The Department for Education (DfE) allocate and fund early years initial teacher training (EYITT) places each academic year. EYITT leads to the award of Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS).
DfE provide training bursaries, training grants and employer incentives to attract high-quality graduates to become early years teachers.
This funding can only be used to offer training programmes that help trainees to meet the teachers’ standards (early years). The training grant includes the costs of assessment to meet these standards.
DfE offer funding for 2 out of the 4 EYITT training routes.
Graduate entry route
This is for graduates studying full-time. Training is typically over a 1 year period.
EYITT providers will receive training grant funding of £7,000 to cover course fees.
Trainees with high academic achievement may be eligible to receive a training bursary. This will be paid to EYITT providers to forward to trainees.
Graduate employment based route
This is for graduates typically working part-time over a 1 year period:
in paid employment
in an early years setting
who need training and further experience to demonstrate the teachers’ standards (early years)
who have the right to work in the UK for the duration of the training
£14,000 is available for this route, made up of a:
£7,000 training grant for providers
£7,000 employer incentive for the trainee’s employer
Funding is not available from DfE for this route. Trainees should contact Student Finance England to see if they can receive a tuition fee or maintenance loan.
This route is for undergraduates who want to take a level 6 degree in an early childhood-related subject along with EYTS.
This route is full-time and takes 3 or 4 years.
Funding is not available from DfE for this route. This is a self-funded route for graduates who:
are very experienced at working with children from birth to 5 years old
can demonstrate the teachers’ standards (early years) without any further training
This could be an early years teacher who:
understands the early years foundation stage
Training bursaries are only available to trainees registered on the graduate entry route. Providers should use the trainee’s highest qualification to determine how much they will get, for example:
Tier 1, £5,000: first-class honours degree, doctoral degree
Tier 2, £4,000: 2.1 honours degree, master’s degree
Tier 3, £2,000: 2.2 honours degree
No bursary: third-class honours degree, third honours degree, ordinary degree, aegrotat, no first degree
Trainees who do not hold a degree are not eligible for a bursary.
If a trainee is ineligible for a bursary award but feels that there are extenuating circumstances which impacted their final result, this must be raised with the awarding body of the qualification. Providers must not apply any discretion in these cases.
If the outcome of a qualification, for example a masters or doctoral degree, is not yet known, bursary eligibility must be determined by the highest relevant academic award on the date the training course started. If the trainee is subsequently awarded a higher qualification, their bursary eligibility may be reassessed provided the award of this qualification was made on or before the date the course started.
Please contact [email protected] for further guidance in these circumstances.
Qualifications record keeping
Providers must keep accurate records of trainees’ qualifications and how they obtained them, especially for overseas qualifications.
Providers should record:
names of all trainees granted a bursary
details of how you assessed the trainees’ qualifications
DfE may ask to see these records at any time. Providers should keep copies of:
original trainee documentation or qualification certificates
correspondence between them and trainees
other documentation relating to the decision process
To receive a training bursary, trainees must:
meet the entry requirements
take a qualifying postgraduate Graduate Entry course
hold a UK first degree with at least second-class honours (or equivalent)
not already hold EYTS or Early Years Professional Status (EYPS)
not do any type of paid-teaching work which contributes to their training whilst undertaking a Graduate Entry course, for which the provider received early years funding
not be registered on another EYITT course
Providers must also:
notify trainees in writing that they are eligible
ensure that trainees continue to meet the criteria throughout the course
Training bursary payments
Providers should pay bursaries in 10 monthly instalments. This table shows providers how to calculate trainees’ monthly bursary instalments.
Trainees will be entitled to receive the first bursary payment if they are actively engaged on the EYITT programme on the first day of the month following their start date.
A trainee commencing their course in September 2023 will be entitled to their first payment if they are on the programme on 1 October. They will be entitled to the second payment if they are on the programme on 1 November respectively. This is regardless of the provider’s individual payment date.
Trainees on part-time or modular courses may agree a flexible monthly payment plan, which covers the duration of the part-time programme to avoid financial hardship for the trainee. However, providers must make sure that the bursary payments reflect the proportion of the course that the trainee has completed at any point.
