Free nursery education
The Nursery Education Fund (NEF) ensures all three and four year olds access foundation stage education
What is free early education?
The Government will fund the cost of some early education for 3 and 4 year olds in Oxfordshire. Your child will be able to have a free place at providers who are registered to take part in the scheme and have places available. These providers may include:
- accredited childminder (who is part of the approved childminder network)
Your child will get a good quality early years education, regardless of which type of setting they attend, although there's no guarantee of getting a place with a particular provider.
What are the benefits for my child?
The first few years of your child’s life are when they develop fastest and will learn more than any other time in life. It is at this time that children develop the foundations for lifelong learning. This is just one of the many benefits of early years education.
What is my child entitled to?
Your child , when eligible, is entitled to 15 hours of early education a week for 38 weeks of the year, meaning a total of 570 hours per year. Some providers offer the entitlement flexibly, enabling you to take up the entitlement over a minimum of 3 days, with a minimum claim of 2½ hours and a maximum of 6 hours per day.
When will my child qualify?
A child becomes eligible for a free place from 1 September, 1 January or 1 April following their third birthday until they reach statutory school age, or start full time education in school reception classes before reaching compulsory school age.
So, children who are three between:
- 1 April and 31 August will have a free place from the following September
- 1 September and 31 December will have a free place from the following January
- 1 January and 31 March will have a free place from the following April
How do find a place for my child?
A number of providers are registered with us for nursery education funding, including accredited childminders. For more information about what is available in your area:
- contact Oxfordshire Family Information Service on 08452 26 26 36
- complete an online request form
- view a list of early education providers in your area
How do I apply for a free place?
To apply contact your preferred setting and check that they offer the free early education entitlement and that a place is available. You will need to sign a parental declaration form and there may be an additional contract that they require you to sign. Further details on how to apply can be found on the frequently asked questions page.
Frequently asked questions
Common questions about the free nursery education fund can be found on our frequently asked questions page.
This page was last updated on January 5, 2012