Early learning and childcare
Early learning and childcare settings offer education and childcare to children up to school age, they can be operated by the council, private businesses, voluntary organisations, or childminders.
Eligible 2 year olds and all 3 and 4 year olds may apply to have up to 1140 hours of funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) a year. 1140 hours is roughly the same amount of time as primary school hours when the hours are taken over term time.
You do not have to pay for funded Early Learning and Childcare, but you may wish to purchase additional hours at providers that offer this service.
ELC makes a big difference to children and boosts what they learn at home.
Benefits for children:
- improves language and social skills
- encourages your child to learn and play with other children
- helps them in their learning journey with benefits that they take forward into school
- provides a wide range of experience to excite and interest them
- encourages your child to be physically active whilst playing with other children
- lets your child lead their own learning and go at their own pace
Benefits for parents:
- gives parents the time to train, study or work
- provides time during the day to get other things done
- offers parents extra time to look for work or increase their working hours
- can give you ideas for fun learning experiences to try at home
- helps to support your child's learning and development at home
- is perfect for meeting other parents and sharing ideas
In Dumfries and Galloway children can access up to 1140 hours per year depending on your child's start date. You will be able to access funded Early Learning and Childcare at a provider of your choice depending on availability.
You can take the hours over term time (38 weeks per year), or all year round. The maximum hours available in most school nurseries per week is 30 hours.
- Children can access no more than 10 funded hours in any one day.
- All children accessing funded hours over lunch time may receive a free meal.
Most children start school between 4 years 6 months and 5 years old but it's possible to start children later in certain circumstances. These children may be entitled to an extra year of funded early learning and childcare. Children who turn 5 between the start of the school year in August to the last day in February are automatically entitled to defer entry and receive an extra year of funded early learning and childcare.
In January each year we will write to families detailing the process for registering their 3 year old for a nursery place. Please read over our Funded Early Learning and Childcare Privacy Notice. If you have missed registration or have just moved to the area, please contact your preferred Early Learning and Childcare Provider regarding registering your child.
If you are registering with a provider for ELC and not purchasing any additional hours, you should not be asked to make any up-front payments, including a deposit or any other payments in respect of the Funded ELC hours. No top up fees should be charged. Any additional charges related to Funded ELC hours should be optional and limited to, for example, costs of outings or extra-curricular activities.
As part of your Funded ELC offer your child will be entitled to one free meal and snack each day. If you are using two providers in any one day, you must let the providers know where your child is taking their one free meal/snack. You may be charged for any additional meals/snacks.
Click here to find out more about registration and the Local Authority Allocation Process.
Choosing a provider
You can send your child to the provider of your choice, subject to availibility. You can find the list of providers below.
You're welcome to arrange visits to providers to find out what is on offer before making your choice.
If you require a blended placement, please speak to your providers directly.
You can find out more through our Early Learning and Childcare Expansion Plan which takes account of the National guidance and is underpinned by the principles of quality, flexibility, accessibility, and affordability.
The plan sets out the local context and outlines how 1140 hours of nursery provision will be delivered within Dumfries and Galloway.
You can also email EarlyYearsSupport@dumgal.gov.uk to find out more.
Paying for additional hours
You may wish to pay for additional hours over and above your funded entitlements if they are available.
You may qualify for support with childcare costs in certain circumstances:
- Read Scottish Government guidance on the help that's available with childcare costs
- Use the GOV.UK calculator to get an idea of the help you could get with childcare costs
- Find out more about the Tax-Free Childcare Scheme
Scottish Child Payment
Scottish Child Payment conditions have changed.
This payment helps towards the costs of supporting your family. It's a weekly payment of £25 that you can get for every child you look after who's under 16 years of age. You'll get the payment every 4 weeks if your application is successful. It's a payment for families on certain benefits or tax credits.
Find out more at mygov website or call us on 0800 182 2222.
