Early education funding is available for:

  • Eligible 2-year-old children for 15 hours a week for 38 weeks (570 hours per year)
  • All 3 and 4-year-old children for 15 hours a week for 38 weeks (570 hours per year), called the Universal Entitlement
  • Eligible 3 and 4-year-old children for an additional 15 hours per week for 38 weeks (570 hours per year), called the Extended Entitlement (30 hours)

In order to deliver any or all of the funded entitlements, a provider must be approved and be part of Merton's Directory of Providers of Funded Early Education.

How do I become an approved provider and apply for funding?

Step one

Download and read the Funded Early Education Guidance. You must meet the standards as detailed in the guidance to able to deliver funded early education. Please note that there is no automatic inclusion in the Directory (see page 19 of the Guidance for details of exclusion criteria).

To be able to claim funding, you must have access to a computer or other device with a web browser interface and IT skills to include the use of online applications / software and Microsoft Excel.

To begin your application, send an expression of interest by email to ey.funding@merton.gov.uk

Step two

You will then be sent an email, which will include:

  • the Early Education Funding Agreement. This includes all the terms and conditions you must adhere to and details information you must provide
  • a provider competency checklist
  • a choice of dates and times for an Early Education Funding Authorisation Appointment

All providers wishing to offer funded Early Education must book an Authorisation Appointment before their application can continue.

For nurseries and preschools, we recommend that both the business owner (registered person) and the person who will be managing funding claims attend this appointment.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we are currently running Authorisation Appointments by telephone.

Step three

Once you have booked an Appointment you will be emailed:

  • A link to the Funded Early Education Guidance on this website page
  • a Bank Details form

In preparation for your Appointment, you must complete the following documents in full: 

  • Early Education Funding Agreement
  • Bank Details form

Step four

Attend your Appointment. If you do not attend your Appointment, your application cannot continue at this time

You will need to email the two documents above to the the email address given prior to your appointment. The appointment will last half an hour

The competency checklist will be completed by the Funding Team with you during your Appointment. You will be shown how the funding process works and be considered for approval to join the Directory of Providers.

Step five

If accepted, your setting will be added to the Merton Directory of Providers and you will be emailed confirmation of this along with confirmation of when you will be able to start delivering the funded hours.

Details of your setting and the funded entitlements you offer will be published on the Family Services Directory website to assist parents who are looking for a funded early education place.

If you have any questions about joining the Merton Directory of Providers of Funded Early Education, please email providers@merton.gov.uk

Supporting documents

to be completed with each parent for each funding period. Please ensure you keep the Parent Funding Agreement Form and give a copy to the parent.

  • Change Form - please use this form to notify us of changes to your business such as closure, change of owner or premises

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

Late starters

To claim funding for a child who started their place after the end of a Headcount week and before the start of a new funding period, you must complete and submit a Late Starter Collector. If you have more than one later starter, they can all be added to one Late Starter Collector.


Headcount weeks for 2020 to 2021 are

  • 18 to 22 May 2020 - CANCELLED. If you are in the Directory of Providers, please contact providers@merton.gov.uk if you have a query about your funding during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • 28 September to 2 October 2020
  • 18 to  22 January 2021

Funding timescales and dates are provided on page 14 of the Funded Early Education Guidance

See also

Training for the Early Education and Childcare Workforce for details of our offer of training, meetings, the Firm Foundations network of peer-to-peer support, advice and information.

Contact Us

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

Email: providers@merton.gov.uk