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Early Years Annual Providers Agreement 2022/2023 Providers Annual Agreement for all Ofsted registered Early Education and Childcare Providers on the Regulations and Requirements of Early Education and Childcare for pre-school aged children in Reading.

April 2022 to March 2023

This Providers Agreement sets out the requirements and expectations of the Department for Education and the Local Authority for childcare providers offering free early years education and care in Reading. It applies to the 15 hour entitlement for the most disadvantaged two-year olds, the 15 hour entitlement for parents of three and four year olds (the universal entitlement) and the 30 hours entitlement for working parents of three and four year olds (the extended entitlement).

Childcare Providers wishing to participate in any of the schemes above will be required to sign this agreement with Brighter Futures for Children (BFFC) who deliver early years services on behalf of Reading Borough Council. In doing so providers agree to make a commitment to work collaboratively with Brighter Futures for Children to provide Early Years Education and Care which is inclusive, of consistently high quality and strives to improve the outcomes for all children. In return Brighter Futures for Children makes a commitment to support Provider settings and staff under the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.

The respective roles and responsibilities of Brighter Futures for Children and the Childcare Provider are set out in this agreement. Acceptance of ALL these conditions is mandatory for inclusion in the Early Years funding schemes.

Payments for Early Years Entitlements will be scheduled on the dates provided in the Early Years payment calendar which is sent to Providers at the beginning of the financial year. Payments are subject to compliance with the terms and conditions set out in this agreement and will only be made as scheduled if paperwork submission deadlines are met and funds and resources are available from the funding provider. Payment deadline could be subject to change in unforeseeable circumstances such as system outages or staff disruption.

Non-compliance with the terms and conditions of this agreement can lead to withdrawal of funding and support from Brighter Futures for Children, which are laid out in the appendixes at the end of this document.

Conditions for Inclusion Unless stated otherwise these conditions cover the Early Years Provision for eligible 2 years olds and 3 and 4 year old children claiming the Universal and Extended Entitlement (30 hours funding).

EY 1.
Aim to provide high quality early years education and childcare at premises within Reading Borough Council’s area, and to work towards an Ofsted or equivalent outcome of Good or Outstanding. Providers offering 2 year old funding must be registered with Ofsted and be awaiting their first full inspection or be rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted or equivalent to claim funding. Childminder with a Not Met Ofsted rating will be unable to access early years funding. Agree

EY 2. Comply with all regulations and requirements outlined in the Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities on Early Education and Childcare issued by the Department for Education or any subsequent updating guidance as may be published from time to time.

Statutory guidance can currently be found at: Agree

EY.3 Offer eligible children the universal offer of up to 570 hours per year of flexible free Early Years Entitlement over no fewer than 38 weeks using the standard model of 15 hours a week, or a stretched delivery of fewer hours per week over a greater period; if unable to offer the full 570 hours, make clear to parents that the additional provision may be supplied at another Private, Voluntary or Independent provider. Agree

EY 4. Ensure that admissions information is clear and accessible to enable parents to make an informed decision on where to access their entitlement. Agree

EY 5.
Offer Education and Childcare Free Early Years Entitlement in sessions of no more than 10 hours a day (there is no minimum session length). Agree

EY 6.
Not offer Education and Childcare Free Early Years Entitlement sessions before 6am or after 8pm. Agree

EY 7.
Not knowingly claim universal funding for any child who is on roll and claiming at a Nursery School or Class maintained by the Local Authority (the full 15 hours of universal funding is prioritised to maintained providers.) Agree

EY 8.
Take responsibility to ensure headcount claims submitted are for the correct number of hours and weeks relating to either the standard or stretched offering and take into account any split funding with another Provider. Agree

EY 9.
Ask the parents of every child eligible to claim 2 year old funding, Universal Free Early Years Entitlement or the Extended Entitlement to complete a Parental Agreement form. All terms and conditions of the funding should be confirmed with the parent when the child enrols.

