Early years initial teacher training: funding guidance for academic years 2018 to 2019

Funding guidance for early years initial teacher training (EYITT) providers for 2018 to 2019.


The Department for Education (DfE) funds early years initial teacher training (EYITT) places each academic year.

Funding is available to high quality graduates who are working towards early years teacher standard (EYTS). It covers:

  • training grants (including the cost of assessment)
  • training bursaries

All funding is paid directly to the EYITT provider. Eligible trainees will receive their bursary payments from the EYITT provider.

Trainees and potential applicants should visit the Get Into Teaching website and our list of EYITT training providers for more information.

Employers should visit EYITT: a guide for employers.

Training routes and funding

DfE offers four separate EYITT training routes:

  • graduate entry
  • graduate employment based
  • undergraduate
  • assessment only

The funding arrangements for each route are detailed below.

Graduate entry

Graduates studying full-time may be eligible for funding. Training is typically over a 1 year period.

A training grant of £7,000 is available to the EYITT provider to cover course fees.

Trainees with high academic achievement may be eligible to receive a training bursary.

Graduate employment based

Graduates in paid employment may be eligible for funding if they’re in an early years setting and require further training and experience to demonstrate the early years teachers’ standards.

Training is part-time and typically takes place over a 1 year period.

Funding of £14,000 is available for this route. This is made up of:

  • a training grant of £7,000 to cover all training course fees
  • an employer incentive of £7,000

The employer incentive is intended to contribute towards costs incurred by the employer during the training period. This could include:

  • supply cover
  • salary enhancements
  • employment costs
  • National Insurance and other overheads

It must not be used for sickness, maternity or paternity pay arrangements. This is the employer’s responsibility.

The EYITT provider is responsible for forwarding the funding to the trainee’s employer.

Undergraduate entry

Funding is not available from DfE for this route.

This route is for those who wish to undertake a level 6 degree in an early childhood related subject along with EYTS. It is typically a full time 3 or 4 year route for those entering the profession.

Eligible trainees can access funding through tuition fee and maintenance loans from Student Finance England.

Assessment only

Funding is not available from DfE for this route.

This is a self-funded route for graduates with a large amount of experience working with children from birth to 5 years old who can demonstrate the early years teachers’ standards without further training.

For example, an early years teacher who has practiced overseas and has the knowledge and understanding of the early years foundation stage.

Training bursary rates

Training bursaries are only available for trainees registered on the graduate entry route.

The bursaries awarded over the course of the training are £5,000 for tier 1, £4,000 for tier 2 and £2,000 for tier 3.

EYITT providers should take the trainee’s highest academic qualification that aligns with a bursary tier.

Bursary tiers

Tier 1

  • 1st class honours degree
  • doctoral degree
  • medical master’s degree (distinction)

Tier 2

  • 2:1 honours degree
  • master’s degree

Tier 3

  • 2:2 honours degree

No bursary will be paid if the trainee’s highest qualification is a:

  • 3rd class honours degree
  • ordinary degree
  • aegrotat
  • no first degree

Training bursary eligibility

Trainees must meet the eligibility from the first day of their course. You must ensure that trainees meet, and continue to meet, the following criteria:

  • meet all the entry requirements
  • be taking a qualifying postgraduate EYITT course
  • hold a UK first degree with at least second-class honours or equivalent
  • be notified by you, the EYITT provider, in writing that they are eligible
  • comply with the bursary conditions you set
  • do not already hold EYTS or Early Years Professional Status (EYPS)
  • do not be undertaking paid early years teaching work when receiving the bursary
  • do not be undertaking any other EYITT course

You must determine whether a trainee is eligible to receive a bursary and whether they continue to receive it.

Recording eligibility

EYITT providers must keep records of all trainees who receive bursaries, including:

  • details of their previous academic qualifications
  • how the qualification was verified

This includes any overseas qualifications.

DfE may request these details at any point during the academic year for the purpose of monitoring quality. This could include:

  • copies of original documentation provided by trainees including qualification certificates
  • correspondence related to the decision making process

Funding principles

Trainees who are recruited on to allocated places are funded for the number of days between their start date and the planned end date of their training (unless the trainee withdraws). This includes weekends and bank holidays. It also applies to trainees who start their training during the current academic year but are not due to complete until a later academic year.

Cost of training

All training costs must be met from the training grant funding provided by DfE per trainee. Additional fees cannot be charged.

Assigning funded places

EYITT funding is ring-fenced for each individual route allocation.

For example, graduate entry allocated places must not be used to recruit or fund graduate employment based trainees.

