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DfE publishes additional guidance on early entitlement funding

CalculatorThe Department for Education has published additional guidance on how local authorities can redistribute early entitlement funding during the coronavirus outbreak, as well as further detail on how providers should calculate their 'usual' income for the purposes of a Job Retention Scheme claim.

Early entitlement funding

The new guidance confirms that local authorities have the power to redistribute early entitlement funding away from providers who have temporarily closed to those that are open, if this is necessary to ensure sufficient places in the local area.

It states that this should only be done in exceptional circumstances, and when other options, such as the use of the local authority's contingency fund or uncommitted central spend, have been exhausted.

The guidance adds that local authorities should give "appropriate notice" to providers of any plans to reduce early entitlement funding levels.

Job Retention Scheme

The guidance also contains new detail on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. 

It confirms that providers should initially use February 2020 to represent their 'usual' income when calculating the proportion of their salary bill that can be covered by the scheme - this is "to provide the closest 'usual' month before any coronavirus-related closures or absences".

The guidance adds that where local authority payments are termly, providers should "calculate on the basis of the income which could reasonably be attributed to February from their full termly payment" adding that "local authorities will need to inform providers of an indicative termly budget share for this purpose if they have not already done so".

It also states that "where income and outgoings were artificially affected by half-term, providers should apply average income/costs across the 3 non-half-term weeks to the whole month".

Read the full guidance - Use of free early education entitlements funding during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Useful links 

FAQS: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and early years funding

Covid-19: Business Advice - Common Questions