Free early education for 2 to 4 year olds

All 3 to 4-year-olds in England can get 570 free hours per year and eligible 2 year olds. Free places are available at eligible childminders, pre-schools and day nurseries (along with some out of school clubs and holiday play schemes meeting extra criteria).
Children naturally learn by playing, exploring their world, being creative and finding things out. Research has shown that children who attend a high quality childcare enhance their all-round development and are predicted better grades as they progress through school. The longer they attend the greater the advantage they have. For more details  here is the link to our website pages on Free childcare
We aim to be top quartile of statistical neighbours by 2022.

March 2020 performance - 2 year olds

The take up for 2 year olds has increased by 3% over the year and West Sussex is in the top quartile nationally and 2nd quartile against statistical neighbours.
A communication was sent to all Early Year’s providers and to all School Heads in February 2020. 
 The purpose of this communication was to remind all providers and schools about the importance of census completion as well as confirming who should complete which census and for what purpose (Early Years Census, Schools Census and the School Level Annual Census). 
 It is too early to determine what impact this communication may have had because we won’t see our published Census results until June.
Our 2020-21 milestone target is 76.25%

March 2020 performance - 3-4 year olds

The take up for 3 & 4 year olds has decreased by 1%. Reasons for include varying levels of employment, family based child-care, unfunded provision, out-of-county employment and childcare.
Analysis shows that the decline in the number of 4 year olds accessing FE is due to a combination of 7 Independent schools not submitting a 2019 return via the Spring School Census and 3 state funded schools showing a decline of the equivalent of 1 class each in the number of 4 year olds on roll.  This latter issue may have been influenced by a decline of 116 in the birth rate for 2014 compared to 2013. 
It is not statutory for Independent Schools to complete the school census and they are only required to complete the early years census if they are claiming Free Entitlement Funding. We plan to send a communication to these schools outlining the differences and to clarify any misconceptions.
Our 2020-21 milestone target is 98%


The work to analyse the basis and completeness of the data is scheduled for this quarter and planned to be completed for reporting in January 2020. In particular, analysing the underlying population data used by the DfE specifically for the 4 year old cohort as the population has increased and it needs to be compared to that of the ONS mid-term estimates.