Best Start Grant
Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods are payments that help towards the costs of being pregnant or looking after a child. Best Start Grant is made up of 3 one-off payments:
- Pregnancy and Baby Payment
- Early Learning Payment
- School Age Payment
Best Start Foods is a prepaid card that can be used in shops or online to buy healthy foods like milk or fruit. The payments you can get now will depend on:
- how far along in your pregnancy you are
- how old your child is
From the 28 November 2022, the Scottish Government will award Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment and School Age Payment automatically to eligible families in receipt of Scottish Child Payment, without the need to apply. This means if a client is in receipt of Scottish Child Payment, they will receive these payments automatically once they become eligible for them.
There are also some important upcoming changes to the rules for Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment. From 14 November there will be new exceptions to the general rule that an individual is only entitled to the higher Pregnancy and Baby Payment in respect of their first child. This will provide greater support for families who are more likely to be starting from scratch without the items that the Pregnancy and Baby payment is intended to provide for.
You can find out more through the mygov.scot website
Scottish Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme
Purpose of the Scheme
The Scottish Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme ensures that as many children as possible attending eligible settings are in receipt of the milk and healthy snack each day, embedding the habit of regular consumption of high-quality dairy produce and fruit and vegetables from an early age. The purpose of the Scheme is to support improvement in children's health in the earliest years, which is crucial in tackling health inequalities.
Eligibility for the Scheme
Childcare settings which are registered with the Care Inspectorate and which provide care to eligible children (babies to children not yet attending primary school) for 2 hours or more per day are eligible to apply to join the Scheme. This includes all children not just funded children.
Under the Scheme, an eligible child (babies to children not yet attending primary school) who is attending childcare for more than 2 hours per day should receive once in the day, the following benefit:
- 189 mls of first infant formula for children under 12 months
- 189mls (1/3 pint) - or a 200ml container- of plain fresh cow's milk (whole milk for children 1 year and over, including the option of semi-skimmed milk for children 2 years and over) ;
- or, where children cannot consume cow's milk for medical, ethical or religious reasons, plain fresh goat or sheep milk (whole milk for children 1 year and over or to include semi- skimmed milk for children 2 years),
- or where children cannot consume cow's milk, goat's milk and sheep's milk for medical, ethical or religious reasons a specified unsweetened calcium-enriched non-dairy alternative;
- AND a healthy snack portion ( fruit or vegetables) per child per day.
Childcare providers should offer cow's milk to children except where children may not drink this for medical, ethical or religious reasons. In these instances, settings should offer a sheep or goats milk, or where those are not acceptable, a specified, unsweetened non-dairy alternative may be offered (details on specification will be included in the guidance). First infant formula can be provided for children up to the age of 12 months.
Where a child attends two or more providers in one day, you must let the provider know where your child is taking their milk and healthy snack.
Funding for the Scheme will be provided via the local authority which will confirm the payment arrangements. Funding provided via the Scheme must be used for the specified benefit only. Families should not be charged for a benefit which has been funded via the Scheme.
A childcare provider that is no longer entitled to a payment under the Scheme due to a change in circumstances must inform the Local Authority (acting on behalf of Scottish Ministers) of that change as soon as reasonably practicable.
Registered childcare providers must have regard to any guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers with respect to the operation of the Scheme. Please read the full information on the scheme using the link below: This will be updated as more information becomes available.
Provision of information
Registered childcare providers must provide specified information as requested by the Local Authority in relation to the Scheme. Information that may be required is listed within the regulations.
How to apply (Registered Childcare Providers Only)
Please complete the link below to apply for this scheme if you are a registered Day Care of Children's Services Provider and offer care for more than 2 hours in a day. Parents need not apply.
If you have any queries, please email EarlyYearsSupport@dumgal.gov.uk. We will collate these into a Q and A sheet and issue to all providers.
Find a provider
We have published a list of council nurseries, other settings and childminders who are registered to provide the funded provision in Dumfries and Galloway. This provider list will be updated regularly.
