Funding for early education and childcare providers (NEF)

Offering funded early education places to 2, 3 & 4 year olds

We are able to help you register your provision with the Local Authority so you can claim early entitlement funding, or nursery education funding (NEF) for 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds.

The maximum number of hours per child is 15 hours per week over 38 weeks (570 hours per year) or less if using the all year round provision. The following criteria apply to all claims:

  • A maximum of 10 hours per day
  • Between the hours of 6am and 8pm
  • A maximum of two providers may be used

If a child is claiming the extended funding they will be eligible for up to 15 hours universal funding and 15 hours extended funding per week for a maximum of 38 weeks.

The table below indicates when a child will be eligible for Nursery Education Funding.

Eligibility for Nursery Education Funding
Child born between Funding commences from
1 January to 31 March Summer term*
1 April to 31 August Autumn term*
1 September to 31 December Spring term*
  *Please note term dates vary

Download and view NEF forms, information and guidance

Contact us for more information.

Information for settings

Please find the link for the Early Years Provider Portal here:

Synergy Early Years Portal

If you are a new provider wishing to register for NEF, please email and we will send you the relevant forms.

If you have forgotten your login details, please email

There are two headcount periods within each term. If you have submitted your headcount to the NEF team and require changes to be made, please email  and they will reopen it in the next headcount period later in the term.

NEF forms

Parent declaration

A parent declaration should be completed for every child claiming Nursery Education Funding. A new declaration must be completed if the child changes address or their funded hours.

Pattern of attendance

This form should be used to help record the number of hours a provider is claiming for each child. Having accurate information on this form will ensure the child does not exceed the 570/1140 hour entitlement.

If a child is claiming at more than one provider, the Pattern of Attendance must be used to indicate what hours each provider is claiming and whether they are universal hours or extended hours.

Early leavers

If a child leaves your setting before the end of the term, please ensure you have amended the number of funded weeks you are claiming for on your headcount. If the change has occurred outside of a headcount window, please email the change to the NEF team.

Please enter the child's last day of attendance in the comments box on the individual child record within Sentinel.

30 hours free childcare

Parents can make an application by creating a gateway account and completing the HMRC eligibility check on the Childcare Choices website

Settings can check the validity of their reference code (DERN) on the Synergy Early Years Portal. Please ensure that you check the validity of the DERN before the child starts at your setting.

Parents with issues relating to their DERN

Parents will need to contact the HMRC helpline on 0300 1234097 directly if they have any issues relating to their DERN.

Parents can access the extended funding from the term following the date the application was made.

Nursery Education Funding (NEF) contacts for NEF payment queries:

Privacy notice for nursery education funding