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Early learning and childcare enrolment

Funded early learning and childcare (ELC) is available to:

  • all 3 and 4 year olds
  • eligible 2 year olds

Entitlement is 1140 hours per year.

There are no 'catchment areas' for early years establishments. You will be asked to choose 3 suitable establishments. These may be close to your home, or place of work. Please note: it is not always possible to place children in the early years establishment of choice. Read our priority banding criteria (PDF, 127kb).

Find details of early years establishments below:

Applications are for placements that involve North Ayrshire Council establishments, including blended placements. You may choose a private, or voluntary funded, provider establishment or childminder. Contact them directly for availability of places.

ELC for 3 and 4 year olds

You may access funded ELC from the term after your child’s 3rd birthday.

Check your child's entitlement
Child turns 3 years old between Eligible from
1 March to 31 August inclusive August - Term 1
(Autumn Term)
1 September to 31 December inclusive January - Term 2
(Spring Term)
1 January to 29 February inclusive April - Term 3
(Summer Term)

Apply for 3 and 4 year old place

Applications for 3 and 4 years olds will take place between 6 and 31 March 2024.

You will be asked to provide:

  • proof of address
  • the child's birth certificate number

Apply for a 3 or 4 year old place

ELC for 2 year olds

Not all 2 year old children eligible for funded ELC. Your 2 year old child may be eligible if you receive one or more of the following:

  • income support
  • income based job seeker's allowance*
  • income based employment and support allowance*
  • incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance
  • state pension credit
  • child tax credit but NOT working tax credit, with annual household income below £18,725*
  • both maximum Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit with annual household income below £8,717*
  • support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit – take home pay below £726 per month*

*Income thresholds vary annually

Funded ELC may be available if your 2 year old child:

  • is subject to a Kinship Care Order
  • is subject to a Special Guardianship Order
  • is looked after by a local council, for example 'care experienced' (foster care), compulsory supervision order, North Ayrshire Child Protection Register
  • has a parent who is 'care experienced'

Your health visitor, or local early learning and childcare establishment, can offer advice and information about eligibility.

Before we can confirm and allocate a place, we must carry out eligibility checks.

If your 2 year old is eligible for a funded place, ELC will start in the term after their 2nd birthday.

Apply for eligible 2 year old place

You will be asked to provide:

  • up to date evidence of benefits, or kinship care and so on
  • proof of address
  • the child’s birth certificate number

Apply for eligible 2 year old place


For help with applications, please email Early Learning Childcare.