Today the Department for Education has announced its approach for early years funding to local authorities in England in 2021 and has issued new guidance to reflect this:
The DfE said:
"We are temporarily varying our approach to funding Early Years over the next financial year to give local authorities and providers more protection over their funding income. As we announced on 17 December, we will provide additional funding over the Spring term for those councils who can show they have seen rising demand for the free childcare entitlements. This top-up funding will be capped at 85% of January 2020 census levels. Local authorities who saw attendance levels already above this cap at census week will be paid for that recorded attendance in full.
"In the Summer and Autumn terms 2021 we will ask local authorities to provide us with attendance data – which they already collect for local funding purposes. We will fund each council based on attendance data for each respective term. This will ensure that our funding to councils aligns with attendance as children return to their settings or take up their free entitlements for the first time, as lockdown restrictions are eased. And should provide reassurance for Early Years providers that funding to authorities for the entitlements will be in line with the most up to date data."
Nurseries and childminders who deliver the early education entitlements for 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds will be paid by their local authority in the usual way for the hours they deliver. It is as important as ever to make sure that data on children attending and numbers of hours is passed to the local authority at the times it is requested, to ensure that the right funding can flow to the right places.