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Will I have to pay anything?

Funding for your child’s free place covers the cost of the free hours and the basic consumables required for the provision of the early years foundation stage curriculum.

Funding for your child’s free place does not cover the cost of meals, other consumables, extra hours or extra services. Where childcare providers charge for consumables, extra services and extra hours these charges must be optional.

Your childcare provider should supply you with information about extra charges before you sign a contract with them. Invoices should make it clear what extra charges you have paid and what free hours you have accessed.

If your child only attends a childcare provider for their free hours each week:

  • your childcare provider should not charge you an administration or registration fee, but can charge a refundable deposit, but must refund the deposit in full to parents within 6 weeks of the child’s start date
  • if a parent fails to take up their place the provider is not obliged to refund the deposit (deposits must not be charged for funded 2 year old places)
  • uniforms may not be compulsory
  • parents should not be required or expected to take up extra services in order to access a free place
  • parents can choose to opt in for extra services but these must be optional and charges must be agreed in advance and be clear and transparent
  • childcare providers must not charge parents in advance for free hours and refund them when they have claimed the grant funding from the local authority

If your child attends a childcare provider for longer than the free hours each week:

  • you will have to pay the setting for any extra hours or services you take up in addition to the free entitlement
  • the rates which childcare providers charge for the extra hours are a matter for them to decide and the Local Authority has no right to intervene
  • parents should be able to clearly see that they have received their child’s full 15 hour entitlement completely free
  • your childcare provider should clearly outline any extra charges before your child starts

The free entitlement to early education has no monetary value to parents. It is a free, part-time place.

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