To meet the needs of parents, some childcare providers may offer the free early education stretched across the year.
How a stretched offer works
The total number of hours available through free early education is 570 hours a year. This is then stretched across the year, rather than across the school term. For those who are eligible for the extended entitlement, the total number of hours is 1140 a year.
The childcare provider may offer the opportunity to stretch the hours in the following ways:
- Over 48 weeks
- Over 51 weeks
When taking up the offer of free early education, the parent is required to sign a parental declaration with the childcare provider. This will agree the way the funding will be given. If the agreement is to stretch the hours, this will apply to the whole of the year not just for the term.
If the agreement is to stretch the hours over the 48 or 51 weeks and the parent wishes to move to another setting, the new setting must be able to offer the same stretched arrangements.
The parental agreement terms and conditions will be given when signing up for free early education with a childcare provider. A copy is attached for download.