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Free early education places -
Information for early years settings

London Borough of Merton provides funding for part-time free early education places for all 3 and 4-year-olds in Merton whose parents want one with an early years provider in the maintained, private, voluntary or independent (PVI) sectors. All 3 and 4-year-olds are entitled to take up their part-time early education place from the school term after their third birthday. In addition, some 2-year-olds are also eligible to take-up a free place from the school term after they turn two.

Funding is provided for these 2, 3 and 4-year-olds for up to 570 hours of early education over the course of a year.

To receive funding so that they can deliver funded places for eligible 2 and/or 3 and 4-year-old children, early education providers must meet the criteria laid out in the current Code of Practice and Conditions of Funding and be listed in the Merton Directory of Providers of funded places for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds.

Early education providers must ensure they have written approval from London Borough of Merton to claim this funding before confirming any entitlement with parents of eligible children.

All early education providers which are currently part of the funding programme and can deliver funded places are listed in the published Merton Directory of Providers of Funded Places for 2, 3 and 4 Year Olds. All of these providers must adhere to the Code of Practice and Conditions of Funding.  

Spring Term Headcount 2015

Headcount week is 18 January to 22 January 2016

The deadline for submission of completed collectors is 5.00pm on Monday 25 January. Any provider who submits after this time will be subject to delays in their funding and a £50 administration fee.

Please note:

  • Providers must use the latest version of the Headcount Collector, which can be downloaded below. Previous versions of the collector cannot be accepted.

Download the Spring 2016 Headcount Collector (1.3MB)

Download the Spring 2016 Headcount User Guide (2.6MB)

There are two ways of returning your Headcount Submission securely.

1. USO-FX via London Gird For Learning:
If you have a USO-FX Login (providers registered for Early Education Funding pre-01/09/15), you can continue to use this service if you wish. Please see Headcount Collector Submission Guidance , page 37 for details.


2. NEW: Proofpoint Encrypted Email
You will receive an email on the first day of the headcount entitled “[Encrypted] “Merton Period2/Autumn Term Headcount Submission Email”. Please see Headcount Collector Submission Guidance, page 43 for details

All other methods of submission are prohibited.

Download the Spring 2016 Headcount Collector Submission Guidance (0.8MB)

For more information about SEN and EHCP funding, please read the Guide to SEN and EHCP Funding (63kB)

Code of Practice and Conditions of Funding for Early Education for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds

The Code of Practice has been revised for April 2015 onwards and is published below. Full details of the funding programme, including eligibility of children, and the application process are provided in the Code of Practice.

Download the Code of Practice and Conditions of Funding of Early Education for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds (0.4MB)

Joining the Directory of Providers

Providers wishing to join the programme must complete and submit the Registration Form (below). Providers who meet the relevant criteria can decide if they wish to apply for funding for 2-year-olds, 3 and 4-year-olds or both on the Registration Form.

The Registration Form also allows providers to indicate if they wish to join the Merton Continuous Improvement Framework (CIF). The CIF provides three offers to select from of support, training, advice and guidance from us. Please note that providers who do not join the CIF via the Registration Form will charged to access these services.

Download the Early Years and Childcare Services Registration Form (0.1MB)

Note: the Registration Form must be completed and submitted by all applicants for funding. Please email or post your form to the address at the foot of this page

Annual Contract

To help you complete your contract, please refer to the Contract User Guide for new providers (5.2MB)

If you are new to the directory of providers, you will also need to provide your bank details. Please use the Bank Details Form (83kB) to do this

Please email your completed contract and bank details form to

Supporting documents

  • Parent Funding and Starter Form (0.2MB) to be completed with each parent for each funding period. Please ensure you keep the Parent Funding Form and give a copy to the parent. For late starters, please send a copy of the form securely via USO-FX to the EEF administration team (do not send the original).
  • Checking the eligibility of children - Appendix One (0.2MB)
  • Audit Process - Appendix Two (0.2MB)
  • Change of Owner or Premises Form (77kB)
  • SEN Funding Support (0.2MB) booklet
  • For more information about SEN and EHCP funding, please read the Guide to SEN and EHCP Funding (63kB)
  • Privacy Notice (0.1MB) Please ensure that all parents of children you are claiming for have been given a Privacy Notice. You can personalise it with your own branding

Do NOT send any child information via email as this is not a secure method and has the potential of being intercepted by an unknown source. Any documents that contain child information must be sent via the online secure submission facility USO-FX through the London Grid for Learning (LGFL) using your LFGL login.

Contact Us

Early Education Funding Administration
Early Years, Childcare and Children's Centres Service
10th Floor, Civic Centre
London Road


This page was last updated on Thursday 14 January 2016

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