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You are here:home > Learning > Early years and childcare provision > Nursery and pre-school provider funding

Nursery and pre-school provider funding

These pages give information for pre-schools and nurseries who are classified as private or voluntary and who claim nursery education funding from Southampton City Council. They are also relevant to childminders who are claiming funding. Parents may be interested in our information about free nursery and pre-school places instead.

We currently fund pre-school education for three year old and four year old children at the minimum rate of £3.65 per hour.

For more information please see our frequently asked questions.

Code of practice
The link at the bottom of the page takes you to the Department for Education website where the "Code of practice for local authorities" may be downloaded.

Forms for nursery education providers:

Timetable for headcount forms 2014-15
This page gives details of when headcount forms are to be returned and when payments are made.

All other forms can be downloaded using the links below.

Nursery education funding frequently asked questions

1. When are funding forms sent out?

Forms for the first termly payment (estimate) are sent within two weeks after the previous half term.

Forms for the second termly payment (headcount) are sent in the first two weeks of the new term.

2. Which children should I include on the funding forms?

For the estimate payment you should include all eligible children who think will be with you during the term, together with details of numbers of weeks/term and numbers of hours/week. As this is only an "estimate", any errors should be picked up on the forms for the headcount payment.

On the headcount form you should include any child who is absent due to short-term illness or holiday during that week, who is genuinely expected to take up his/her place during the term.

3. What do I do if information I have previously provided turns out to be wrong?

If you sent in the information by means of an estimate form, you need do nothing, provided the information is corrected on the next headcount form.

If you send us information on the headcount form which turns out to be wrong (because a child does not turn up, or changes the numbers of hours per week, or the numbers of weeks attended in a term) you need to inform us as soon as possible, and no later than the time of returning the next estimate form.

If you take on extra children during the term we will try to get payment for this child to you in the next payment, provided you inform us soon enough, and provided the child attends for a minimum of two weeks.

4. What do I do if a child leaves in the middle of a term?

If this was planned and you have already informed us of the dates, or if the child stays with you until the last two weeks of term, you do not need to do anything.

Otherwise you need to tell us as soon as possible, and no later than the time of returning the next estimate form so that we adjust your next payment to claim back the excess funding.

5. What do I do if a child joins in the middle of a term?

Provided the child will be with you for at least two weeks in that term, please complete and return a copy of a Parental Declaration Form with a short note indicating the start date and the number of weeks claimed.

New claims must start from the first full week that the child is able to attend all of their funded hours.

6. What if a child attends another setting or school?

The parent should should inform you of this via the Parental Declaration Form. You need to pass this information to us either by sending in a copy of the Parental Declaration Form, or by contacting us on the details at the end of this page.

Children can receive funding at up to two settings, up to a maximum of 15 funded hours per week, across a minimum of two days. Parents cannot access funded provision for stand-alone blocks of less than 2.5 hours, or for more than 10 hours in one day. If a child attends more than 15 hours per week it is the parent's/guardian's decision as to where they wish to claim their funded hours.

7. What if a child does not appear on the pre-populated declaration form?

Please get the parents to complete a Parental Declaration Form for the child, send us a copy, and include the child on the new child list.

8. Do I have to follow the due dates?

Yes as these dates are very important, especially for headcount claims.

We realise that you have several forms to check and parent/guardians to chase. As you can appreciate we have to enter a huge volume of data and have to carry out several different checks before we can process claims and raise payments.

If we are waiting for even one provider's paperwork we have to run additional checks, the outcome of the final check may result in increased calls to providers.

9. What responsibilities do I have concerning these forms?

It is your responsibility to make sure that all the information on the declaration claim form matches the information given by parents on the Parental Declaration form (e.g. addresses, postcodes, dates of birth, number of hours).

Providers must ensure that children claim only for the number of hours they are genuinely going to attend in any given week.

Where there are long periods of unexplained absence or, at the time of audit a child is found to be claiming more hours than they are attending, we will claim back any excess funding from your setting.

It is your responsibility as a provider to monitor children’s attendance and record in an appropriate register. If a child has regular periods of unexplained absence you must contact their parents/guardians and make them aware that funding will be removed/reduced if there is not a valid reason for absence.

10. What other advice do you have?

  • Please photocopy all forms for your records before sending them to us as sometimes forms get lost in the post.

  • Remember to use the correct amount of postage stamps when sending in batches of declaration list/forms. Ensure that the postage paid is correct, and if using A4 envelopes, a large letter stamp must be used.  If in any doubt, please have the weight checked by the post office.  Post can go missing for weeks if the postage is incorrect.

  • Please inform us in writing immediately of any changes to the contact name, correspondence address, bank account details etc.
  • Please inform us immediately if you alter the number of weeks you are opening in a term.
  • We are unable to backdate any claims from the previous financial year.
  • Please ensure that a privacy notice is provided to all children in receipt of nursery education funding.

Downloadable documents

Contact information