Early learning and childcare
Early learning and childcare is education and care for young children, delivered in a caring and nurturing setting.
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.
The way that services will operate currently cannot be the same in every setting due to the variety of different buildings and outdoor spaces that our nurseries and childcare settings operate out of. Services must take account of the national guidance and they have put plans in place for children to attend Early Learning and Childcare safely.
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.
Choosing a provider
You can send your child to the provider of your choice. 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 (The current situation may not allow this).
Blended placements (defined as arrangements where children are attending two or more settings), should be avoided, but may be permitted where absolutely necessary. If you require a blended placement, please speak to your providers directly.
This position is based on the latest public health advice and may be reviewed as advice continues to develop.
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 once this becomes a statutory duty.
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
Spring Hardship Payment
The Spring Hardship Payment is a Scottish Government grant which will see a payment of £100 made to all children who receive free meals in a school or early learning and childcare setting due to household low income or qualifying benefits.
Who will receive the payment?
- Younger children in an early learning and childcare setting who receive free meals due to low income or qualifying benefits.
Is the payment per family or per child?
- A payment of £100 will be made for each eligible child in the household.
How will the payment be made?
- Payment will be made automatically for all eligible children who previously received the Winter Hardship Payment and or those eligible who were in receipt of Direct payment in recompense for missed free meals. There is no need to reapply. We will use the payment details we currently hold for you.
- If your payment details have changed since you received your Winter Hardship Payment/payment in recompense of missed free meals you must tell us as soon as possible using this form:
When will I receive the payment?
- All eligible children who previously received the Winter Hardship Payment or who have applied for and been awarded free school meals by 22 March 2021, will receive the payment on Friday 26 March 2021. We will use the bank details we currently hold for you.
- All eligible children who apply for and are awarded free school meals after 22 March 2021 will receive the payment by Friday 9 April 2021.
I have not applied for free school meals but I think I qualify. Will I get the payment?
- To qualify for the Spring Hardship Payment your application for free school meals must be submitted by the end of school term on Friday 26th March.
- New applications can be made online using our existing Clothing Grant and Free School Meals application form.
- If you apply before 26 March 2021 and qualify, you will be awarded free school meals and will receive £100 payment as soon as possible after application.
- If you apply after 26 March 2021 and qualify, you will be awarded free school meals but will not be eligible for the £100 payment.
My child meets the eligibility criteria for children in early learning, do I need to apply?
- If you previously received the direct payment in recompense for missed free meals (from January 2021) then you do not need to re-apply. If you are eligible, your payment will be made automatically on Friday 26 March.
- If you did not receive direct payment in recompense for missed free meals but feel you qualify for the Spring Hardship Payment you can make a new application using our online application form:
The application is quick and easy to complete, you will need your national insurance number and bank account details.
You may be asked to provide proof of your eligibility. For example, if you are in receipt of Universal Credit you will need to provide a screenshot of your most recent assessment period showing your full award. If you receive Child Tax Credit, you will need to provide a copy of your Tax Credit Letter of Award when you apply.
- If your application is approved before 22 March your payment will be made on Friday 26 March.
- If your application is approved after 22 March your payment will be made by early April.
What is the deadline for applications?
To qualify for the £100 payment all applications must be submitted by the end of school term on Friday 26 March 2021.
Scottish Child Payment
This new benefit will open on Monday 15 February 2021. It's a payment for families on certain benefits or tax credits.
Eligible families will get £40 every four weeks for each child under six.
Find out more at mygov website or call us on 0800 182 2222.
Best Start Grant
Best Start Grants is a Scottish Government scheme which awards 3 cash payments to parents and carers. You can apply if:
- you are a parent or carer
- if you have a child who is the right age for a payment
- if you're in work or not but as long as you are on certain payments or tax credits
You can find out more and apply through the mygov.scot website
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 Annadale 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
Main Road, Ecclefechan, DG11 3BU
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
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
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
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
Melissa Thomas 2 to 5 year olds 24 hours
Nikki Hatfield 2 to 5 year olds 8am - 6pm
Rachel Cochrane 2 to 5 year olds 7am - 7pm
Shelley Gibson 2 to 5 year olds 8am - 6pm
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
Dalbeattie Primary School, Southwick Road, Dalbeattie, DG5 4HR
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
Kelton Church Hall, Kelton, Castle Douglas, DG7 1RU
3A Station Yard, Oakwell Road, Castle Douglas, DG7 1LA
Memorial Hall, Springholm, DG7 3LJ
Treasure Island Nursery
15 Queen Street, Castle Douglas, DG7 1HU
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
Kaighley Cruickshanks 2 to 5 year olds 8am - 6pm
Gatehouse of Fleet, 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
firstname.lastname@example.org 01776 704274
Isle of Whithorn
Emma Dunseith 2 to 5 year olds 7am - 7pm
Castle Kennedy, Stranraer
Minnigaff, Newton Stewart
Shona Herries 2 to 5 year olds 7am - 6pm