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Early learning and childcare enrolment

We are committed to providing high quality early learning and childcare.

Following the Scottish Government's early learning and childcare expansion programme, 3 and 4 year old children, along with any eligible 2 year old children, are entitled to 1140 hours per year.

Apply for a place

You can apply for an early years place in a local authority establishment online:

Apply for an early learning and childcare place

If you are unable to access the online application process, please email Early Learning Childcare for help.

Please note: you should also complete this application if you are considering a blended placement for your child that involves a North Ayrshire Council establishment. If you choose to use all your funded hours with a (private or voluntary) funded provider establishment or childminder, you should contact them directly to discuss availability of places.

What you need to provide

If your child is eligible, please provide:

  • for a 3 to 5 year old, proof of address and a copy of the child’s birth certificate prior to starting
  • for a 2 year old, up to date evidence of benefits, kinship care etc and birth certificate when completing their application

Please note: it is not always possible to place all children in the early years establishment of their choice. You will be asked to give 5 choices of establishment. There are no 'catchment areas' for early years establishments. You can choose to send your child to an establishment that is most suitable for you – near your home or workplace for example.

See our list of early years establishments in North Ayrshire.

Check eligibility

You can access the funded hours from the term after your child’s 3rd birthday. Please use the table below to check eligibility. 

When you can access your child's entitlement
Birth date Eligible from
1 March 2023 to 31 August 2023 inclusive August - Term 1
(Autumn Term)
1 September 2023 to 31 December 2023 inclusive January - Term 2
(Spring Term)
1 January 2024 to 29 February 2024 inclusive April - Term 3
(Summer Term)

Please note: children must be 3 years old before taking up their place.

Is my two year old eligible?

All 2 year old children who are entitled through the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 need to be verified as eligible before we can confirm and allocate them a place.

Your 2 year old child may be eligible if you receive one or more of these benefits:

  • 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 VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit – earned income (take home pay) below £726 per month*

*Income thresholds for these benefits vary annually

A funded place may also be available if your 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' (previously known as 'looked after and accommodated')

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

Please note: applications for places for eligible 2 year olds can be submitted throughout the year. If your 2 year old is eligible for a funded place, they will be entitled to the same number of hours as a 3 or 4 year old (1140 hours per year). Their place will commence in the term after their 2nd birthday. See our eligibility table for further clarification.

Early years establishments

You can find details of early years establishments below:

Further guidance

For more detailed information on your child’s early learning and childcare in North Ayrshire, please see our Guide for Parents: Connecting Early Learning and Childcare (PDF, 485kb).

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