Delivering 30 hours 'free' childcare

A Pre-School Learning Alliance nursery worker with babyYou can find all the latest documents and policy changes on the 30 hours free entitlement and changes to early years funding on this page which we will keep updated in the run-up to the introduction of the offer in September 2017 and beyond.

30 hours and early years funding changes

April 2017 marked the introduction of the new Early Years National Funding Formula, with new funding rates coming into effect for providers across the country.

That same month the Department for Education published new operational guidance on how the free entitlement offer should be delivered, including details around 30-hours delivery and eligibility.

This operational guidance was updated in July 2017.

Helpful reading

For more guidance download our free Guide to early years funding and delivery changes and Early Years Mythbusting Document.

Some providers have expressed concerns that the requirements being included in their local providers agreements are unreasonable or overly-restrictive. There are limitations on the kinds of requirements councils can include in these agreements. Read more on local provider agreements here.

Policy updates

Click here for the latest funding policy updates including links to the new local authority statutory guidance and the DfE model agreement.

Providers' views on Early Years Funding Formula 

In March 2017 The Pre-school Learning Alliance conducted an online survey of childcare providers between 23 and 30 March 2017 to gather up-to-date information on provider views on both early years funding and the 30-hour offer.

The results paint a worrying picture for the sector, with less than half of providers currently planning to roll out the offer, and a quarter saying that it is "likely" they will close.


Fair Future Funding logoFair Future Funding Campaign 

Do you think that government funding should cover the rising cost of delivering free entitlement places? We think so too.

In April 2017, a new early years funding system was introduced in England which will see a rise in the overall average funding rates that local authorities receive from central government.

However, the government has confirmed that the funding increase has been ‘frontloaded’, meaning that no further increase will be available until the next Parliament. In addition, a quarter of local authorities will see a drop in their funding rates.

With rising business costs — and in particular, the 'national living wage' which is set to increase to £9 per hour in 2020 — we believe that this approach is completely unsustainable, and unfair on early years providers already struggling to stay afloat.

Join thousands of practitioners and sign up as a campaign supporter today! 

And don't forget to follow the campaign on Twitter


Information for parents

If parents ask you for more information about the 30 hours entitlement please direct them to our Information for Parents page or to 30 hours what parents need to know on our Family Corner blog.