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Passport for 2s

Funded Early Years Education Entitlement for Children aged 2 years

Picture of PassportIf you receive a ‘Passport for 2s’  (like the one pictured on this page) this means that you are entitled to access up to 15 hours of funded early education for your 2-year old, 38 weeks of the year.

This could be in a school preschool, a private nursery or preschool or with a registered childminder

How it works?

  1. You contact the Funded Early Education Entitlement Team on 01744 676541 before Tuesday 31st August, or you can fill in an application form online
  2. If you are entitled to funding we will send you out a ‘Passport for 2s' email.
  3. The passport email can then simply be handed in to a provider of your choice and swapped for up to 15 hours funded early education. You will also need to provide a copy of your child's birth certificate.
     

Please ensure the above information is given in to your chosen provider before Thursday 7th October, which is the deadline for autumn term placements. 

Where's my passport?

If you haven't received a passport by Tuesday 31st August and you feel you should be entitled to a funded placement, please call the Early Entitlement Team on 01744 676541.

Please call us before Thursday 7th October so we can help and check if you are eligible to claim - we don't want you to miss out on your child's early education entitlement. 

Not sure if you're eligible?

Visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/funded2 for a breakdown of the full criteria and how to claim. 

If you need more information, or advice, please call the Funded Early Education Entitlement Team on 01744 676541

Your 2-year-old can get funded early education or childcare if you live in England and get one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit, and your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, not including benefit payments
  • tax credits, and your household income is £16,190 a year or less before tax
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

2-year-olds can also get free childcare if they:

  • are looked after by a local authority
  • have a statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • get Disability Living Allowance
  • have left care under an adoption order, special guardianship order or a child arrangements order

You may have to pay for extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.

If you’re a non-EEA citizen who cannot claim benefits

Your 2-year-old may get free childcare if you are getting support under the Immigration and Asylum Act and have either:

  • claimed asylum in the UK and are waiting for a decision (known as ‘part 6’)
  • been refused asylum in the UK (known as ‘section 4’)

A 2-year-old you care for may also get free childcare if your household income is £15,400 a year or less after tax, and you have any of the following:

  • leave to remain with ‘no recourse to public funds’ on family or private life grounds
  • support from your local council because you have ‘a child in need’, for example they have a disability or a child protection plan
  • the right to live in the UK because you’re the main carer of a British citizen (known as a ‘Zambrano Carer’)

Please call the Funded Early Education Entitlement Team on  01744 676541

Or you can fill in an application form online. You can find out more here

 

 

Everyone will need to secure a place with their chosen provider before Thursday 7th October -  whether in receipt of a passport or applying online, (this is why it's important to call us if you feel you meet the eligibility criteria and have not received a passport). 

When you receive your passport either through the post or via email please complete the information requested. 

 

Congratulations! You have taken a big step in making sure that your child has the best opportunity to make a great start in life. Children like to explore the world around them and during their time with a childcare provider your child will become more confident, play and join in with other children, develop their language skills and learn lots of new things.

What do I do now?

Take a look at the list of childcare providers so that you can choose one for your child https://www.sthelens.gov.uk/funded2

Think about the following:

  • How far away is the childcare provider you are considering?
  • Do they have any places available?
  • How are you going to get your child there?
  • What type of provider do you prefer – a nursery, playgroup or childminder?
  • What other commitments do you have - do you work, or do you have to get other children to school?
  • What days and times do you need the childcare – is it flexible enough?

Once you have narrowed down your choices please ring your chosen childcare provider first to secure your funded place. They will then confirm a start date for your child  and let you know how they wish to receive your passport, along with a copy of your child's birth certificate

See our 'How to choose your provider?' section on the www.sthelens.gov.uk/funded2 page with a list of questions you can ask

If you have been unable to find a suitable place for your child, then please contact us on 01744 676541 or email earlyyearsfeee@sthelens.gov.uk to discuss, we may be able to help!

 

 

We have a directory of school preschools, private nurseries and preschools and registered childminders within St Helens that are registered to deliver the 2-year-old free early education places.

You can view the very latest list of providers by visiting www.sthelens.gov.uk/funded2 or downloading the list.

What to look for when choosing a childcare provider and some questions to ask…

Opening Times and Availability

  • What are the opening times?
  • How many weeks of the year are they open?
  • Are they closed at any specific times of the year?
  • Do they offer any flexible care (i.e. weekends, evenings, emergencies)?
  • Is there a waiting list, if so, how long would you have to wait for a place?

 The environment

  • Is there outside space available for play and learning?
  • Are there separate areas for different kinds of play - water play, sand, messy play, role-play?
  •  Is there a separate area for quiet time - story time, puzzles, sleeping?
  • How many children will be in your child’s room / class?
  • Is the setting safe and secure?
  •  Does it look clean and cheerful? - Look for examples of other children’s work on display

  Your Child’s Development

  • What is the normal staff to child ratio?
  •  Are the children well supervised?
  • What qualifications do staff hold?
  • Will your child have a Key Worker? If yes, when can you meet them?
  • Who will be responsible for monitoring your child’s development?
  • Will you get regular feedback?
  • Will you get a daily record of what your child has done / eaten?
  • What learning and developmental activities will your child take part in?

