Free Early Learning & Extended Free Entitlement

Free Early Learning

FEL for 2,3 & 4 year olds is the universal entitlement of up to 570 hours of free nursery education per Funding Year that all 3 and 4 year old children and those 2 year olds that meet the criteria are eligible to receive.

Extended Free Entitlement

EFE for 3 & 4 year olds, this gives up to an additional 570 hours per Funding Year of free nursery education and is based on definite eligibility criteria.  Parents need to confirm their eligibility directly with HMRC, they will then be issued with a unique reference number, and this is then given to the provider who can only deliver all or part of the EFE place once eligibility is confirmed with the Local Authority.

A ‘yes’ decision from HMRC will only be valid for 3 months, after the 3 months parents will be prompted to reconfirm eligibility with HMRC.  If they fail to do so, or if they re-apply and are no longer eligible they will go into the ‘Grace Period’.

The Grace Period for EFE – this is designed to allow parents time to adjust if they lose their entitlement to EFE and also serves as a notice period to the provider.

A child will enter the grace period when their parent(s) cease to meet the eligibility criteria as determined by HMRC or a First Tier Tribunal in case of an appeal against HMRC’s decision.
Grace periods are set out below.

Date Parent receives ineligible decision on reconfirmation:

Local Authority audit date:

Grace Period End date (child funded until):

1 January – 10 February

11 February

31 March

11 February – 31 March

1 April

31 August

1 April – 26 May

27 May

31 August

27 May – 31 August

1 September

31 December

1 September – 21 October

22 October

31 December

22 October – 31 December

1 January

31 March


Parents must apply to HMRC for their EFE entitlement before the start of a term, it cannot be claimed midway through a term to start immediately, and if the claim was validated then the funding would start from the term after.

Method of delivery
Nursery will be offering 2 main methods of delivery of the funding.
Standard 38 week option, if a child is sharing their funding between 2 or more providers their entitlement will be allocated over the standard 38 weeks per Funding Year to either their maximum hours of attendance or the amount they have claimed (up to their hours of attendance).

Stretched – 47.5 week option, if a child is only wanting to claim their FEL & EFE entitlement at our setting and not sharing with another provider then we can stretch the entitlement to be taken over 47.5 weeks per Funding Year with a maximum of 24 hours claimed per week for those eligible for extended entitlement or 12 hours per week for universal hours.(or attended hours if less)

Sessional hours – Term time only
Nursery is offering FEL / EFE hours for session times, term time only.  The session times will be:
8.45am – 11.45am and 1.00pm – 4.00pm
We are offering  wrap-around lunchtime care for those wanting to attend both sessions in one day at an additional charge.

Age of eligibility
A child is entitled to receive the free entitlement no later than the beginning of the funding term following their 3rd birthday.

Date of Birthday

Place Starts

Between 1 April and 31 August

September (Autumn Funding)

Between 1 September and 31 December

January (Spring Term)

Between 1 January and 31 March

April (Summer Term)

Hours of Delivery

  • No more than 15 hours to be claimed per week (30 if eligible for EFE)
  • No session longer than 10 hours
  • No minimum session length
  • Not before 6.00am or after 8.00pm
  • No more than two sites in a single day.
  • Between 38 and 52 weeks per year including weekends

Holidays / Attendance
Funding will be paid for holidays taken during FEL funded weeks, for up to four weeks in a Funding Year.  This arrangement must be recorded in the parental agreement form and the Local Authority will not fund for any additional weeks.   Parents who exceed this limit must either give up their place or come to an arrangement with nursery to pay for the weeks claimed for but not attended.

Children need to attend nursery for the full amount of hours they claim on their agreement form, attending less than the amount of hours claimed could result in the funding claim being reduced and parents incurring the cost of the hours.

Once a parent has completed and signed the Parent / Carer Agreement Form with the relevant details for their claim if any information provided is incorrect, leading to the claim being withdrawn then the parent will be liable to any costs incurred.

If you have any questions please speak to a member of the management team.
RHH Deputy Office contact number 0114 2268847
NGH Deputy Office contact number 0114 2266066

HMRC helpline telephone number 0300 1234097