EY 10.
Have a robust and confidential process in place to verify the identity, address and date of birth of each child when they enrol by sight of official documentation such as a birth certificate. Agree

EY 11.
Actively encourage parents to provide relevant information on their Parent Agreement forms to enable eligibility for the Early Years Pupil Premium and Deprivation Supplement to be checked via the Department for Educations online Eligibility Checking System (ECS). Agree

EY 12.
Ensure that if the setting closes for training, for whatever period, full consideration is given to offering the Free Early Year Entitlement at an alternative period as compensation. (There is no obligation to offer alternative provisions due to public holiday closure, temporary emergency closure (such as adverse weather or flood), child sickness or if the parents choose to take their children out of the setting for short term absences such as a holiday.) Agree

EY 13.
Ensure that charges for consumables, meals or snacks, used or taken as part of the free entitlement are fully explained to parents. Providers are responsible for setting their own policy on options for parents who are unable or unwilling to pay, these should include options to waive, reduce costs or for parents to supply their own meals.

EY 14.
Ensure that charges for any additional services, hours or weeks offered over and above the Free Early Years Entitlement are clear and transparent to parents at the time of agreement for admission. Invoices or bills should reflect clearly the hours provided under the Free Early Years Entitlement and how any fees for additional services or hours have been calculated. Agree

EY 15.
Indicate clearly to parents the dates and times during which the Free Early Years Entitlement is available. Ensure that published terms dates or funding periods make parents aware of when additional weeks or hours may be chargeable.

EY 16.
Retain information relating to the Free Early Years Entitlement, and other relevant grants, including registers for a period of at least one term after the child has left the child provision. Agree

EY 17.
Not charge a registration fee to parents/guardians of children wishing to take up just their Free Early Years Entitlement. Agree

EY 18.
Providers can charge a refundable deposit in relation to the Free Early Years Entitlement but should have a policy in place to refund any deposits taken within a reasonable time frame. Providers should ensure deposits do not present a barrier to disadvantaged families. Agree

EY 19.
Agree to co-operate with Brighter Futures for Children by allowing access to records and accounts for compliance checks, auditing and fraud prevention purposes. Agree

EY 20.
Keep a daily register of children’s attendance and ensure that non-attendance is investigated. Agree

EY 21.
Interim payments are provided so that free entitlement places can be offered free at the point of delivery. Providers should ensure payments made in advance are used within the appropriate term.

EY 22.
Check the termly payment notifications issued on the Providers Portal and notify the Early Years Team of any discrepancies within 4 weeks of notification. Errors by either party may not be reconciled past the 4 week deadline. Agree

EY 23.
Agree to repay on demand any payment of Free Early Years Entitlement which was paid to the Provider as a result of an administrative error on the part of either party. Agree

EY 24.
Agree to bank unused Free Early Years Entitlement funding in the event of excessive interim payments or payments claimed in error and use it to fund children in the following term. An adjustment will be made, by Brighter Futures for Children, to a provider’s payment in the following term which will show as a Carry Forward Amount (CFA). Agree

EY 25.
Should any outstanding balance of Free Early Years Entitlement funding remain with the Provider at the end of the spring term BFfC may request that the outstanding amount be returned by the end of the financial year (March). Agree

EY 26.
If a Provider is unable to fulfil its Early Years Entitlement commitments due to closure (permanently or for an extended time) during a period for which Early Years Entitlement Funding has been paid then BFfC will require the return of any Early Years Entitlement Funding for the period unfulfilled. Funding will need to be return to BFfC council by the end of the term in which the Provider has closed. Agree

EY 27.
In the event of closure, removal or suspension of the free early year’s entitlement to the Provider, any redundancy liabilities for staff employed by the Provider to deliver the free provision must be managed and paid for by the Provider and not through the early years funding. Agree

EY 28.
Ensure that any funding provided under the Early Years Pupil Premium is promoted to parents and is used to improve outcomes for children for whom EYPP is paid. Agree

EY 29.
Be able to demonstrate, when requested, how any deprivation supplement money provided as part of the National Funding Formula for 3 & 4 year olds, is used within the setting to support and improve the educational outcomes and life chances in respect of children for whom deprivation supplement is paid. Agree

EY 30.
Ensure that any funding provided under the Disability Access Fund for 3 or 4 year old children, in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, is used appropriately. Agree

EY 31.
Co-operate with Brighter Futures for Children in meeting its statutory responsibilities by completing all reasonably required paperwork, such as the annual Department for Education Census and termly headcount returns by the prescribed deadlines. Payments may be withheld or delayed for late submissions. Agree

EY 32.
Agree to update, at least quarterly, the Provider’s core & local offer information (which includes vacancy details) as required by the SEND Code of Practice 0-25 on the Family Information Service (FIS), Reading Services Guide. Agree

EY 33.
Not promote views or theories as fact which are contrary to established scientific or historical evidence and explanations. Agree

EY 34.
Ensure that all data is recorded and stored in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations Agree

EY 35.
In the event of a Provider having an Ofsted inspection, providers should be aware of the effects that a change in their published Ofsted rating has on their ability to draw funding. Agree Section 3

Funding for 2 year olds The following are additional conditions for those wanting to participate in the 2-yr-old funding. Only Providers who are Ofsted rated Good or above or who are waiting for their first Ofsted inspection are permitted to offer 2 year old funded places. If a Providers Ofsted rating is downgraded to below good their ability to claim 2 year old funding will be effected.

