Early learning and childcare places

Apply for funded early learning: 3 and 4-year-olds

You can get up to 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare a year if your child is 3 or 4 years old. Find out more about funded hours.

Funding for nursery places is not renewed automatically. It is important that you apply for a place each year or your funding may stop.

Find out more:

When they can start

Children born between 20th August 2019 and 13th April 2022 are entitled to funded early learning and childcare in the 2024/25 school term.

If your child turns 3:

  • by 31st August 2024, they are eligible to access the August term 2024
  • before the start of October term, they are eligible from the October term 2024
  • before the start of January term, they are eligible from the January term 2025
  • before the start of April term, they are eligible from the April term 2025

Children must be 3 before they can start to access funded ELC, unless they meet the eligible 2-year-old criteria.

Apply for a place

The registration period for session 2024/25 was open from 22nd January to 2nd February 2024. If you missed the deadline you can still apply but we can’t guarantee that a place will be available. Your application won't be considered until the applications submitted during the admissions window have been processed. If you need to apply for a place for the current 2023/24 term please email

The way you apply for a nursery place depends on a type of nursery setting (council nursery or funded provideryou want your child to attend but you complete the same online form.

Council nurseries

To apply for a funded place in a council nursery, please complete the online application during the registration period. The dates can differ each year, but generally registration takes place between January and February.

When completing your application, you will be asked to choose three nursery settings. This is because we can't guarantee your first choice of nursery setting.

You will also be asked to indicate the times you would prefer your child to attend a nursery setting. We will try to meet your preferences, but we can't guarantee your preferred times will be available.

As the total amount of funding is up to 1140 hours per year, you will only be able to choose one of the following, up to a maximum of:

  • 30 hours per week if the setting is open during term time only
  • 25 hours per week if the setting is open for 50 weeks per year (in addition to the 2-week Christmas break children will be expected to take 4 additional holiday weeks to make sure they don't exceed their 1140 allocation

Please contact your first choice nursery or use the application booklet to confirm their opening times.

If you are applying using Safari browser on a Mac, please use Google Chrome browser instead.

Apply for a nursery place

Find out how we allocate and confirm places at council nurseries.

Funded providers

To apply for a place at a funded provider, please contact the funded provider (view our application booklet for contact details) of your choice first to find out:

  • if they are part of our funding agreement
  • when you should enrol your child as they have their own way of processing applications and allocating places

Once your place has been approved by the funded provider you can use our online form to apply for funding. Please enter the same details as your confirmed place as any differences can cause a delay in arranging payment to your funded provider.

If you are applying using Safari browser on a Mac, please use Google Chrome browser instead.

Apply for a nursery place

Contact us

If you would like more information or need help completing your application, please contact our Early Years Team.