision they offer, can be obtained from:
Family Information Service.
Phone: 0845 129 7217,
Email: askcyps@bristol.gov.uk

How can I access the Free Entitlement?

Each term you will need to complete and sign a Parental Agreement, available from your childcare provider. The provider will then be able to receive money directly from us, the local authority, for your child’s free place. You will not need a voucher or certificate. The parental agreement will be legally binding and you will not be able to transfer to another provider during the term without the agreed consent from the current childcare provider.

Can I mix sessions between providers?

Yes, you can choose to take up the free entitlement with up to two providers, regardless of whether they are in the maintained, private, voluntary or independent sector. So, for example, you could have five hours with one provider in the voluntary sector (i.e. playgroup) and ten hours with a private provider (i.e. private day nursery).

Additional charges and Top Ups

Your free entitlement place should not be offered on the grounds that you have to pay for any additional service or hours. Some settings will ask for a registration fee to secure your child’s place at their provision and will ask for you to sign a Parental Contract. Registration fees can only be charged if you are paying for additional hours above the free entitlement or have children who are younger accessing the setting.

Special Educational Needs

The provider has a responsibility to provide support for children who are accessing their setting with identified Special Educational Needs (SEN). Children with SEN will be offered full access to the Early Years Foundation Stage and a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum planned around their individual developmental needs.

Can I be assured of the quality of the provider I choose?

All providers must be registered by Ofsted on the Early Years Register. The integrated inspection report focuses on the quality of the childcare and education. A providers Ofsted report is available for the public to view on the internet (www.ofsted.gov.uk) or you can view our report here Ofsted report July 2013 Some providers may also have achieved a quality assurance award or may be working towards an award, such as the Bristol Standard.

The Family Information Service

The Family Information Service helpline can be contacted for free impartial information about early years and childcare services, family support services, leisure activities and parenting information.
Phone: 0117 357 4192
Email: askcyps@bristol.gov.uk
Or use 1BigDatabase – the online directory providing information on all services available for families, children and young people aged 0 – 19 in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset. www.1bigdatabase.org.uk