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There are several routes of entry into the under 3's nursery, you can be referred to the nursery if your child has a specific need as listed below, you may qualify for 2 year old funding and be referred to the nursery that way or you may be a direct applicant who will be fee paying.  The specific criteria of the three routes are listed below.

1. Admission criteria for children with a specific need

The eligiblity criteria below provides a quick guide for referral of children to Early Years Placement Panel (EYPP).  It categorises the needs of a child.  The criteria is made up of two factors: firstly a letter which identifies the type of need and a number which  gives an indication of priority.  A child may have more that one category letter assigned; if this is the case all categories met should be listed.  The critieria is only a guide as deceisions to fund a child care placement is at the discretion of the Early Years Placement Panel        


Category Letter Description                                                                                                                                                             
 A A child who is on a Child Protection Plan or has been spcifically recommended by Child Protection Conferences or Child Care Statutory review or is a subject to a Child in Need plan
 B  A child with a disability
 C  A child whose intellectual, emotional, physical, language or social develoment is significantly delayed
 D A child whose parents/carers or brother or sisters have a disabilty or sever medical problem or are invovled in alcohol or substance abuse which is likely to adversely affect their development.  (For many children within this family context access to mainstream services if possible is likely to be the preferred option.)
 E  A child whose parents/carers need family support in their parenting role, where without intervention there could be potential for significant harm or an adverse impact on the child's development and/or a deterioration of family life.

N.B. Although a child may meet the criteria, a Centre place may not be the appropriate placement, i.e. a child requiring a 1:1 staff:child ratio.

All places will be offered on an assessment basis and will be subject to regular reviews.

Procedure for allocation of places for referred children

Allocation panel meetings

The application and referral letter will be presented at one of the bi-monthly Central Allocation Panel meetings.


Panels are held every 2 months.

Membership of Panel

Membership is made up of senior professionals from Social Care, the Health Authority and Education Department. 


The panel will consider the application and referral and prioritise according to the child’s need.  Admission is based upon these priorities:-

Priority 1  Where there is high concern.                         

Priority 2  Where there is medium concern.

Priority 3 Where there is low concern.

Type of Service Offered

The panel will discuss the most appropriate place for the child and whether it will be part time or full time. Placements could include Childminder, Family Centre, Nursery Centre, Community Group or Nursery School.

Notification of Decision
The parent/carer will be notified of the decision made. If a service is to be offered, it will be dependent on the availability of a place.


2. Admission criteria for 2 year old funding

Some 2-year-olds in England can also get free early education and childcare.

You must be getting one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and have an annual income not over £16,190
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Working Tax Credits and earn £16,190 a year or less

Children are also entitled to a place if:

  • they’re looked after by a local council
  • they have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education health and care plan
  • they get Disability Living Allowance
  • they’ve left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or residence order

If your child is eligible, you can start claiming after they turn 2. The date you can claim will depend on when their birthday is.

Child’s birthday When you can claim
1 January to 31 March the beginning of term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August the beginning of term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December the beginning of term on or after 1 January

If you are eligible for this funding you can apply through the Children's Centre and once you receive an eligiblity letter you will then need to check if there are vacancies in the nursery or in other local settings. There is a 2 year old funding vacancy list avaialble in reception for all Borough settings offering this service.


3. Admissions criteira for direct payment applicants

Places for direct payment applicants do not have an entry criteria, but are offered according to the availabilty of places in the nursery.

Parents can leave their details on the Under 3's admissions card and a member of staff will contact you when vacancies occur.