Funded Early Learning and Childcare for 3- and 4-year-olds

The number of funded hours and start dates depend on your child's date of birth.

Details of when your child will be eligible to start is detailed below.

Start dates for free childcare

Date of child's birthday

Start date

1 March 2019 to 28 February 2020

Year 2
22 August 2023

1 March 2020 to 31 August 2020

Year 1
22 August 2023

1 September 2020 to 31 December 2020

Year 1
9 January 2024

1 January 2021 to 28 February 2021

Year 1
8 April 2024

How to register

In January you will receive a letter and registration form for your 3-year-old which you will need to complete and take to the provider of your choice with your child's birth certificate and proof of address by Friday 3 February 2023. If your child is already accessing Early Learning and Childcare your provider will give you an appropriate form. Parents who wish to change provider for August 2023 should re-register with a new provider. 

How places are allocated

Places at council nurseries are allocated based on priority groupings, from 1 (highest priority) to 13 (lowest priority):

  1. Year 1 and Year 2 children with additional support needs including, Looked After Children/Care Experienced.
  2. Children who have deferred entry to school and are applying to the same nursery.
  3. Year 2 children residing in families within the nursery zone where both parents/carers or lone parents require the place for work/training purposes. 
  4. Year 1 children residing in families within the nursey zone where both parents/carers or lone parents require the place for work/training purposes.
  5. Year 2 children residing in families within the nursey zone with siblings already in the school/nursery.
  6. Year 1 children residing in families within the nursey zone with siblings already in the school/nursery.
  7. Year 2 Children within the nursery zone.
  8. Deferred entry within the Nursery Zone that are transferring from another nursery.
  9. Year 1 Children within the nursery zone.
  10. Children out with the nursery's zone who are applying to the same nursery they attended in their first year and who have siblings in the school/nursery.
  11. Children out with the nursery's zone who have siblings in the school/nursery.
  12. Children out with the nursery's zone who are applying to the same nursery they attended in their first year.
  13. Children out with the nursery's zone.

Please use the Near Me app to check if your address is within the Nursey Zone you are applying to. 

What happens next

Providers will write to tell you their decision. Parents/carers registering in February this year will be informed by the end of May/start of June.

Should your Local Authority nursery be oversubscribed an officer will contact you directly to discuss options. 

Following registration, if your details change you must contact the provider(s) as soon as possible so that any changes can be made.

Page last updated: 29/11/2022
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