School Nurseries Capital Fund (SNCF)

Status:  Open to applications

Application Deadline: 22 November 2018


Grants are available for organisations working closely together and in partnership with a local authority to create more school-based nursery places for disadvantaged children in England.

Value Notes

The funding available for this bid round is £30 million.

The level of funding has not been provided.

Extended Description

The Department for Education has established the £30 million School Nurseries Capital Fund to create new high-quality school-based nursery places for 2, 3 and 4 year olds to deliver the Government’s commitment to build more school-based nurseries and to boost social mobility.

Acknowledging that the first few years of a child’s life are critical to shaping their future development, the Government wants to provide equality of opportunity for every child, regardless of background or where they live. Good early years education is seen as the cornerstone of social mobility.

The funding is to be allocated to the most disadvantaged areas in England. This will ensure the most disadvantaged children have access to high-quality school-based nursery provision.

Latest Information

Applications are now being accepted with a deadline of 22 November 2018. Successful applicants will be notified by 28 February 2019.                           

Key Criteria

This is open to schools, academies, multi-academy trusts, educational institutions, charities or any other interested organisations working closely with each other and in partnership with their local authorities to develop an application.

The following types of provider are eligible to bid: primary schools, infant schools, and all-through schools, either with or without existing nursery provision. Schools must currently be in existence to be eligible.

All schools must have a proven track record with Ofsted.

Joint applications from local authorities and their partners that span local authority boundaries will be considered. A single local authority will need to be the lead on the application.

There is particular interest in proposals that include testing and evaluating approaches aimed at closing the disadvantage gap in the early years and boosting social mobility.

Eligible Expenditure

When considering which projects to put forward in an application, the school(s), organisation(s), and local authority involved in developing a project should note the following:

  • As part of their bid, local authorities may submit applications for new build nurseries (including modular/temporary buildings) or extensions, refurbishments or conversions of surplus school capacity, or existing buildings including creating kitchen facilities.
  • Information and communication technology (ICT) hardware or software, fixtures, fittings and equipment (FF&E), and ICT infrastructure (cabling, wireless and switching) are eligible if they form part of a new build project.


The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Independent schools and maintained nursery schools.
  • Projects that involve the purchase of land.
  • Costs incurred for child transportation to/from providers and administration costs.
  • Staffing costs.
  • Any ad hoc and trivial purchases that are a follow-on from the initial project scope. These should be funded out of existing budgets or from funding from alternative sources.

Application Procedure

Guidance notes can be found on the GOV.UK website.

There is a two-stage application process.

Application forms must be submitted by the local authority to be considered.

Organisations that wish to contact the Department for Education with enquiries about the programme should use the 'Enquiry Form' on the SNCF Guidance information page of the GOV.UK website.

Addresses and contacts

Application forms may be available to download their website.
Contact details:
Department for Education (DFE)
0370 000 2288