You may only use your allocated places for trainees who are eligible for our funding as defined in your grant offer agreement. All trainees on funded routes must have the right to study or work in the UK for at least the duration of training.

Bursary payments

Trainees must still be enrolled on the course on the date of each payment to be eligible. If they have deferred or withdrawn they will not be eligible. The payment date is at the discretion of the EYITT provider.

These principles also apply for trainees who start their EYITT courses later in the academic year. The payments must not start before the trainee commences their course.

Full time courses

A monthly payment should be made, depending on the bursary award.

Bursary award Monthly instalments
£5,000 £500
£4,000 £400
£2,000 £200

Payments should be made between the October and July of the academic year. The payment date is at the discretion of the provider.

In exceptional circumstances, a different period can be used. For example, September to July of the academic year. The period must be at least 10 months in length. Payments should be equally distributed where possible.

If a trainee successfully completes the programme before the minimum 10 month period, they can be paid the balance of their bursary in the month of completion.

Part time courses

For part time or modular courses, providers can pay the bursary in a number of ways. You should make sure that:

  • any one instalment is not more than 50% of the bursary award
  • payments are weighted to avoid cash flow problems for trainees

As part time courses will span more than 1 academic year, providers are reminded that any bursary payments made after 31 July of the academic year will be included as expenditure for the following academic year.

There are a number of possible payment patterns for part time or modular courses.

Tier 1 - £5,000 could be paid as:

  • 2 payments of £2,500 at the start and end of the course
  • 2 payments of £1,666 and one of £1,668 during the course
  • a flexible payment plan for modular courses ensuring that no more than £2,500 is paid in 1 instalment

Tier 2 - £4,000 could be paid as:

  • 2 payments of £2,000 at the start and end of the course
  • 2 payments of £1,333 and one of £1,334 during the course
  • a flexible payment plan for modular courses ensuring that no more than £2,000 is paid in 1 instalment

Tier 3 - £2,000 could be paid as:

  • two equal payments of £1,000 at the start and end of the course
  • two payments of £666 and one of £668 during the course
  • a flexible payment plan for modular courses ensuring that no more than £1,000 is paid in 1 instalment

Withdrawals and deferrals

EYITT providers can claim funding for trainees between their start date and the date of their withdrawal or deferral. This does not need to be repaid.

For example, if a trainee starts their programme in September 2018 and withdraws in February 2019, the provider can keep 1/11th of the training grant for each month during this period.

If the trainee was completing a graduate employment based programme, the employer can keep 1/11th of the employer incentive funding for each month during this period as well.

The remaining funding (March to July 2019) will be recovered from the provider. This will be part of the reconciliation process at the end of the academic year.

Eligible trainees who withdraw or defer from a course may be entitled to be paid the training bursary for each month up to and including the month in which they formally withdrew.

These trainees are only entitled to receive a bursary payment in their month of withdrawal if they were still on the course at the time the EYITT provider made the payment.

For example, if an EYITT provider’s contracted payment date is the 15th of the month, and the trainee is registered as withdrawing from the 3rd of the month, the trainee is not entitled to receive their instalment for the month of withdrawal.

However, if the trainee withdraws on or after the 15th, the trainee may receive the payment in the month of withdrawal. EYITT providers should not make any pro rata training bursary payments to trainees.

In the event of withdrawal or deferral, the EYITT provider must suspend all bursary payments to the trainee immediately, and ensure that their records are updated in the teacher training portal (TTP) - formerly the EYITT data management system - detailing the formal withdrawal date.

DfE will reclaim any overpayments made to EYITT providers after the trainee has withdrawn or deferred, and will not reimburse EYITT providers that pay the training bursary in error to trainees. DfE expects EYITT providers to recover any bursary overpayments from trainees.

Returning trainees

Returning trainees who defer and then restart their original course, or transfer any advanced standing or credit on to a new EYITT course, will only be eligible to receive the remaining EYITT funding (training grant and/or bursary) up to the value which was available in the academic year they started their original course.

A bespoke payment schedule may be agreed for the remaining EYITT funding between the provider, trainee and employer.

Where the length of the course is increased, the bursary and training grant instalments can be amended to reflect the longer timeframe. The total amounts however are fixed and cannot be increased.

If a trainee leaves one EYITT course and joins a new one with no transfer of standing or credit from their previous course, this is viewed as a separate route to EYTS. They will be entitled to receive a new bursary and training grant, subject to the relevant eligibility criteria and rates.

