Skip header
Children's centres

The Council's responsibilities and duties for early education and childcare

Early education and childcare: Statutory guidance for local authorities

This statutory guidance from the Department for Education is for English local authorities on their duties in line with section 2 of the Childcare Act 2016 and sections 6, 7, 7A, 9A, 12 and 13 of the Childcare Act 2006.

Local authorities must have regard to this guidance when seeking to discharge those duties. They should not depart from it unless they have good reason to do so.

It provides guidance which applies to:

  • the free entitlements for two, three and four year olds 
  • universal entitlement and the extended entitlement
  • securing sufficient childcare for working parents
  • providing information advice and assistance to parents
  • providing information, advice and training to childcare providers

It introduces new elements relating to:

  • the introduction of the extended entitlement to 30 hours free provision
  • how local authorities should pay providers to deliver free entitlement places
  • requirements on local authorities to publish information about childcare in their area including the free entitlements
  • what outcomes different measures are seeking to achieve
  • what is a legal duty required by legislation 
  • what local authorities should do to fulfil their statutory responsibilities

This guidance will be kept under review and update as necessary.

View the statutory guidance for local authorities578.58KB

Model Agreement: Early years provision free of charge and free childcare 

This model agreement from the Department for Education sets out the department's expectations on what should be included in agreements between local authorities and providers (provider agreements) and refers to early years provision free of charge and free childcare as the 'free entitlement(s)' or 'free hours' or a 'free place'.

The model agreement applies to:

  • the 15 hour entitlement for the most disadvantaged two-year-olds
  • the 15 hour entitlement for parents of three- and four-year-olds (the universal entitlement)
  • the 30 hours entitlement for working parents of three- and four-year-olds (the extended entitlement).

The model agreement has been developed in partnership with early years providers and local authorities. It is intended to bring greater consistency to provider agreements across all local authorities and all types of providers.

The model agreement is for:

  • Local authorities
  • Early years providers and childminders who are referred to as 'providers' and include:
    • Early years providers and childminders registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register
    • Childminders registered with a childminder agency that is registered with Ofsted
    • Independent Schools and Academies taking children age two and over and which are exempt from registration with Ofsted as an early years provider

This model agreement will be kept under review and updated as necessary.

View the Model Agreement for free early years provision and childcare449.38KB

How would you rate the information on this page?

  • Families Information Service
  • Town Hall and Civic Offices
    Westoe Road
    South Shields
    Tyne & Wear
    United Kingdom
    NE33 2RL

  • 0800 783 4645

Share this page