As part-time courses will span more than one academic year, providers may award the bursary beyond the academic year 2023 to 2024. 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, for example 2024 to 2025.
Providers must use the training grant funding to meet all training costs for each trainee.
Providers must not:
charge any additional fees
switch allocated funding to other trainees
We calculate funding using the FTE principle:
0.5 or less
0.6 or more
The employer incentive is forwarded to the trainee’s employer. It is a contribution towards costs that employers incur, such as:
additional training costs and other overheads
Providers cannot use the employer incentive for:
maternity or paternity pay
costs not related to training such as buying equipment or internal training
costs that have occurred outside of the training period
If there any claims for Employer Incentive which are not covered by the above, please contact [email protected] for further advice.
Types of company
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.
Withdrawals and deferrals
If a trainee withdraws or defers, Providers must stop any further payments and update their records immediately in Register.
Providers can keep some funding if a trainee withdraws or defers. The amount retained should be proportional to how long the trainee attended the course before leaving.
Graduate employment based EYITT providers can keep 1/12th of the total training grant and employer incentive funding for each month or part month the trainee remained in training.
(Graduate employment based)
If a full- time trainee is employed from September 2023 and leaves in March 2024, you can retain 7/12ths of the Training Grant and Employer Incentive funding.
Graduate Entry trainees who withdraw or defer from a course will be entitled to be paid the training bursary for each month up to, and including, the month in which they formally withdraw. EYITT providers can also retain 1/10th of the total training grant for each month or part month the trainee remained in training.
If a full-time trainee starts in September 2023 and withdraws or defers in January 2024, they will be entitled to 4 payments in total as they were active on the course on:
1 October 2023
1 November 2023
1 December 2023
1 January 2024
Providers can also retain 4/10ths of the Training Grant funding.
In the event that a Graduate Entry trainee is absent through sickness, providers may only make one further bursary payment following the first day of absence. Providers may also retain an additional 1/10th of the Training Grant.
For Graduate Employment Based trainees, providers may retain an additional 1/12th of the Training Grant and Employer Incentive in this instance.
After this, the absence should be treated as a period of deferral and payments must stop with immediate effect.
DfE will recover any overpayments if a trainee withdraws or defers and will not reimburse providers for any payments they make in error. Any overpayments made to trainees or employers will then be an internal matter between providers and the trainee or employer.
Returning trainees who defer and then rejoin their original course, or take any advanced standing or credit to a new EYITT course, will only be eligible to receive the remaining EYITT funding (training grant or bursary) up to the value which was available in the year they started their original course. A bespoke payment schedule may be agreed for the remaining amount between providers and the trainee.
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 eligibility criteria and rates set in this guidance.
If the trainee received their full bursary 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 [email protected] for further advice.
International students can be offered funded EYITT places as long as the applicant meets:
all the academic entry criteria for the EYITT course
the relevant immigration permissions
Academic entry criteria
These criteria are:
They have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade C or 4 in the GCSE examinations in English, Mathematics and a science subject.
They have achieved a first degree of a UK higher education institution or equivalent qualification.
International students can be awarded EYTS in the usual way on completion.
Every international EYITT student must have the right to study or work in the UK and must hold the relevant visa before they start their EYITT course. This is in line with the standard process for all international students undertaking any course in an English university.
EYITT providers can find support on recruiting international students and the requirements needed. Please note that the further support section at the bottom of this guidance is not applicable to EYITT.
Potential international students can check visa eligibility at Check if you need a UK visa.
How providers will receive their funding
Providers will be sent a remittance advice from DfE when they have been paid, and providers can use Register to review their payment profile.
Providers will be paid in:
11 monthly BACS instalments from September to July
on the 3rd working day of the month
Providers will be paid different amounts until DfE have collected all their data, as set out in this table.
September to November 2023
Provisional rate based upon a proportion of providers’ allocation
December 2023 to July 2024
Actual rate based upon the trainee data providers submit to DfE
DfE will recover any overpayments by sending providers an invoice or deducting any future payments.
