Eligibility and Criteria

In order to be deemed eligible for assessment for funding, applicants will be required to demonstrate that:

  • The setting is a facilitator or registered provider of early years education and learning, focused on children 0-4 years;
  • The project/setting is registered with the Health and Social Care Trust This does not apply to facilitators;
  • Financial Need;
  • Cost per child - Applicants must meet an average cost per child place criterion of no more than £1,500 per child place (or £2000 in exceptional circumstances). This is the cost of providing services for one child place for the whole funding period. As funding is allocated from April to March and the aim is to ensure optimum level of provision to recipient children, it is expected that for a standard programme the funding period will be 12 months.
    Cost per child is calculated by dividing the total amount requested from the Fund by the number of child places in the proposed project. Where the duration of a project is less than the full funding period (e.g. a Summer Scheme) the cost per child place should be pro-rated accordingly, i.e. a three month project should have a cost per child of no more than 3/12 months x £1,500 = £375.
  • Additionality – the applicant is not receiving funding from another source for the provision in the application and that, without grant funding, the project could not begin, or could only begin at a later date, or could only begin on a smaller scale.

N.B: This can be activity for which the setting has received Pathway or other funding in 2017/18 – providing they have not secured funding for the proposed service since receipt of Pathway/ other Fund. Activity could include a new cohort of children receiving similar activity to that for which support was provided in 2017/18.

  • Quality improvement targets should be in practice to confirm incremental quality development.
  • The project is compliant with the requirements of The Minimum Standards for Childminding and Day Care;
  • The project has appropriate governance and safeguarding policies in place;
  • No potential for duplication of existing early years and childcare facilities in their area;
  • No potential for displacement of existing early years and childcare facilities in their area;

Stream A
A competitive funding application process open to all providers or facilitators with the following conditions in place:

  • Awards will be made for over £15,000 up to £30,000.
  • Confirmation of need for the project and the funding requested.
  • Proposed projects will be assessed against the 7 Fund criteria.

Stream B
A competitive funding application process open to all providers or facilitators with the following conditions in place:

  • Awards will be made up to £15,000.
  • Confirmation of need for the project and the funding requested.
  • Proposed projects will be assessed against the 4 priority Fund criteria.

The criteria in bold are to be most heavily weighted;
i. Providing quality education and learning services in areas of social disadvantage to address both educational and social disadvantage; 1
ii. Ensuring children with additional needs receive appropriate early years support;
iii. Provision of services/support to children at risk of harm;
iv. Addressing access to/improvement of infrastructure of services in rural areas and other areas where there is little or no provision;
v. Improving access for children with additional needs;
vi. Improving the integration and building of community relations from an early age;
vii. Delivering community-based services using a social economy model;

Whilst your project does not need to meet all criteria, the more criteria your project meets and the higher level of score you achieve, the more likely it is to receive funding.

1 This will be assessed using the most disadvantaged (Super Output) areas, as defined by the NI Multiple Deprivation Measure 2017 and the Education Skills and Training Deprivation ranking 2017.

To check your postcodes in Super Output Areas please visit www.ninis2.nisra.gov.uk

Gold Steps to Excellence Logo
Department of Education