Free 3 year old places FAQ

Children playing round a craft table
Craft activities in the preschool room at Wellingborough Day Nursery

The Nursery Education Grant is issued by the government to pay for children to go to nursery or preschool, no matter what their financial background. Many studies have shown that preschool children benefit greatly from playing and learning in a professional childcare environment.

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions we are asked.


When is can my child use the grant?
All children have to be registered and be attending nursery on the week of “Headcount Day,” a date predetermined by the Local Authority. They can claim from the funding period after their third birthday.

When are the funding periods?
These run from:
1 September – 31 December
1 January – 31 March
1 April to 31 August.

How do I claim the NEG?
The Local Authority sends the relevant Parental Contract forms to the nursery, preschool or childminder for each funding period. They then ask you to fill in a form and supply proof of your child’s name and postcode. The Local Authority sends the grant directly to the childcare setting.

The book corner
The book corner

How much can I claim?
Your entitlement is worked out in terms of “hours” rather than “pounds.” A day nursery will usually offer a maximum of 11 hours a week over 52 weeks a year, whilst a preschool which closes in the school holidays, will offer a maximum of 15 hours a week over 38 weeks. You can decide which kind of childcare will suit your family best.

My child attends two settings. Can I claim the NEG at both?
Yes, but only up to the maximums allowed above. You must complete a Parental Contract form for each provider and you must declare you’re claiming hours elsewhere.

Free 3 year old places FAQ
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