Annandale and Eskdale
- Council nurseries in Annandale and Eskdale
- Other funded settings in Annandale and Eskdale
- Childminders in Annandale and Eskdale
- Council nurseries in the Stewartry
- Other funded settings in the Stewartry
- Childminders in the Stewartry
Council nurseries in Annandale and Eskdale
Beattock Primary, Beattock, DG10 9RB
Canonbie Primary, Canonbie, DG14 0XA
Eastriggs Primary, Eastriggs, DG12 6PZ
Gretna Primary, Gretna, DG16 5AG
Hecklegirth Primary, Annan, DG12 6HY
Hoddom Primary, Ecclefechan, DG11 3DS
Langholm Primary, Langholm, DG13 0BL
Lochmaben Primary, Lochmaben, DG11 1NR
Lockerbie Primary, Lockerbie, DG11 2AT
Moffat School, Moffat, DG10 9QF
Newington Primary, Annan, DG12 6LA
Other funded settings in Annandale and Eskdale
Annan Community Centre, St John's Road, Annan, DG12 6AP
Eastriggs and Dornock Playgroup
Nelson House, Melbourne Avenue, Eastriggs, DG12 6PP
Jaybees Childcare Ltd
Blacklocks Vennel, Lochmaben, Lockerbie, DG11 1NP
Langholm Playcare Ltd
Community Centre, Charles Street, Langholm, DG13 0AA
Harcourt Place, Lockerbie, DG11 2AH
St Columba's Playgroup
Church Hall, Scotts Street, Annan, DG12 6JG
Sparklers Private Nursery - Annan
18 Greencroft Wynd, Annan, DG12 6BG
2 to 5 year olds 7am - 6pm
The Rectory, Annan Road, Gretna, DG16 5DH
Wise Owls Nursery 2 to 5 year olds 8am - 6pm
Ivy House, 65-67 High Street, Moffat, DG10 9HG
Childminders in Annandale and Eskdale
2 to 5 year olds 24 hours
2 to 5 year olds 7am - 6pm
Lois Lane 2 to 5 year olds 8am - 6pm
Council nurseries in Nithsdale
3 to 5 year olds 8:30am - 15:30pm
Calside Primary, Dumfries, DG1 4HB
Cargenbridge Primary, Dumfries, DG2 8LL
Closeburn Primary, Closeburn, DG3 5HP
Collin Primary, Dumfries, DG1 4JE
Georgetown Primary, Dumfries, DG1 4EJ
Heathhall Primary, Dumfries, DG1 3QZ
Kelloholm Primary, Kelloholm, DG4 6QJ
Laurieknowe Primary, Dumfries, DG2 7AJ
Lincluden Primary, Dumfries, DG2 0PU
Locharbriggs Primary, Dumfries, DG1 1UW
Noblehill Primary, Dumfries, DG1 3HB
North West Community Campus
Alloway Road, Dumfries, DG2 9DF
|St Andrew's Nursery|
3 to 5 year olds 8:30am - 15:30pm
St Andrew's Primary, Dumfries, DG1 4EX
|St Teresa's Nursery|
3 to 5 year olds 8:30am - 15:30pm
St Teresa's Primary, Dumfries, DG2 0DY
2 to 5 year olds 8:30am - 15:30pm
Sanquhar Primary, Sanquhar, DG4 6BD
Troqueer Primary, Dumfries, DG2 7LR
Wallace Hall Nursery
Wallace Hall Primary, Thornhill, DG3 5DS
Other funded settings in Nithsdale
16 Laurieknowe, Dumfries, DG2 7AJ
Dunscore Pre-school Centre
Mon-Thur 8:45am - 15:10pm
Fri 8:45am - 13:00pm
The Old School, Dunscore, Dumfries, DG2 0SY
Heathhall, Dumfries, DG1 3NT
Gracie Drew Private Nursery
5 Robison Drive, Dumfries, DG2 7RR
Happy Faces Nursery
21/25 Calside Road, Dumfries, DG1 4HA
89-93 St Michael's Street, Dumfries, DG1 2PY
Kids Ahoy 2 to 5 year olds 6am - 9:30pm
Moss End Site
Huntingdon Avenue, Dumfries, DG1 1NQ
