Nursery school admission policy for maintained nurseries 2024/25

The closing date for applications is Friday 19 January 2024.

In order to be considered for a nursery school place, please complete an application form:

The purpose of the admission arrangements is to ensure that all nursery places for maintained schools are allocated and offered in an open and fair way.  When a nursery is oversubscribed, ie, it has more applicants than places available, a policy is required to allocate and offer places in an open and fair way. Listed below is the policy and associated procedures used by LCC when allocating nursery places. The admission arrangements make it clear to parents/carers how and why places are allocated in a fair, clear and objective way:

Admission policy for maintained nursery schools and nursery classes in community and voluntary controlled schools

When a nursery has more applicants than places available, children are offered places in the following order:

  • Looked after children or a child who was previously looked after, but immediately after being looked after became subject to an adoption, child arrangement order, or special guardianship order or those children who appear to the school to have been in state care outside of England and ceased to be in state care as a result of being adopted
  • Children with statements for special educational needs (SEN) and those with exceptional/strong SEN reasons for attending a particular school/setting.
  • Exceptional/strong medical, social, welfare reasons (associated with the child and/or the family) for attending a particular school/setting.
  • 'children who are eligible for FEYE2'
  • Children who will have a sibling in attendance at the time of their admission.
  • Parents/carers who provide evidence of training/education at a local establishment, working locally or established local childcare arrangements (at the time of the child's admission).
  • Those living nearest the school/setting.


The distance criterion will be used as the tie breaker if there is oversubscription within any of the admission criteria; it is a straight line (radial) measure. 

If the Local Authority is unable to distinguish between applicants using the published criteria (eg. Siblings, those living the same distance from home to school, or families residing in the same block of flats) places will be offered via a random draw.

The distance measure is a straight line measurement (radial) between the applicant’s home address points  and the address point of the school (co-ordinates provided by ordnance survey data).

Entitlement to early education funded (EEF) places

Please note that if you have access to 15 hours per week of EEF provision at a maintained* nursery school or class, then you cannot also have funded provision at a private, voluntary or independent nursery.

(* Maintained means funded via the Local Authority)

  • Parents/carers must provide the necessary evidence and contact names/email/telephone numbers with their application.
  • Siblings are defined as brothers, sisters, stepbrothers, stepsisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, adopted and fostered children living with the same family at the same address.
  • The distance tie-breaker will be used should there be oversubscription within any of the stated admission criteria.

In most cases, children will be admitted to the nursery school or class of their parent's preference.  Occasionally, however, a school or class will receive more applications than there are available places.  Parents will be able to seek provision elsewhere and can also request that their child's name be placed on a waiting list for places at their preferred school or class.  Should places become available, then these will be offered in accordance with the published admission criteria and not on a first come first served basis.

Medical Social and Welfare Reasons

If you feel that there are exceptional medical, social or welfare reasons associated with your child and/or family which support admission to a particular nursery, you must indicate that this is the case on your application.  These may include serious medical or psychological needs or disabilities which make travel more difficult.

Please bear in mind that all nurseries can make provision for special educational needs and can also manage common medical conditions eg asthma, epilepsy or diabetes etc.

Where exceptional medical, social or welfare reasons are identified, supporting evidence will be required.  This may be from whatever source(s) the applicant feels is/are most appropriate. 

Examples of providers' evidence are doctors, health visitors, social workers.  Only exceptional reasons relevant to a particular school or class will normally be considered.

Parents are responsible for providing the professional supporting evidence with the application by the closing date from a consultant, doctor, psychologist, social worker or from another relevant independent professional.

If you do not provide supporting evidence, then it will not be possible to consider the application under the medical, social and welfare criteria.

Parents may apply for nursery places and send supporting evidence at a later date.  It is strongly recommended that this is submitted by the closing date for applications.

After the closing date, during the early stages of the allocation process, all claims of exceptional medical, social and welfare reasons are considered.  Where the reasons claimed are not considered exceptional, then the application will then be dealt with under the other admission criteria for the nursery school/class.

All information which is submitted will be considered as being confidential.

Training, education, local work or local established child care.

If parents/carers wish an application for a nursery place be considered under this criteria, then they must provide evidence to support their application.  This may include:

  • written confirmation from a college/training provider of your future enrolment or current participation. This should confirm the start and end dates of any programme and the day and hours per week of your participation
  • written confirmation from an employer of your place/address of work and the days/hours per week involved
  • written confirmation from a childminder about any existing or ongoing childcare arrangements including the date on which they started and the address where the child is situated under the arrangement

Single Remaining Place – Additional Tie-Break

If a single place remains available at a nursery school or class and the next application is for twins/triplets etc, then flexibility will be exercised wherever possible to allocate places for both/all of the children.  Individual nursery schools and classes must liaise with the Local Authority if this situation arises.

Where a single place remains and there is more than one remaining applicant, an additional tie-break may occasionally be required, eg where there are two identical measures for the single remaining place.  In these circumstances, a random draw will determine which child will be offered the place.

Accuracy of applications

In relation to all applications, individual nurseries and the Local Authority or the governing body of a voluntary aided or funded school/class will investigate the accuracy of any information which is provided.  Places may be withdrawn if they have been offered based on inaccurate information.

Voluntary aided, foundation, academy or free school nurseries

Please note that the Governing Bodies of these nursery schools and classes determine their own admission arrangements and the criteria for admission may, therefore, be different from those detailed above (eg there may not be a medical, social, welfare criterion).  You are advised to contact an individual nursery school or class if you wish to clarify its admission criteria.