Frequently asked questions

Registering to claim free milk

  • 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 crèche for children (under 5 years) of management and staff of certain establishments (eg 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.

You can register using our online registration.

You will need to provide:

  • Existing NMRU number (if previously registered with the NMRU)
  • Childcare provider setting name and address
  • Your contact details
  • Childcare registration certificate number
  • The childcare setting opening times
  • A best estimate of attendance figures of eligible children
  • How you purchase your milk
  • The name of your milk agent if you are using one
  • Your bank details if you are claiming directly

You will be asked to sign a declaration and agree to the rules of the Nursery Milk Scheme.

This is the unique number on your Ofsted (England), CIW (Wales) or Care Inspectorate (Scotland) registration certificate.

If you select Ofsted or Department for Education as your registration authority, please enter your 6 digit URN reference. If you are an Early Years setting, this will be your ‘EYxxxxxx’ number.

If you’re having problems locating your 6 digit URN, it can be found on the respective Ofsted or Department for Education websites, using your setting’s postcode.

If you do not have a certificate to upload, we will contact you if we need any further information in order to verify your registration status.

CMA registered child minders are not currently able to register or claim from the Nursery Milk Scheme because the regulations governing the scheme do not permit this. The Department for Health and Social Care (who are responsible for the Nursery Milk Scheme) will examine the options for enabling CMA child minders to claim. Further information will be published via the Nursery Milk Scheme website as soon as it is available.

Claiming for milk

Once you have fully registered with the Nursery Milk Scheme you will have access to your online account. You can make a claim by logging in to your account and navigating to claims.

Children under 5 years who attend the setting for two or more hours are entitled to 1/3 of a pint of milk each day they attend the setting.

Children who attend for less than two hours are not eligible under the Nursery Milk Scheme.

If a child attends the setting all day, they are only entitled to one 1/3 of a pint portion of milk.

You may be reimbursed for any pasteurised cows’ milk, including whole and semi-skimmed, under the Nursery Milk Scheme. The milk can be organic.

The Nursery Milk Scheme does not include fully-skimmed milk, goat’s milk, soya milk, lactose free milk, fluoridated milk or unpasteurised milk, milk with added flavours, colours, vitamins or other additives.

You can claim for powdered infant formula for babies aged under 12 months. The infant formula must be powdered, based on cows’ milk, satisfies the nutritional requirements of babies and is suitable from birth.

You may not claim for follow-on milk, ready-to-feed milk, anti-reflux, goat’s milk and plant milk.

The new NMRU system has been built to make claiming as easy as possible. The system will automatically convert pints or litres to eligible portions based on the attendance figures you have entered, you simply need to input your milk purchases as per your receipt.

When claiming for a ‘carton’ this refers to a single portion carton (189ml or 200ml). All other sized cartons or bottles should be claimed per litre or pint.

The Department of Health and Social Care 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.

As a childcare provider registered with the Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit, it is your responsibility to ensure the amount of milk being claimed for your setting is accurate. Even if you are claiming via an agent, it is your responsibility to enter your setting’s attendance data. A claim made via an agent will not be reimbursed until it has been validated against your attendance data.

No, claims can only be submitted on or after the claim end date.

To allow you to submit a claim before your setting closes for the holidays you are permitted to change the date on which certain claims end.

This option is only available to settings who have indicated they have term time opening.

You may need to change your setting details to ensure you have selected the correct opening pattern, you can do this in your online account.

Claims which have had a new end date chosen must still be submitted on or after this new claim end date.

The law on the Nursery Milk Scheme states that claims for reimbursement must be made within six months of the milk being provided. We would strongly encourage you to submit any claims you wish to make, especially if these relate to March 2020 or the months before that, as soon as possible.

If you do not there is a risk that your claim will be out of time and you will therefore not receive any reimbursement.

Receiving payments

Once your claim has been approved, payment will be made within 3 working days. Payments are made by BACS so it is important to ensure the NMRU has your bank details and that they are up to date. BACS is the only method used for making payments under the Nursery Milk Scheme.

You will have access to your online account to check all the details we hold for your childcare setting. We may ask for evidence before making the requested changes, for example an updated registration certificate, or proof of change of address or bank details.

It is the childcare provider’s responsibility to ensure all information is correct at the time of submitting a claim. You will be asked to sign a declaration to confirm all information is correct.

If you have recently taken ownership of a Childcare Provider that is already registered with the Nursery Milk Scheme, you must register for a new account. You will not be able to submit a claim on the previous owner’s Nursery Milk scheme account. Once you have registered a new account, you will be able to claim for Nursery Milk reimbursement from the date that you have registered. You will not be able to claim for any period prior to the new registration date.

Using an agent

Yes. You are required to register with the NMRU, providing the information specific to your childcare setting. You will also be asked to enter attendance data to enable the NMRU to verify claims made on your behalf by the milk agent. This can be done via your online account.

Yes. Firstly, you will need to end your contract with your milk agent. Once you have agreed a contract end date, you can update how you make a claim in your online account. Alternatively you can call our customer service team.

You need to contact your chosen milk agent, register with them and agree a date for them to start supplying you with milk. Once you have registered with your milk agent, you also need to register with the NMRU and select your agent during registration. If you have already registered with the NMRU, you can notify us of an agent appointment via your online account.

The Nursery Milk Scheme

On the 1st October 2015 new legislation stated “No amount shall be reimbursed in respect of milk supplied more than six months before the date of the claim for reimbursement”. This means that claims for reimbursement must be made within six months of the date on which the milk is given to the children.

When you register with the Nursery Milk Scheme the account number is emailed to you. It is also available in your online account.

You can request an email reminder of your username and a link to reset your password.

You will need to enter the registered email address for the account you are having difficulty accessing, the NMRU will then send an email to that address with information on how to gain access to your account.

You will only have an existing NMRU number if you were previously registered with the NMRU. In order to submit any outstanding claims relating to the last 6 months, you must provide your existing NMRU number during re-registration.

This will have been sent to you during your previous registration with the scheme. It can be found on any remittance advice or, if applicable, in communications from your milk agent advising you of the requirement to re-register with the scheme.

Further guidance

Example menus have been published to help early years providers plan healthy meals and snacks for infants and children in line with the government’s latest dietary recommendations. They include recipes and guidance to help show how providers can meet the Early Years Foundation Stage welfare requirement to provide “healthy, balanced and nutritious” meals, snacks and drinks.

Available at:

The NMRU is a Department of Health and Social Care funded scheme that reimburses the cost of milk supplied to children only. We strongly advise against the application of any additional fees by settings that are charged to parents on top of the actual cost of milk.