Nursery funding for three and four year olds

Nursery education funding (NEF) procedures

How is the payment processed?

The funding is paid directly to the childcare provider.

When can my child start to receive NEF?

The table below shows the earliest term which your child can start nursery based on their date of birth:

Child turns 3 between Earliest term eligible
1st April to 31st August Autumn term (starting in September)
1st September to 31st December Spring term (starting in January)
1st January to 31st March Summer term (stating in April)

Do I need to register by a certain date to receive the NEF?

Yes. Each term we set a ‘headcount week’ usually during the second or third week of term. Children registered and attending during the headcount week will receive the full term’s funding.  If a child joins after headcount week, but before half term, they will receive funding for the weeks they attend. If a child joins after half term they will not be able to claim the funding until the following term.

Can I be charged a fee for The NEF?

NEF must be provided completely free with no conditions, You can't be charged for any part of the free hours.  You can be charged for any time that you use in addition to the specified free hours. The childcare provider must provide a bill which shows clearly what time has been given completely free and what additional time has been provided and charged for at the published rates.

Can I split the NEF between two childcare providers?

Yes, the funding can be split between a maximum of two participating providers at any one time within Harrow or another borough. If your child attends more than one setting it is your responsibility to inform them both. However the total combined number of hours claimed by both settings can not exceed the maximum of 15 hours per week.  

How long will the NEF be provided for?

The funding will continue until compulsory school age. Compulsory school age is the beginning of the term after a child's fifth birthday. 

Where can I get more information? 



Ofsted registers and inspects childcare for children aged from birth to 17 years.

Address: The National Business Unit
Piccadilly Gate
Store Street
M1 2WD

Telephone: 0300 123 1231