Grant funding agreement terms and conditions are included in the grant offer letter that DfE send to providers.
Providers must share data about trainee applications, recruitment and employment outcomes with us if DfE request it.
DfE may contact providers or visit their premises if we need to clarify any potential discrepancies, especially in relation to unclassified degrees.
Providers submit their EYITT trainee data via Register.
This is a condition of providers funding. DfE will use this data to calculate how much funding providers will get.
Providers must register all trainees with DfE by October 2023 and complete a validation declaration.
Providers must also submit the:
names of all their EYITT trainees
training courses they provide
outcomes of the training
Providers must update records in Register if a trainee:
changes their status
Providers must only use their funding as set out in this guidance.
If providers do not comply with the terms and conditions, DfE may withdraw Provider’s accreditation and funding.
Providers must hold full records of all payments made to employers of trainees who get the employer incentive. This information can be audited by DfE at anytime.
Providers will be asked to complete an Annex G in accordance with published guidance, containing income, expenditure and trainee data. This must be independently audited and countersigned by the Accounting Officer.
DfE will contact providers with further details of the Annex G process after the academic year 2022 to 2023.
DfE will use the Annex G to reconcile providers’ funding with their declared expenditure.
This also takes in to account the effect of trainees who have withdrawn or deferred so that DfE can recover any funding providers did not spend.
DfE may withdraw accreditation if providers do not fully comply with funding guidance. This includes:
monitoring and assurance requirements
Early years ITT funding cycle
Key dates in the bursary funding cycle.
June to July 2023
EYITT providers in their first year of delivery will be contacted in order to submit grant funding agreements (GFAs) to DfE. If other documents, such as letters of variation are required, DfE will contact individual EYITT providers separately.
A proportion of a Provider’s allocation is incorporated into the funding model, based upon overall recruitment. This allows DfE to make interim payments to providers from September to November 2023.
September to November 2023
The first 3 payments will be made if providers have a GFA in place. Payment profiles are available in Register during this period.
Provider’s Register data is incorporated into the funding model to confirm payments from December 2023.
This is based on providers trainee registration returns, submitted through Register, along the Graduate Entry and Graduate Employment Based routes on or before the census closure date.
December 2023 to January 2024
These payments will be made if providers have a GFA in place, based on their Register data.
Register is available for providers to see funding summaries and payment profiles.
February to April 2024
Provider’s Register data will be updated in the funding model in February 2024 to include any changes that they have submitted through Register since the census was published.
These payments will be made (if providers have a GFA in place) based on their Register data. Any subsequent changes to Provider’s Register data will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Register is available for providers to see their funding summaries and payment profiles.
May to July 2024
Provider’s Register data will be updated in the funding model in May 2024 to include any changes that they have submitted through Register in April 2024.
These payments will be made (if providers have a GFA in place) based on their Register data. Any subsequent changes to providers’ Register data will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Register is available for providers to see their funding summaries and payment profiles.
Assurance and audit cycle
Key events in the bursary funding cycle
June to July 2024
DfE will send indicative Annex G documents to providers in July 2024.
These should be returned by 31 July 2024.
September to December 2024
DfE will send final Annex G documents to providers at the end of the academic year. DfE will pre-populate this with the amount of funding providers have received, and the trainees that funding relates to.
The completed document, and Auditor’s report, will help providers to provide DfE with the necessary assurance for both the amount received and the purpose for which it was used. Further guidance on this process will be sent to providers at the same time.
These should be returned by 31 December 2024.
January to March 2025
In addition to the audited document and Auditor report, DfE also apply a risk-based sampling strategy to gain assurance of the Early Years ITT funding expenditure. This involves assurance checks through the collection of evidence on sampled trainees, including withdrawals, course information, degree class and payment information.
Recoveries and reimbursements will be completed through the payment profile, invoice or credit memo.
For queries on the administration of funding to providers or transactions, please contact [email protected]
For any general enquiries on EYITT policy, please contact us at [email protected]
For any specific queries on allocations, please contact us at [email protected]