Childcare practitioners

Funded early education can be delivered by eligible providers included in Blackburn with Darwen’s directory of early education providers. This includes Ofsted registered private day nurseries, pre-school playgroups, childminders, independent schools and maintained schools and academies with nurseries.

Eligible providers

Childcare providers are able to apply for inclusion onto the directory if they meet the conditions set out in the Department for Education Early Education and Childcare Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities.

Eligibility is based upon a provider’s Ofsted judgement grade, as follows:

  • All providers judged by Ofsted to be requires improvement, good or outstanding can apply for inclusion on the directory to receive funding to deliver early education for 3 and 4 year olds.
  • Providers judged by Ofsted to be good or outstanding can also apply to receive funding to deliver early education for two year olds.
  • Providers judged inadequate by Ofsted are not eligible to apply to go on the directory.
  • Newly registered providers are eligible to apply to go on the funding directory before their first Ofsted inspection. However, the outcome of the provider’s Ofsted inspection will determine whether the provider is eligible to remain on the directory and the level of early education they can provide.

Sign up to offer funded early education places

If you have decided you want to offer funded early education places, your first step is to email, stating you wish to become a funded early education provider.

Please include your setting name, address, postcode and your Ofsted Unique reference number in the email.

We will undertake initial checks to ensure you are eligible to become an funded early education provider. If you are eligible we will then advise you of the next steps.

The funding agreement

You must have a signed funding agreement for providers of early education and childcare in place before you make a claim for Funded Early Education.

The funding agreement for providers of early education and childcare came into effect on 1 April 2018 and has been developed in line with the Department for Education Early Education and Childcare Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities and Model Agreement.

If you wish to offer either the universal 15 hours free childcare, or the extended 15 hours free childcare you must have a valid funding agreement in place or accept the new terms and conditions of funding by logging on to the provider portal.

To sign the funding agreement you must log on to the provider portal and accept the terms and conditions. Go to the ‘Forms’ tab and click on the link called Declaration of Acceptance Funding Agreement. Please ensure the form is fully completed before clicking on the ‘submit’ button. The portal guidance will help you access the provider portal.

If you fail to sign the agreement before the start of a term, funding payments may be delayed, as the Council cannot fund any Provider that does not have a signed Funding Agreement in place.

The parental declaration

All providers must ensure that every child accessing funded early education has a parental declaration in place. This must be fully completed and signed in the appropriate place at the start of each term that a claim is to be made.

The parental declaration is a contract between you and the parent that states the agreed conditions and hours of access to funded early education.

The parental declaration also authorises you to claim funded early education on the parent/ carer’s behalf. Without this authorisation you cannot claim funded early education.

If you do not have a signed parental declaration in place at headcount week you cannot make a claim.

Early years provider portal

Update details of your childcare service to the family information service.  You can also submit free early education funding claims for 2, 3 and 4 year old children.

Access the provider portal