The Government has taken the decision to introduce the Early Years Single Funding Formula (EYSFF) reforms in every local authority from April 2011, following successful implementation in more than 70 pathfinder areas this year. For too long, Early Years funding has been inconsistent and patchy across the country with too many children, particularly from disadvantaged families, not accessing any or all of their free nursery education hours. The EYSFF will require all local authorities to be transparent about the funding they are providing for free nursery education for three- and four-year-olds – so that parents and providers are able to hold them to account.

Ministers announced on 7 June 2010 that we will be extending the free nursery places for three- and four-year-olds, increasing it to 15 hours per week from September 2010. We also want to make sure it reaches the most vulnerable families who stand to benefit from it the most.

On 26 July, ministers launched a school funding consultation to seek views on how best to operate a pupil premium that will provide additional funding for more disadvantaged pupils to ensure they benefit from the same opportunities as other pupils. The Government has pledged to ensure that funding is focused on supporting those children from disadvantaged families who benefit most from nursery education. For that reason, every local early years formula must include a deprivation supplement so that more money will be targeted at the children who need it most.

Details of pilot/pathfinder formulas appear in LAs’ section 251 statement tables 3 and 4. The s251 workbooks for all local authorities are available on the Department website. In addition, we have been able to collate a short summary of pathfinder formulae as a comparative tool for local authorities still developing their formula.


We have produced guidance to support LAs in developing and implementing their local formula, based on the learning and experiences of the pathfinder authorities. This is available to download from this page. We will be streamlining this guidance in the coming year.

Pathfinder programme

We are encouraging all LAs to learn from the experiences of LAs involved in the pathfinder programme, to help them implement their formula successfully from April 2011.

Case studies from the pathfinders can be found on a dedicated page within this section about the EYSFF pathfinder programme.