 Costs

  • Does your setting make any additional charges surrounding the 2-year-old offer?
  • Can I bring my own packed lunch and nappies, creams, etc to avoid the extra cost?
  • Are there additional charges for my child to take part in trips?
  • Does my child need to attend a minimum number of sessions per week?

Disabilities & SEN

  • What experience do the staff have of caring for children with disabilities & SEN?
  • How would they adapt activities for your child?
  • Is the building fully accessible?
  • When can you meet your child’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO)?

 Policies and Procedures

If you want more information, ask to see their policies on:

  • Sending children home because of sickness and other conditions
  • Giving medication / dealing with allergies
  • Toilet training
  • People other than the main carer picking up the child
  • Late collection and non-attendance
  • Safeguarding
  • Photography
  • Sun care
  • Complaints
  • Managing children’s behaviour
  • Bullying

Government funding is intended to cover the cost to deliver 15 hours a week of, high quality, flexible early education, it is not intended to cover the cost of meals, consumables, additional hours or additional services.

You may be asked to pay for meals, snacks and consumables if your child is accessing hours whereby meals are included. It is important that you secure the hours that are right for you and your child, some childcare providers will just offer the funded hours with no additional charges so please do ask the relevant questions before you sign up for a place.

 

Remember, your child is entitled to up to 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, you do not have to access the full 15 hours.

Examples of how 15 hours can be accessed-

This can be taken flexibly depending upon childcare provider opening times and availability of places. For example, your child may be able to attend for 5 hours a day over 3 days of the week or for 3 hours a day over 5 days of the week - other options might be available.

When your child starts with a nursery, playgroup or childminder they will carry out an initial assessment with you and your child so that they can understand and identify your child’s strengths, interests and next steps. This is important, as it gives the childcare setting a starting point from which they can plan and tailor your child’s care and learning to make sure that they are able to thrive and enjoy their time in nursery.

 Childcare providers understand that you, as parents, know the most about your child and it is therefore important that you tell the childcare provider about the types of things that your child likes to do, about any concerns that you have (regarding your child or the childcare that is going to be provided) or about anything else that you think might be important for them to know. For example, some children will settle in on their first visit and others will take a little longer to get used to their new environment. Let the provider know if you feel that your child is a little insecure, then a longer ‘settling-in period’ may be introduced, where you can initially stay and play with your child for longer, to make sure that they are okay. 

What will my child need to take?

 Each childcare provider will have different facilities and the types of things that your child will have to take with them each day will depend upon the times of day they are due to go and the activities that are due to take place. For example, outdoor play is strongly encouraged across all types of childcare

provision, no matter what the weather! So, your child may need to take a waterproof coat or perhaps sun cream, but don’t worry, your childcare provider will discuss all of this with you.

It is not advisable however, for your child to take their own toys into a childcare setting where there will be other children. Experience shows that children tend to become very possessive over their toys, which can cause disagreements. Children can also become very upset if they cannot find their toy in the setting or if it gets broken or taken home by someone else.

How will I know that my child is doing okay?

 Along with the initial assessment, regular observations are carried out on all children to help providers to monitor progress. This makes sure that your child is stimulated and that any areas for concern or focus can be identified and addressed. It also allows the childcare setting to provide you with feedback regarding how well your child is getting on, or to discuss any issues or concerns. In order to do this effectively, it is important that your child attends regularly and for the number of sessions or hours that were initially agreed when your child started.

 Learning Plans developed for your child, will have been created based on the days or hours that your child is due to attend, and these Plans will only work if your child goes to the setting as agreed. Obviously, there will be instances when you might be late dropping off or picking up your child due to personal circumstances, or your child might not be able to attend because of illness. However, if this happens a lot it can be very unsettling for your child and will make it harder for the childcare provider to make sure that your child is progressing well.

It is important for your child to get the best out of their time at nursery, playgroup or with a childminder, and this can be helped with a regular routine, familiar faces (childcare workers and other children) and by allowing them to maximise time to play, learn and socialise.

What if I have any concerns regarding my child’s early education?

 Any problems should be discussed in the first instance with your childcare provider; however, if you feel that your concerns are not being addressed appropriately then you can contact the following:

 

  • If you think that your child is not getting their full entitlement (perhaps the number of hours agreed is not being delivered or the setting is expecting you to make some form of payment to keep your place) or if you are considering moving your child to another provider then please contact the Funded Early Years Education Team on 01744 676542
  • If there are welfare or safety issues, then please contact Ofsted on 0300 123 4666.