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Help with Fees


If you’d like your child to attend a Mama Bear’s Day Nursery and Pre-school you may be eligible for assistance with the cost through a number of initiatives. Details of current schemes can be found on this page. You are welcome to talk to your Nursery Manager, or alternatively please contact our Finance Department on 0117 958 2030 or by email, if you have any further questions.

Alternatively, for a quick overview visit the excellent Childcare Choices FAQ page here: Childcare entitlements- frequently asked questions for parents (1).docx - Google Docs (

Early Years Entitlement for children from nine months old

Every child from the term after their third birthday is entitled to up to 570 hours funded nursery provision a year until the term before they start school. These sessions are known as the ‘Universal Entitlement’.

Qualifying two year olds and, from September 2024, qualifying children from nine months old are also entitled to up to 570 hours funded nursery provision a year until the term before they start school. These sessions are known as the ‘Expanded Entitlement’.

In addition, working parents / carers of 3 and 4 year olds who meet the qualifying criteria are eligible for an additional 570 hours (1,140 in total) funded nursery provision a year until the term before they start school. These sessions are known as the ‘Extended Entitlement’.

Parents / carers apply for the Universal Entitlement via the nursery and must complete the Early Years Entitlement Registration Form. Application for the Extended and Expanded Entitlements require an eligibility code, which parents / carers must first apply for on-line through the Government’s Childcare Portal - Alternatively the direct link is here. All codes must be applied for by the parent / carer, issued to us by the parent / carer and validated by us before the start of term - ie by 31st August (Autumn Term), 22nd December (Spring Term), 31st March (Summer Term). We strongly recommend that you do this in good time as late applications or invalid codes may mean that your child misses out on their funded place for that term. 

All entitlements are subject to Government and Local Authority terms and conditions which we are obliged to work within and which may change without notice.

How we deliver the Early Years Entitlement

It is Mama Bear’s policy to support parents / carers by offering the Early Years Entitlement flexibly, either as stand-alone sessions (Early Years Entitlement-only) or as part of a broader booking pattern (fee-paying nursery place). Please note that in order to manage demand and to do this sustainably, we are no longer offering any new term time only sessions and now only provide EYE sessions on an all year round (47.5 weeks p.a.) basis. Availability for funded places is given first to children already in our care, their siblings and then to new clients on a first-come-first-served basis. The dates of the funded weeks vary from year to year and are published below.

Under the Universal and Expanded Entitlements the first 12 hours per week are funded for 47.5 weeks of the year. The funded hours per week are doubled to 24 for those qualifying for the Extended Entitlement. Parents / carers may choose from any of our available sessions, with a maximum of 10 funded hours in any one day.

What we charge for

The Early Years Entitlement funding is intended to deliver free, high quality, flexible childcare. It is not intended to pay for the costs of meals, drinks, snacks, other consumables or additional activities.

To cover this a consumables charge is made for funded sessions across all age groups. This includes but is not limited to meals, snacks and drinks.

This charge is waived for parents / carers in receipt of the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) or where the child is funded through the low / no income (disadvantaged 2 year old) route.

As an alternative to the hourly charge, we would therefore encourage parents / carers who are in receipt of benefits or whose children have been in care or adopted from care to apply for the EYPP.

The Upcoming expansion

Starting from April 2024, existing childcare support will be expanded in phases. By September 2025, most working families with children under the age of 5 will be entitled to 30 hours of childcare support.

From April 2024, eligible working parents of 2-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours childcare support from the term after their second birthday.

From September 2024, 15 hours childcare support will be extended to eligible working parents of children from the age of 9 months to 3-year-olds from the term after they turn 9 months old.

From September 2025, eligible working parents of children between nine months and five years old will be entitled to 30 hours of childcare a week from the term after their qualifying birthday.

As with the existing Entitlement, these hours must be spread over 47.5 weeks per year (12 / 24 hours per week). The same terms and conditions as per the Early Years Entitlement will apply (see above).

Please note that the Funding applies from the term after the child's qualifying birthday and is contingent on the parent / carer applying for and providing us with a valid code in time for us to verify before the start of term. A place cannot be guaranteed until this procedure has been completed.

For more information, to register for updates and to apply for your code please visit

Childcare Choices

The Government’s Childcare Choices website is a useful source of information if you are looking for support with your childcare costs. Childcare Choices brings together all the government childcare offers in one place. Use the Childcare Calculator at to see what offers are available to support you and your family. Other schemes include Tax-Free Childcare and Free Extended Entitlement. Here is a guide to some useful information from Childcare Choices: Top Things Parents Need to Know

To find out more about what's on offer go to the Childcare Choices Website today.

Tax-free childcare

This is a Government scheme available for all working families, including those who are self-employed. For every £8 you pay in, the Government will add £2 (up to £2,000 per child). This can be used to pay for sessions in addition to the Free Entitlement. More information can be found on the Childcare Service website. Here is a document on more information on Tax-free childcare: Parents Guide to Tax-free Childcare

Childcare Vouchers

We accept vouchers from all the major and local suppliers, including Accor, Care4, B&NES, Sodexho, Faircare, All Save, Kiddi Vouchers, Early Years, Family Matters, Fideliti, Imagine/Mid Counties Co-op, Kids Unlimited, Busy Bees, Leapfrog, Bristol City Council (CIS), BAND and South Glos Council. Please get in touch if you have vouchers from another source.

Childcare element of Working Tax Credit

The Working Tax Credit has a Childcare element that will pay up to 70% of your childcare costs, up to £175 per week for families with childcare costs for one child and £300 per week for families with two or more children, subject to status.  Parents / carers must be working a minimum of 16 hours per week.

Financial support for young parents and students

Care to Learn aims to give financial support up to £5,000 per child per year to teenage parents (including dads), who want to continue their education or training, or are returning to education or training and need help with the cost of their childcare. £32 million is also available through the Learner Support Scheme to help students with childcare costs. Priority is given to single parents and those on low incomes, and the fund can be used to support the costs of any registered childcare.

For more information on help with fees for student parents, as well as lots of other useful related information click here to visit the website.

Want more information?

Visit for the Family and Childcare Trust 's excellent guide. Includes information for all families, including working parents, families living with a disability and student parents.

How your fees are spent