Early Education Provider Information

This page is for Early Education Providers. There is a separate page for parents with information about early education.

Becoming a provider 

To deliver funded early eduction places, your provision must be on the Ofsted early years register and signed up to Trafford's Directory of Early Education Providers. View information about how to join up and the funding you may be able to deliver.

Funding process and payment

An overview of the funding process is available along with a series of web pages to support providers delivering funded places.

Getting paid

Payments are made based on funding claims. Funding is claimed by providers on a termly headcount which is submitted using an online portal called The Education Portal. View a step by step overview of the termly funding process.

The amount you receive will depend on what funding you claim. View more information on early education funding, including how it is funded, hourly rates and additional supplements.

Finding important dates

A provider timeline is available for every term. This details when action is required and when payments are due.

If you miss a submission deadline

There are no exceptions to submission deadlines. The funding process is planned on a termly basis, with specific deadlines and payment dates. It is important that these dates are met so that payments are not delayed. Ensure that information is submitted accurately and on time. Where applicable it is good practice to have someone else at the provision who is able to submit requied information such as Estimate Forms and Headcounts in the absence of the usual responsible person.

The Education Portal

This is an online system used by providers to administer funded places. To deliver funding you must have access to the portal. View more information about the portal, including guides, video guides and the access form which you will need to complete for every staff member who requires access to the portal.

Eligibility for the early education entitlements

2 year old funding

Eligible families can receive up to 15 free hours per week the term after their child turns 2. Parents / carers must complete an application form so that eligibility can be checked and confirmed. Eligibile families are issued with a reference number. View information about 2 year old funding including the eligibility critieria.  

Claiming 2 year old funding

Parents intending to use 2 year old funding at your setting will need to provide you with their 2 year old funding application reference number which must be validated by you on The Education Portal before the child takes up  their place. View details of the 2 year old funding process. Children should not be allowed to use 2 year old funding until eligibility has been confirmed. 

3 and 4 year old funding

All children can receive the universal entitlement of 15 hours per week from the 1 September, 1 January, 1 April after their third birthday. There are no exceptions to the age critiera. Children are eligible up to and including the term they turn five, although most children will start reception the term after their fourth birthday. Children cannot receive early education hours in a private provider if they are also taking up a reception place in school

 The Education Portal has an age group checker and a guide of how to use this is available. 


30 Hours Free Childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

The 30 hours are made up of 15 universal hours (available to all children) and 15 extended hours (that eligible families receive). Children become eligible the 1 September, 1 January, 1 April after their third birthday and their parent is issued with a 30 hours code by HMRC. View the eligibility criteria and details of how parents / carers apply.

Claiming 30 hours 

Parents intending to use any part of the extended hours at your setting will need to provide you with a 30 hours code which must be validated by you on The Education Portal before the child takes up their place. Children should not be allowed to start in an extended hours place without a valid code. Children should not be allowed to start in an extended hours place if they are in the grace period. View information on understanding the 30 hours code process. 


Expansion of the early years entitlememts

The existing early years entitlements are expanding from April 2024. View information about the new entitlements, the eligibility critieria and the application process.