About the Nursery Milk Scheme

The Nursery Milk Scheme has been running since the 1940s, funding 1/3 pint (189ml) of milk a day for under-5s attending childcare.

Registering with the Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit

The registration process requires you to prove your eligibility by providing evidence of your Ofsted registration or equivalent.

To complete your registration we will ask you some questions about your setting, for example:

What type of establishment are you?
How many eligible children attend your setting?
Where do you source your milk?

Once your registration is complete you can claim for your milk reimbursement.

Eligibility requirements

  • A registered childminder
  • A registered day care provider
  • A local authority which provides day care
  • Those providing day care to children under 5 years in schools
  • Those providing day care in a nursery or creche for children (under 5 years) of management and staff of certain establishments (e.g. children’s homes, voluntary or community homes, NHS hospitals) which are exempt from registration should contact the NMRU to confirm their eligibility before registering with the scheme

  • Children under 5 years old who attend an eligible setting for 2 hours or more may receive 189ml (1/3 pint) of milk each day, free of charge.
  • Babies aged under 12 months may receive powdered infant formula made up to 189ml (1/3 pint) each day, free of charge.

  • Whole or semi-skimmed pasteurised cow’s milk.
  • Powdered infant formula for babies under 12 months from a specified list of brands.

Sourcing your milk

As an eligible childcare provider you can claim your milk reimbursement direct from the Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit (NMRU) or you can appoint an agent. If you decide to source your milk via an agent you are still required to register with the NMRU, as well as registering with your agent.

If you decide to register and claim direct from the NMRU, you can source your milk at your convenience from your local milk delivery, shop or supermarket. You will be asked to provide your bank details when you register. Once your claims have been approved for reimbursement, funds will be sent via BACS within 3 working days.

As a beneficiary of the Nursery Milk Scheme you will be asked to ensure value for money when sourcing your milk. The Department of Health encourages childcare settings to purchase milk at the best possible price to meet their requirements under the Nursery Milk Scheme. Purchasing milk at a local retailer and then re-claiming the cost may be cheaper than using a milk agent to supply milk.

Relationship with the Department of Health and funding

The Nursery Milk Scheme funds milk for approximately 1.5 million children under 5 years old. This is a Government funded scheme, costing the Department of Health and the Scottish and Welsh Governments approximately £70m per year. The Secretary of State for Health has a statutory obligation to provide the Nursery Milk Scheme.

The Nursery Milk Scheme is governed by The Welfare Food Regulations 1996.