Saving money

Small World: Free hours information

This information is now out-of-date.

Updated 11th March 2021    

Required reading...

The council require that you have access to the following Privacy Notice from the County Council

Free Early Education funded hours

Small World offers both the free universal 15 hours per week and, from 1st January 2021, the extended (up to 30) hours per week.  The free hours are only available in the afternoon.

Actions required by you are...  More details for these actions are detailed further below.

  1. Complete and return a Parent Declaration each and every term. 
  2. Apply, if applicable, for a 30 code and provide us two months in advance with the required information. 

Early Education funded hours are awarded to all 3 and 4 year-old children and we automatically claim them on your behalf.  The claim will be for up to either 15 or, if eligible, 30 hours of your child's normal weekly attendance pattern, term time only (38 weeks in the year).  These hours are totally free.  Any other (non-free) hours that your child attends will be charged at the rates published.  (See also Current fees)  

A child is eligible from the term after their third birthday.  Free hours are taken into account your standing order calculation, but only from when your child is eligible. 

Note that the reduction in fees may be less than expected.  For example a three day attendance pattern of attendance (30 hours per week) will typically result in a saving of approximately 30% when 15 hours are free. 
Note also that no discounts are applicable with free sessions. 

Oxfordshire County Council require a parental declaration form to be filled in and signed every term for every child that benefits from free funded hours and these forms are mandatory. 
When we receive the latest termly form from the council, we request by email the completion of such.  Please make sure you return the form promptly, since we cannot claim without it. 
The Council also require us to verify your child's date of birth.  We will, on you being newly eligible for free hours, request a birth certificate; passport or other official document to allow us to take a photocopy of it.  (You can also email us a photograph of such.) 

Small World only offers free sessions in the afternoon.  This means that only attendance patterns that include a full afternoon’s attendance will be eligible – 8am to 6pm and 1pm to 6pm attendances, not 8am to 4pm (school days).  The universal 15 hours per week will remain applicable where “30 hours” is not, albeit still only in the afternoons. 

In practice the following hours will be possible (some examples)

Attendance pattern Attendance hours Free hours per week Likely saving *
(total annually, for free hours shown)
Likely saving from Universal hours only*
(up to 15 hours per week)
Full time, all week (5 days) 8am to 6pm 30 £ 3,673.00 £ 1,613.40
Four full days 8am to 6pm 24 £ 3,526.40 £ 2,348.40
Three full days 8am to 6pm 18 £ 2,644.80 £ 2,348.40
Mornings only 8am to 1pm  0 (zero)
Five School days 8am to 4pm 15 universal hours £ 2,916.50 £ 2,916.50
Four School days 8am to 4pm 12 universal hours £ 2,333.20 £ 2,333.20
Three School days 8am to 4pm  9 universal hours £ 1,749.90 £ 1,749.90
Five afternoons 1pm to 6pm 25 £ 6,764.00 £ 4,059.40
* Estimated annual amounts based on an average year.

IMPORTANT: You must apply for a code in advance to be able to claim more than the 15 Universal hours

It is important that you apply for this code well in advance of the term and provide it to us as soon as possible.  Our understanding is that this is required two months in advance, so for example November for January! 
Please provide as soon as possible by email to the following information...    

We require this For Example Please note
30 hours eligibility reference number/code 70148033276
Parent's National Insurance number ZL527891B No spaces or dashes, please!  We actually don't need to know which parent/guardian
Child's name Full name, exactly as you enter for the code
Child's date of birth Please confirm this

Instructions and details are published at…

You can apply directly at ...     Apparently it usually takes 20 minutes to apply.

You will thereafter require to confirm your eligibility with H.M.R.C. every three months.  Please do ensure that you do so in time; we cannot be responsible for any lack of funding as a result of late information.  We will automatically stop claiming any Extended hours (over the 15 Universal hours) when your edibility ceases for any reason. 

Timeline for Summer 2021

Friday 2-May Parental Declarations deadline
Wednesday 13-May Deadline for receipt of all NEF claims to OCC
probably Wednesday 10-June Provider statements are sent (to Small World)

Small World comment: Only when we receive the provider statement will we know if you have free sessions and how many

The form for the latest term (Summer 2021) is published here or as a Word document copy here . 

The timeline for Autumn 2021 is likely to be given to Small World late in July

Amount funded

The hourly funding rate from September 2020 will be £ 4.12 for 3 and 4 year olds and £ 5.60 for eligible 2 year olds.

A maximum of six (6) hours can be claimed for any one day.  The minimum is two and a half (2.5) hours. 
So, to be able to claim the maximum of fifteen (15) universal hours per week, a child must attend for three days. 
And to be able to claim the maximum, included extended hours, (30) per week, a child must attend for five days. 

Free hour funding is termly only and the number of weeks each term is...

Term Weeks
Spring 12
Summer 12
Autumn 14
Total (annually) 38

Parental Declaration

A parent declaration form must be completed are returned each term.  The council sets a deadline of Small World's application for free hours, your form must be in before the deadline! 

Changes since February 2021    +   Click to expand