Units 4-8, Herries Court, Dumfries, DG1 3TL
Malory Day Nursery
20 Shakespeare Street, Dumfries, DG2 0LA
Malory House Nursery
20 Catherine Street, Dumfries, DG1 1JF
Max Play 2
NW Resource Centre, Lincluden, Dumfries, DG2 0BX
Lochside Road, Dumfries, DG2 OEL
Chapel Street, Moniaive, Thornhill, DG3 4EJ
The Orchard Nature Nursery Ltd
Eskdale House, Crichton, Bankend Road, Dumfries, DG1 4UQ
Penpont, Tynron and Keir Playgroup
Penpont Primary School, School Lane, Penpont, DG3 4BH
8:55am (8:45am by arrangement) - 3:15pm
1 George Street, Dumfries, DG1 1EA
Childminders in Nithsdale
Bonnie Cowperthwaite 2 to 5 year olds Mon, Wed, Thur, Fri 8-5 and Tue 3-5
Kelly Green 2 to 5 year olds 7am - 6pm
2 to 5 year olds 7:30am - 5:30pm
Melissa Thomas 2 to 5 year olds 24 hours
Nikki Hatfield 2 to 5 year olds 8am - 6pm
Rachel Flockhart 2 to 5 year olds 7am - 7pm
Council nurseries in the Stewartry
Castle Douglas Nursery
Castle Douglas Primary, Castle Douglas, DG7 1JA
Dalbeattie Primary, Dalbeattie, DG5 4HR
Dalry School, Dalry, DG7 3UX
Gatehouse Primary, Gatehouse, DG7 2JX
Kirkcudbright Primary, Kirkcudbright, DG6 4JT
Other funded settings in the Stewartry
Crossmichael and Parton Playgroup
Glenlochar Community Centre, Glenlochar, Crossmichael, DG7 2NZ
Little Inspirations Childcare Centre, Copland Street, Dalbeattie, DG5 4EX
Haugh of Urr Nursery
Hardgate Primary, Haugh of Urr, DG7 3LD
Johnston Nursery Ltd 2 to 5 year olds 7:30am - 6pm
Former Johnston Primary School, St Mary's Street, Kirkcudbright, DG6 4EG
18 Queen Street, Castle Douglas, DG7 1HU
3A Station Yard, Oakwell Road, Castle Douglas, DG7 1LA
Memorial Hall, Springholm, DG7 3LJ
Childminders in the Stewartry
Angela Glover 2 to 5 year olds 7am - 6pm
Barbara Greenfield 2 to 5 year olds 7:30am - 6:30pm
Clare Steele 2 to 5 year olds 7am - 6pm
Laurieston, Castle Douglas
Tanya Gardiner 2 to 5 year olds 8:30am - 5:30pm
Council nurseries in Wigtownshire
Belmont Primary, Stranraer, DG9 7BH
Creetown Primary, Creetown, DG8 7JR
Drummore Primary, Drummore, DG9 9PY
Glenluce Primary, Glenluce, DG8 0JE
Kirkcowan Primary, Kirkcowan, DG8 0HP
Park Primary, Stranraer, DG9 7NW
Penninghame Primary, Newton Stewart, DG8 6HD
Rephad Primary, Stranraer, DG9 8BW
Sandhead Primary, Sandhead, DG9 9JD
Sheuchan Primary, Stranraer, DG9 0AL
Whithorn Primary, Whithorn, DG8 8PN
Wigtown Primary, Wigtown, DG8 9JE
Other funded settings in Wigtownshire
Busy Bees Nursery
Cluaran, London Road, Stranraer, DG9 8BF
Kirkcolm Under 5s Nursery
Kirkcolm Primary, Kirkcolm, DG9 0NS
Minnigaff Community Nursery
Minnigaff Primary, Minnigaff, Newton Stewart, DG8 6PE
Port William Playgroup
Port William Primary, Port William, Newton Stewart, DG8 9JX
Childminders in Wigtownshire
Isle of Whithorn
Emma Dunseith 2 to 5 year olds Monday 8-5:30, Tuesday to Thursday 8-5:15
Minnigaff, Newton Stewart
Shona Herries 2 to 5 year olds 7am - 6pm
2 to 5 year olds 8am - 6pm