Nursery places

Find out when and how to enrol your child at a nursery. Unlike school, your child doesn't legally have to attend one or any kind of pre-school. Before you apply for a place there are some things you need to know:

Education Scotland and Care Inspectorate regulate all early learning and childcare providers. We also check them for quality assurance.

View pre-school application pack (pdf 3,148KB) for additional information.

Funded hours

All 3 and 4 year olds are eligible to get a funded part-time place at a council nursery, or funding towards a place at a partner provider (private nurseries and playgroups that we have an agreement with). Some children younger than age 3 may also be eligible. Funding comes from Scottish Government and covers up to 600 hours of free early learning and childcare each term year (around 16 hours a week).

Not all private nurseries and playgroups are partner providers and there is no funding towards places they offer. View list of funded nurseries and playgroups.

Council nurseries

Your child can attend council nurseries only on a part time basis (either morning or afternoon sessions) Monday to Friday during term time. This is limited to the number of free hours your child is entitled to each week. If you would like your child to attend a council nursery but need childcare for longer hours, you will have to find and pay for additional childcare

Council nurseries are attached to primary schools but there is no guarantee your child will be able to stay at that school for their primary education. Your child can attend a nursery outwith your primary school zone.

Partner providers

We have an agreement with some private nurseries and playgroups. They offer free hours through Scottish Government funding and the same standard of early learning as council nurseries.

Private nurseries are usually open all day, Monday to Friday, for most weeks in the year, except public holidays. Sessions are usually between 2.5 and 8 hours per day. You can agree how to use your funded hours with your chosen partner provider but you will have to pay for any extra ones. Costs differ so you will need to contact your chosen provider to find out how much they charge.

Playgroups are known as informal nurseries with more casual approach. Just like council nurseries they only provide part time sessions (either morning or afternoon) outside school holidays. Sessions are limited to the free hours available through funding. They don't offer additional hours that you can pay for.

Registered childminders are not currently partner providers, although we may be able to offer places with them in the future.

Splitting free hours between facilities

If your child is 3 or 4 years old, you can split your funded hours between 2 facilities. You will have to discuss the need for a split placement with both facilities first. Early Years team will then give you a split placement request form to complete and return to them. This would be subject to availability at both facilities.

Moving your child to a different facility

If you would like to move your child to a different facility, discuss it with your child's current nursery or playgroup first. Early Years team will then give you a transfer request form to complete and return to them. This would be subject to availability at the requested facility.

Additional support needs

If your child has additional support needs (ASN), let us know when you apply for a nursery place. They may be given priory when places are allocated

Find a nursery or playgroup

View a list of all nurseries and all playgroups (funded and private) on the Scottish Family Information Service website.

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