Funding for the Early Years and Childcare Entitlement

Becoming a provider who delivers funded entitlement places in Bolton

Ofsted Registration

In order to deliver the funded entitlement early education and childcare for children under 8 for more than 2 hours a day, providers must ensure that they are registered with Ofsted, or with a childminder agency.

To look after any children under the age of 5, providers must register on the Early Years Register to only look after children aged 5 and under. The Early Years Register is for children from birth up to the 31 August after their fifth birthday.

Please note: If you wish to offer childcare to children over this age, you must also register on the Childcare Register in order to look after any children under age 8.

IMPORTANT: You can get an unlimited fine, be sent to prison, or both if you provide childminding or daycare services without being registered.

More information on Ofsted Registration (including Childminders) and schools registering a new nursery provision can be found in Register with Ofsted.

For further guidance on registering as a childminder and childcare provider, please see Ofsted guidance. Alternatively for information on childminder agencies, please see Childminder agencies: list of agencies.

All providers registered on the Early Years register must follow the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.


Bolton Council Registration and Funding Agreement

Bolton Council administers payment to Providers on behalf of the Department for Education for the early years free entitlements:

  • the funded 15 hour entitlement for eligible two year olds
  • the 15 hour entitlement for parents of three and four year olds (the universal entitlement) and
  • the 30 hours funded entitlement for working parents of three and four year olds (extended entitlement)

Bolton Council also administers payment for:

  • Early Years Inclusion fund and Disability Access Fund
  • Early Years Pupil Premium 

To become a funded provider, you must first complete an online registration form. When your registration form has been received, the local authority will check that you are eligible to deliver the entitlement by checking the information you have given against information available to the local authority.

Providers are required to enter into a legal agreement with the Council through the Bolton Council Funding Agreement.

At a glance flowchart explaining the Bolton Council registration process and funding agreements

Funded Childcare

Ensuring sufficient education and childcare places in Bolton

Providers will be expected to provide termly updates on places and vacancies in their provision.

Under Section 6 of the Childcare Act 2006, local authorities are required by legislation to;

‘Secure sufficient childcare, so far as is reasonably practicable, for working parents, or parents who are studying or training for employment, for children aged 0-14 (or up to 18 for disabled children).’

This duty includes the need for local authorities to make sure that sufficient childcare is available for eligible two year olds and all three and four year olds, in respect of their funded early education entitlement.

The childcare sufficiency assessment is a summary of the childcare position in Bolton and provides useful information for:

  • Parents – to understand the types of childcare on offer in Bolton, to look specifically at the number of childcare places by provider and help to inform decisions about childcare options for their family.
  • Childcare providers – to understand the local childcare market and to help them make informed choices about future developments for their business.
  • Councillors and Executive Members – to have clarity on services available for local residents and to support the decision making process.
  • Local authority officers – to have a clear picture about childcare in Bolton, to tailor support for providers and to ensure that there is a balanced childcare market meeting local demand.


New to Childminding Training

Please note this must be completed BEFORE Ofsted registration.

Childminders can access further support when setting up their childcare business through Bolton Council’s Childminder Training Courses. In addition, you will need to attend a Paediatric First Aid Training course, Safeguarding training and complete a food hygiene course.

For further information please contact the Start well Service on 01204 338149 or email .

Please note that other organisations also offer new childminders support including PACEY.

Please note that you must attend the Bolton Safeguarding Children Course which is provided by Bolton Council.

If you register with a childminding agency, all training will be provided through the agency.


Business Support E-learning

Bolton Council offers two e-learning modules: 

  1. An Introduction for New Start-ups. This is aimed at people who want to set up a childcare business for the first time.
  2. An Introduction to Early Years Business Planning. This is aimed at existing childcare providers who want to know more about how business planning can help them build a successful childcare business. It is also suitable for new start-ups.

Access to these free modules is via our e-learning platform.


Other Business Support Services

Other Business Support Services are highlighted on the Start Well Web, Business Support Services webpages.