How nursery places are allocated

Find out what happens after you apply for early learning and childcare place. The process differs depending on the type of setting you apply for:

Council nurseries

How we allocate places at council nurseries depends on a number of factors such as your situation, your child's age and your chosen nursery.

Priority 1

  • All children returning for another academic year
  • All approved delayed entry to primary one (born between August and December)
  • All entitled delayed entry (born between January and February)

Priority 2

Priority 3

All new applications for preschool children with siblings in the school.

Priority 4

All new preschool applications.

Priority 5

All ante preschool with siblings in the school.

Priority 6

All ante preschool applications.

Confirming places in council nurseries

If you have been successful in obtaining a place, we will send you a letter confirming your child's place based on where places are available. If there are no places available at your first choice, the letter will tell you if your child has been accepted at your second or third choice.

If you have not been successful in obtaining a place, one of our Development Workers will contact you to either offer you an alternative place or to offer support in finding a place. 

The date that we send the letters depends on when your child is due to start nursery but we will always let you know a few month before their start:

  • start in August, letter is sent in mid March
  • start in January, letter is sent in late September
  • start in April, letter is sent in early December

The confirmation letter will include a response slip. You will need to return it to us to either accept or decline the offer. If you do not do this, we will assume your child no longer needs a place. 

If you choose to accept the offer, you will also be asked to show:

  • your child’s original birth certificate 
  • proof of address such as recent utility bill or bank statement

Find out more about early learning admissions.

Funded providers

The admissions process differs if you apply for a place at a funded provider. If your child is due to start at a private nursery, playgroup or childminder, the funded provider will get in touch with you directly.

If you would like to find out about a funded provider's admissions process please contact them directly. We won't be able to advise about their processes.

We will contact your listed funded provider to confirm you have a place, the number of hours your child is attending each week, how many weeks per year and if your child is having lunch. Once the funded provider has confirmed your information, we will then arrange payment of the funding directly with your listed funded provider.