If the trainee received their full bursary and/or training grant entitlement during a previous EYITT programme, this may impact their eligibility to receive further EYITT funding while completing a new programme. Please contact for further advice.

Funding mechanisms

DfE will distribute funding to EYITT providers directly. It’s the responsibility of the providers to distribute this funding to employers or trainees.

DfE’s grant funding agreement underpins the funding arrangements for EYITT. This includes arrangements to recover unused funding and assurance processes. Your grant offer letter will include financial expectations.

DfE will provide funding in 11 monthly instalments from September to July of the academic year. We will make the monthly payments through BACS via the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). You will receive payment within the first seven working days of each month.

Recipients of grant funding will receive remittance advice from DWP containing the amount of funding to be paid and payment details. You will be able to review your payment profile with the teacher training portal.

The first 3 payments from September to November 2018 will be based on a 50% fill rate of your early years allocation. From December 2018 to July 2019, your funding level will change to reflect the actual number of trainees recruited.

DfE will review allocated training bursary funding that you receive and reconcile this amount with the trainee records submitted at each census point. Funding will be adjusted at these points to meet the actual amount required. Where funding received has exceeded the total amount required for actual trainees, we will recover the excess by means of invoice or by offsetting against future payments.

Evidence that the monies are being spent appropriately will be sought through an audit grant report process (the annual grant return). Assurance could also be gained through internal processes linked to the accreditation process, such as internal visits and EYITT provider health checks.

Data collection and management

You are required to share data on trainee applications, recruitment and employment outcomes with us.

Recruitment data

You are required to inform us of your monthly recruitment data as outlined in your grant offer letter. Failure to supply this data within the required timeline may affect any future allocation decisions and could lead to the withholding of grant funding.

Your monthly data should be submitted to us via the online portal.

Early years ITT trainee data

You are required to record details of all your EYITT trainees, training programmes, and training outcomes on our TTP.

You will be expected to keep your trainee data up to date at all times and it should accurately reflect any changes to the status of trainees, such as withdrawals and deferments.

All trainees must be registered with us and all records finalised and correct by the end of the census collection period in October 2018. You will be asked to complete a validation declaration at this point to confirm that all entries have been checked as correct.

This data is a condition of funding. We will use the information you provided to calculate the amount of funding that you are entitled to claim for the academic year.

Financial assurance and monitoring

DfE has a responsibility to ensure that public funds and assets generated from the allocation of training places are properly managed, in line with the grant funding agreement held by providers.

You will be required to satisfy us that you are operating all EYITT funding in accordance with the terms and conditions of funding. These are set out in this funding guidance and should be adhered to in conjunction with your grant funding agreement terms and conditions.

You are ultimately responsible to us for the proper stewardship of the funds paid to you. The requirements include keeping proper accounting records and preparation of accounts, consistent with our requirements.

Recording bursary payments

You must hold full records of all payments made to trainees in receipt of bursaries. This includes evidence of trainees’ academic qualifications achieved prior to starting EYITT courses.

We reserve the right to request this evidence from you at any point during the academic year, for the purpose of monitoring quality and funding assurance. This may include copies of original documentation provided by trainees, including qualification certificates.

Recording employer incentives

You must hold full records of all payments made to employers of trainees in receipt of employer incentives. The trainee must be an employee of the early years business.

Sole traders and business partners are not eligible for an employer incentive as they are classed as self-employed by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

If the early years business is a limited company the owners and those working for the company are not classed as self-employed and can be eligible for an employer incentive.

Financial reporting requirements

We expect you to produce monthly management accounts and have robust monitoring arrangements in place, including producing budget reports for the governing body.

We may ask for financial information and conduct financial audits at any stage of the course by visiting your premises. In the event of any variances, particularly with regard to unclassified degrees, we reserve the right to contact you to:

  • request explanations of the variances
  • seek further information

We reserve the right to withdraw your funding if you do not comply with financial reporting requirements.

Audit grant report (AGR)

All providers will be asked to complete an AGR in accordance with published guidance. It has to be independently audited and countersigned by the accounting officer. We will use this information to reconcile the funding you have received with your declared expenditure, taking into account withdrawn and deferred trainees.

We will publish more detailed guidance regarding the AGR at the end of academic year. This will help you comply with the grant funding agreement requirements.

Prior to the AGR, we will request an interim return so that DfE knows what is likely to be spent. This should include indicative expenditure figures for:

  • training grants
  • training bursaries
  • employer incentives


We may withdraw accreditation if you do not fully comply with funding guidance. This includes:

  • data collection
  • monitoring and assurance requirements
Published 18 May 2018