Dorset Local Authority – 3&4 Year Olds Funding Options Explained

We are pleased to offer both 15 and 30 hour funding at Tops Day Nurseries.

This guidance is specifically for Tops Wimborne, Tops Corfe Mullen, Tops Gillingham, Tops Wareham and Tops Christchurch.

All 3&4 year old children without a 30 hour code are entitled to a maximum of 570 hours per financial year.

3&4 year old children with a valid 30 hour code are entitled to a maximum of 1140 hours per financial year.

There are 3 options of how to claim these hours:

  • Term-Time Only
  • Single Term Stretch
  • Financial Year Stretch

 

Option 1: Term-Time Only

Term-Time Only dates are set by Dorset County Council.

The number of funded weeks available per financial year is 38 and are these weeks are usually split as follows 11 weeks in the Spring Terms, 13 weeks in the Summer Terms and 14 weeks in the Autumn Terms.

Term-Time holidays are generally 2 weeks at Easter, 1 week in May, 6 weeks Summer Holiday, 1 week in October and 2 weeks at Christmas and these weeks are not funded.

They do not include bank holidays.

15 hours per week, or 30 hours per week if eligible will be applied to all Term-Time Only weeks.

You cannot carry unused hours over to the next week, or ‘bank’ hours. If you take a holiday during the term, your funding will be claimed as usual for your permanent shifts, or 6 hours funding claimed if you are a shift booker.

You can swap to option 2 at the start of any term if you wish. You can swap to option 3 at the beginning of April only.

 

Option 2: Single-Term Stretch

This option covers 52 weeks of the year. Each term, Dorset County Council provide us with an amount of hours that each child is eligible for the term ahead. This amount varies from term to term, and is dependent on how many weeks are in the term.

Some months you will have more hours, and some months less. This will depend on the length of the term. For example, Summer Term is usually 22 weeks compared to Autumn 17 weeks and Spring 13 weeks, so you may have less hours per week for summer, and more during autumn and spring.

It is up to you how you use these hours, they can be ‘banked’ so you use more some weeks, and less in other weeks in the same term – providing you do not use more than 10 hours per day, or 30 hours per week. Hours cannot be carried over to the next term.

During holiday your funding will be claimed as usual for your permanent shifts, or 6 hours funding claimed if you are a shift booker.

You can swap to option 1 at the start of any term if you wish. You can swap to option 3 at the beginning of April only.

 

Option 3: Financial Year Stretch

This option covers 50 weeks of the year, and can only be started in the Summer Term. The annual stretched offer follows the financial year, so is valid 1st April – 31st March only, and you cannot join this contract after the 1st April. If your child is 3 in December, you would have to choose option 1 or 2 for their first term, until 1st April where you can go onto Annual Stretch if you wish.

Annual Stretch enables you to have the same hours for 50 weeks of the year. For 15 hours funding this is 11.25 hours, and for 30 hours this is 22.75 hours.

On this option, the council do not provide funding for the last week of August, and the last week of December (making it 50 weeks). The total amount of hours is the same as choosing Option 1 or 2, just balanced out over the year equally.

Hours cannot be ‘banked’ or carried over on this contract, if you do not use the full 11.25 or 22.75 hours each week, you cannot then carry them over to another week or term.

During holiday your funding will be claimed as usual for your permanent shifts, or 6 hours funding claimed if you are a shift booker.

This option is a year contact, so you will not be able to swap to another option until the following April.

Posted in: 3 & 4 year olds