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Free early education entitlement for two-year-olds

From September 2014 the law changed to allow more two-year-olds to benefit from free childcare. If your setting has an Ofsted rating of Outstanding or Good then you can claim funding for eligible two-year-olds. You will not be able to claim for eligible children if your Ofsted rating is lower than Good.  

Whereby the free early education entitlement (FEEE) for three to four-year-olds is a universal free provision for every child, only children that are eligible under certain criteria are able to access the FEEE for two-year-olds. 

Page 5 of our Free Entitlement Provider Handbook outlines the criteria for eligibility.

Essex County Council and the Department for Education stipulate that to offer the free entitlement, all providers (including childminders registered with a childminder agency) must:

  • Be registered with Ofsted
  • Have an Ofsted judgement of Good or Outstanding
  • Have a current bank account that they use for their business
  • Have a funding contract with Essex County Council
  • Have access to the internet and an email account
  • Meet the independent school standard in relation to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils
  • Actively promote fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
  • Not promote as fact views or theories which are contrary to established scientific or historical evidence and explanations.

* Childminders are not permitted to claim FEEE funding for providing early education and childcare to children that are members of their own family, for example if they are the child's parent, grandparent, brother or sister, aunt or uncle.


Details of when to submit headcount data to us can be found in the headcount data collection dates table (revised October 2019) - PDF,126KB.

April 2020 to March 2021

You can only claim FEEE for the number of weeks specified between the school term dates. These make up the 38 funded weeks in the 2020 / 21 financial year.

Term Inclusive term dates Duration of FEEE Equivalent in hours
Summer 2020 20 April 2020 to 22 July 2020 13 weeks 13 weeks x 15 hours = 195 hours
Autumn 2020 2 September 2020 to 18 December 2020 14 weeks 14 weeks x 15 hours = 210 hours
Spring 2021 4 January 2021 to 26 March 2021 11 weeks 11 weeks x 15 hours = 165 hours

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