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Registering and applying for a school nursery place

How to register and apply for a school nursery place

There are 2 steps to registering and applying for a school nursery place, you'll need to:

  • register your interest in a nursery place
  • complete an application form. We will send this to you in the year your child is due to start nursery

Step 1: Register for a school nursery place

You can register for a school nursery place at any time. Places are allocated based on the date that you register so the earlier you apply the more chance you have of getting a place.

To register, fill out the Register your interest in a nursery place​ form send it to the school where you want a nursery place (you can list more than one nursery). 

Only complete one form and return it to your first choice of school by post, email or in person.

Where to register

There is no catchment area priority for nursery places, so you can apply to any school. 

If your catchment primary school has a nursery, we suggest to apply there so that your child might not need to move to a different primary school when they s​tart in reception.

If your child gets a nursery place at a certain school, it doesn’t guarantee or give them priority for a place in that school's reception class.

List of primary schools

Step 2: Application form and allocation process

If you have registered with a school, you’ll be sent an application form the year your child is due to start nursery. You need to complete and return it to your first choice school. Your information will be sent to Children, Young People, Education and Skills who allocate nursery places, this usually takes place by March.

Application form for a Nursery class place in 2019

How school nursery places are allocated

If nursery schools are full, we allocate places using the criteria:

  1. children for whom safeguarding is a concern / LAC
  2. children with social, educational, physical or emotional needs (eg medical conditions, disability or health needs)
  3. children from families with particular needs (eg brothers or sisters with special needs, multiple births, parental illness, night shift workers)
  4. children with brothers and sisters at the school
  5. time between date of birth and date of application

The nursery induction process

Once your child is given a nursery place, you will be offered a home visit as part of the induction process. This is a chance for you and your child to the meet the nursery teacher or officer.

We will also invite you and your child to visit the nursery before the school year starts, so that you can see the nursery and build relationships with the nursery staff.

When your child can start nursery

Your child can start nursery in the school yea​r that they turn four. If their birthday is before 1 September, they can start in September of the year they turn three years old. If they turn three after 1 September, they can start nursery the following school year.

Applying for additional nursery hours

Use the online form to:

  • buy additional hours
  • claim for free additional hours through income support
  • claim for free additional hours for other reasons
  • change additional hours
  • stop additional hours

Additional hours nursery policy

CYPES Department policy explains the process for applying for free additional hours and includes the criteria used.

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