EY 36 .
Ensure that all children offered a 2-year-old funded place meet the criteria specified by Brighter Futures for Children. An online application must be completed to ensure that no 2-year-old child begins attending before their eligibility has been confirmed via the Brighter Futures for Children Provider portal. Agree

EY 37.
Where possible, offer a seamless transition between 2-year-old and 3 & 4 year old funding. Agree Section 4

Extended Early Years Entitlement – 30 Hour Funding The following are additional conditions for those wanting to offer the Extended Entitlement.

EY 38.
Do not offer an Extended Early Years Entitlement place to any child without verification of their parents’ eligibility. Parents are required to apply for an access code via the HMRC Childcare Service website. The validity of this code will need to be checked by the Provider via the Brighter Futures for Children Providers Portal before any funding will be guaranteed.

EY 39.
Encourage parents to apply for the Extended Funding in the term before their child meets the criterion to ensure they can access their place at the start of the proposed funding period. Extended Entitlement will only be available the term/funding period following receipt of a valid code from HMRC Childcare Service.

Parents will need to have generated a valid code on or before the following dates to ensure they are entitled to get funding at the start of the following funding period.

Valid code created by 31st August for autumn term funding

Valid code created by 31st December for spring term funding

Valid code created by 31st March for summer term funding Agree

EY 40.
Be aware that a child’s eligibility to the 30 hours Extended Entitlement needs to be reconfirmed every 3 months by the parent via the HMRC Childcare Service. Anyone who becomes ineligible will enter into a grace period after which the funding will be withdrawn. Agree

EY 41.
Children will not be funded if they are within their grace period before commencing an Extended Entitlement place. Agree

EY 42.
If a parent ceases to be entitled to the Extended Entitlement and the grace period has ended, the parents should be informed that the child is still eligible for their universal entitlement of 15 hours per week. Agree

EY 43.
Ensure that all Parents accessing an extended entitlement place are aware of which hours are to be withdrawn if they become ineligible. Agree

EY 44.
Be aware that children cannot claim 30 hours Extended Entitlement once they’ve started attending a Reception class in a maintained school or academy. Agree Section 5

Registration, Monitoring and Policy In claiming Free Early Years Universal and Extended Entitlement and 2-year-old funding, childcare Providers agree to meet the following terms and conditions:

RP 1.
Inform Ofsted and Brighter Futures for Children of any significant changes as stated in the statutory guidance. Agree

RP 2.
Operate your setting with regard to Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25 which provides statutory guidance to organisations supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. Agree

RP 3.
Identify a designated safeguarding officer to support all staff in protecting the welfare of all children.

RP 4.
Have Public liability insurance in place as required by Ofsted registration. Agree Section 6

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) In claiming Free Early Years Universal and Extended Entitlement and 2-year-old funding, childcare Providers agree to meet the following terms and conditions:

FS 1.
Adhere to the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ and all its statutory requirements, and actively promote children’s learning and development for all children accessing funding. Agree

FS 2.
The EYFS Statutory framework requires the EYFS profile assessment to be carried out in the final term a child turns 5 and no later than the 30 June of that term. Practitioners are expected to use their professional judgement to make these assessments based on their knowledge and understanding of what the child knows, understands and can do and then submit data to Local Authority. Agree

FS 3.
At transition points share personalised information on each child with their parents/carers and the receiving setting prior to exit and by 1st July before the term of school enrolment. All data should be shared confidentially and kept in compliance with current General Data Protection Regulations.
Agree Section 7

Appendixes Failure to comply with the terms of this agreement may result in removal of support and withdrawal of funding. If this arises, the actions set out in the funding restrictions or removal Appendix 1, 2 and 3 will be implemented. A copy of the appendix are available upon request from