Free Early Years Provision: Model Agreement

The DfE has published a model agreement outlining the information local authorities should include in their agreements with early years providers.

The model agreement is for:

  • local authorities
  • early years providers, including:
    • early years providers and childminders registered on the Ofsted early years register
    • childminders registered with a childminder agency that is registered with Ofsted
    • independent schools and academies taking children age 2 and over and which are exempt from registration with Ofsted as an early years provider

Local Authority Childcare Sufficiency Assessment

Blackpool case study
Bristol case study
Merton case study

15 hours childcare

High quality early education sits alongside health as an important determinant of children’s life chances. All 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to 15 hours of free early education per week.

A growing number of disadvantaged 2 year olds are now accessing free early education.

A diverse range of providers deliver early education: childminders, nurseries, pre-schools and reception classes in the maintained, voluntary, private and independent sectors. Whilst each provider has their own unique systems and structures for doing this, all adhere to the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework unless exempted from the learning and development aspects by government.

Quality wheel

Research shows high-quality early learning and care is important because children who attend higher quality preschool provision tend to do better throughout primary school, particularly in reading. Evaluation of the two-year-old free entitlement to childcare backs this up. It showed that those children who had attended a high-quality setting had a significant improvement to their vocabulary.

The quality wheel demonstrates what good practice looks like and sets questions to keep on improving your early years setting.

30 hours childcare

In June 2015, the government introduced the Childcare Bill to bring in 30 hours of free childcare for employed families of 3 and 4 year olds.

Operational Guidance

The DfE has published Operational Guidance on how local authorities (LAs) and early years settings should provide the early years entitlement.

The guide sets out:

  • what LAs should do to fulfil their statutory responsibilities
  • what early years settings should do to fulfil their agreement with the LA
  • how LAs and early years settings can support parents and children

Business Sustainability

DfE have launched a package of online support materials to help providers make sure their businesses remain sustainable, including:

  • a document of key insights from successful providers;
  • case studies of efficient business practices;
  • guidance on marketing, managing finances and business planning;
  • an online directory of organisations that can provide business and finance support.

Partnership Working

If you’re considering working in partnership to deliver 30 hours childcare, the Department for Education and Coram Family and Childcare developed a toolkit to support partnership approaches. The interactive toolkit contains practical advice, guidance and case studies.

Working in partnership to meet childcare needs
This toolkit is designed as a step by step guide for schools and childcare providers (including childminders) to establish partnerships to meet the childcare needs of their community. It focuses on school aged children between the ages of 4 – 12 years.

Please be aware of GDPR rules around data collection and information sharing when using any of the documentation from the toolkits.

Working together to meet the 30 hours entitlement
This toolkit has been developed to provide all early years providers with support and guidance as to how meet the needs of parents and children in the provision of high quality and flexible childcare and early education, especially to meet the extended 30 hours entitlement, through partnership working.

Making the 30 hour offer work for disabled children and children with SEN

Childcare Works held a series of LED events in 2017 for practitioners. The aim of the events was to:

  • Improve knowledge of what high quality SEND provision looks like
  • Support settings to know where to go for help
  • Signposting to resources to support sector

The presentations from these events are available here.

Early rollout evaluation

The DfE published the findings from an independent evaluation of the early rollout of 30 hours free childcare, ahead of national rollout in September 2017. The report provides the main findings from the evaluation and recommendations to support the 30 hours free childcare policy.

The evaluation aimed to:

  • test sufficiency and take-up
  • provide useful lessons to help facilitate national rollout of the policy
  • provide early indications of impacts on childcare use and parental work

Early Implementation Evaluation

The DfE published an evaluation of 8 trials of the 30 hours early education entitlement and the early innovators programme. The research looks at:

  • if there were enough available places
  • the use of the entitlement by parents
  • effects on childcare use and parental work

A slide pack to go with the evaluation can be found here.

Early Implementers

DfE spoke to parents in Wigan who have taken up a 30 hours place for their child as part of the early implementer programme, to find what the additional hours have meant for them.

Watch the video here.