Barnsley Early Start and Family Services

In order to become and remain a sustainable childcare provision, you need to be aware of funding that's on offer.

There's a range of funding available to settings and childminders. This is from early education entitlements to specific funding for those with extra needs. Being aware of the opportunities available will help you to maximise your income. These include the following:

Free childcare for eligible 2 year olds

Eligible two year old children are able to receive 570 hours of free childcare a year. This can be taken for a minimum of 38 weeks (equivalent to 15 hours a week) or can be stretched up to 51 weeks. 

A child will be eligible if their parent or carer receives one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • tax credits, and has an annual income under £16,190 before tax
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you receive when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit from the summer term 2018

Children are also entitled to a place if:

  • they’re looked after by a local council
  • they have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education health and care plan
  • they get Disability Living Allowance
  • they’ve left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order

You can access the free childcare for eligible 2 year olds scheme if you, as a provider, have a minimum Ofsted rating of Good or Outstanding or if you're yet to have your first inspection. A variety of different providers can offer this service including:

  • childminders
  • pre-schools
  • playgroups
  • day nurseries
  • family hubs
  • school nurseries

Early Education Funding (EEF) universal hours for 3 and 4 year olds (15 hours)

EEF enables all 3 and 4 year old children to receive 570 hours of free childcare a year. This can be taken for a minimum of 38 weeks (equivalent to 15 hours a week) or can be stretched up to 51 weeks, and can be used across two providers.

A variety of different providers can offer this service including:

  • childminders
  • pre-schools
  • playgroups
  • day nurseries
  • family hubs
  • school nurseries

Parent will need to:

  • fill in a parent declaration
  • fill in a ethnicity form
  • view our funding calendars and timetables
  • find out about the funding agreement between Barnsley Council and early education providers
  • find out about the early years operational guide

You can find all of these on Virtual Family Hub.  

Early Education Funding (EEF) extra entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds (30 hours)

All children are entitled to EEF universal hours, but this entitlement is extended up to a maximum of 1140 hours (30 hours a week for 38 weeks) for eligible families.

Families eligible for EEF additional hours

Families are eligible if both parents are working (or the sole parent in a lone parent family) and each parent or carer earns on average:

  • a weekly minimum salary equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage (NMW) for under 25 year olds, or national living wage (NLW) if over 25 years old, and
  • less than £100,000 per year


  • both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or is receiving statutory sick pay, or
  • one parent is employed and the other parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits they receive for caring, or
  • one parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on them receiving specific benefits

Additional information

  • Parents do not need to actually work 16 hours per week, but their earnings must be equal to at least 16 hours work at NMW or NLW depending on their age. This equates to a minimum income requirement for a parent or carer of £107.20 a week for 21-24 year olds, or £115.20 a week for those aged 25 or over.
  • A parent or carer will be eligible if they expect, on average, to earn this amount over the coming three months. For example, for a parent or carer who is on a zero-hours contract they will qualify if, on average, they work two weeks out of every three and when they are working they work 25 hours a week at the NMW.
  • ‘Parent’ means a person who has parental responsibility for the child. In cases where a parent has remarried or is living with a partner, the step-parent or partner must also meet the earning threshold.
  • Foster carers are eligible for the additional entitlement for their own children if they meet the criteria, and for the children in their care.
  • Parents or carers can check if they are eligible for the additional entitlement by applying on GOV.UK. They'll need to do this every three months to re-check their eligibility.

Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP)

Early Years Pupil Premium is additional funding for early years settings to improve the education they provide for disadvantaged 3 and 4 year olds.

Short breaks

Short breaks are one of a range of services that support disabled children and their families. Short breaks are to give:

  • disabled children and young people enjoyable experiences away from their primary carers, contributing to their personal and social development and reducing social isolation
  • parents and families a necessary and valuable break from caring responsibilities

Short breaks include day, evening, overnight and weekend activities, and can take place in the child's own home, the home of an approved carer, or a residential or community setting. Short breaks can last from just a few hours to a few days, and occasionally longer.

For more information on short breaks, fill in our online contact form.

Early years inclusion grant

The early years inclusion grant can help your setting to include disabled children, and can support the costs associated with:

  • employing an additional worker to increase staff ratios in sessions
  • purchasing specialist equipment to meet the specific needs of a child

For more information, fill in our online contact form.

Alexandra Rose vouchers

Alexandra Rose vouchers for fruit and vegetables is a project which supports pregnant women and families living on low incomes to eat more healthily and improve their health and well-being.

For more information, fill in our online contact form.


Bookstart is a national scheme that provides books for pre-school children.

Find out more about Bookstart, or call into your local library.

External funding for not-for-profit organisations

There are many opportunities for not-for-profit organisations to receive grants and funding from a range of sources and the South Yorkshire Funding Advice Bureau (SYFAB) is a useful place to start for help, advice and training for fundraisers.

If you're looking for investment, loans or other finances you'll need to have a solid business plan and be able to show that you've researched, risk-assessed and can demonstrate viability through detailed projections of your business.

For more information

Call us on 0800 034 5340 or