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Local authority nursery schools and nursery classes

Local authority nursery schools and nursery classes are funded by the local authority and are usually on school sites.

Important facts

  • have a qualified teacher in each class
  • offer a limited number of free early education places to children starting the September following their 3rd birthday (some schools may take children in January or April)
  • usually have fixed session times, either morning or afternoon, five days a week term time only
  • may have additional childcare available on site offering 'wrap around care'
  • you can apply for a place in a nursery school or class by contacting the school directly; it is advisable to apply as soon as possible after your child’s 2nd birthday,  if places are oversubscribed, priority will be given to children with additional needs, then to children from the school catchment area and then to older children; each school will have its own nursery admissions policy so please contact the school directly
  • admission to a nursery class is completely separate from admission to the main school
  • there is no guarantee that a child in a nursery class will be given a place in the reception class of the same school, especially since nursery classes often serve an area which extends beyond the catchment area of the school
  • the school cannot insist that nursery children remain at the school beyond the term of their 5th birthday

Find childcare

This includes childcare that has spaces for 2, 3 and 4 year old funded children, as well as those that provide before and after school pick-ups and those that specifically cater for children with a disability or special educational need.

Search for childcare near you