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Free nursery places

Free places in Council-run nurseries

Every child is entitled to a free, part-time nursery place from the term following their third birthday - this place cannot be split between two nurseries.

There are three terms in a nursery year:

  • Intake 1: August-December. Children who are three years old before 31 August.
  • Intake 2: January-March. Children who are three years old before 31 December.
  • Intake 3: March-June. Children who are three years old before the last day of February. 

The point at which a child becomes three years old determines the amount of terms of pre-school education available.

  • For example, if your child's birthday is 20 October, they will be entitled to their funded nursery place from the following January.

Your child can access their nursery place from their third birthday if the nursery place has been allocated and spaces are available. There is a charge for this until they are eligible for their funded pre-school education place. 

  • For example, if your child's birthday is 20 October, they will be entitled to their funded nursery place from the following January, however, you could purchase a nursery place from 20th October and pay a charge - with the charge ending the following January, when the child will be entitled to their funded nursery place.

Please note that all parents will be required to contribute £0.50 per day towards the nursery's snack and toy fund (£2.50 per week). 

Free places in partnership nurseries

We work in partnership with many private nurseries to provide free pre-school education places for eligible three and four-year-olds.

Eligible children are entitled to 600 hours of free pre-school education over 38 weeks.

The normal pattern of attendance is 5 x 3 hrs 10 minutes sessions per week, either mornings or afternoons, with no more that 2 sessions in any one day and a one hour break for lunch.

If your child is attending a partnership nursery, or if you contact one of the partnership nurseries, they will give you an application form for a funded place.

You can find details of local authority nursery classes, centres and schools and partnership nurseries in the nursery directory.

Early Years

Phone: 0303 123 1023
Email: Early Years