The Nursery Education Fund

The Nursery Education Fund will fund the cost of some early education for three and four year olds in Oxfordshire. This might be at:

  • a nursery (this includes school and academy nurseries and classes)
  • a preschool
  • an accredited childminder

There is, however, no guarantee of being able to have a place with a particular provider.

What is my child entitled to?

When your child is eligible, they can have a total of 570 hours per year. Some providers offer a “stretched entitlement” across the whole year. Others offer 15 hours per week for 38 weeks per year and this will be for a minimum of 3 days and for 2½ - 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.

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 I apply for a free place?

Parents should contact their preferred provider directly. This includes applying for a school nursery place. In Comper's case, then contact us directly.


Will I have to pay towards my child's place?

No. You do not have to pay towards the basic free entitlement.

For non-school /academy settings there may be additional charges not related to the free entitlement.

What about a deposit?

You can be asked for a deposit if you are taking up any place that is not part of the free entitlement.

What about paying for lunch?

You can't be asked to purchase a lunch - you should be able to give your child a packed lunch or snacks. If you do want to buy a lunch you should agree the cost of this in advance.

What about extra hours?

You do not have to purchase additional hours in order to get the free hours. The rates that settings charge for additional hours or services is between the parent and provider. You should receive a statement clearly stating what hours are funded and what hours you are paying for.

How many hours can my child have in one day?

Your child can have a maximum of 6 hours free in any one day.

Can I split the funding between two settings?

It is generally better for a child if they attend just one setting only. However where this is not possible then you may split it if providers agree. However, schools and academies nurseries would expect a child to attend for the full 15 hours.

If my child attends a school nursery or class does that mean that they automatically have a place at the school (Comper)?

No. Admission for a school place is made separately. Parents should apply for a school place for starting school in reception via the admissions procedure.

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