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Early learning and childcare enrolment
Home   Education and learning   Early years   Early learning and childcare enrolment

Early learning and childcare enrolment

North Ayrshire Council is committed to the provision of high quality early learning and childcare. From August 2021, all eligible two year old, and three and four year old children are entitled to 1140 hours per year.

When will my child be able to access the funded hours?

From August 2021, you can access the funded hours in the term after your child’s 3rd birthday. 

When you can access your child's entitlement
Birth date Eligible from
1 March 2021 to 31 August 2021 inclusive August - Term 1
(Autumn Term)
1 September 2021 to 31 December 2021 inclusive January - Term 2
(Spring Term)
1 January 2022 to 28 February 2022 inclusive April - Term 3
(Summer Term)

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

Is my 2 year old child eligible for a funded place?

Your child may be eligible for a funded place if you receive one or more of these benefits:

  • Income Support 
  • *Income based job seekers 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 £16,480
  • *Both maximum Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit with annual household income below £7,500
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit (£625 per month or less)

*Income thresholds for these benefits vary annually

A funded place may also be available if your child is, or may be subject to:

  • A Kinship Care order
  • A Special Guardianship order
  • Care experienced (foster care)
  • A compulsory supervision order at home

In addition, from August 2020 the eligibility for ELC provision for two year olds is extended to children whose parents were “care experienced” (previously known as “looked after and accommodated”).

Your Health Visitor or local ELC establishment can offer advice and information regarding eligibility. 

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 annum. Their place will commence in the term after their 2nd birthday (see term date table above).

Find out about early learning and childcare

To find out more about the Scottish Government's Early Learning & Childcare Expansion Programme, see the Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare page.

For more information on your child’s early learning and childcare in North Ayrshire please see our Guide For Parents: Connecting Early Learning and Childcare (PDF, 467kb)

Further ELC information is also available below:

Apply for an Early Learning and Childcare Place

To apply for an early years place for a 2 year old in a local authority establishment, parents should complete our online application form:

Apply for a place for a 2 year old 

Applications for 3 to 5 year old places are currently closed and will open for the new academic year in February 2022

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.

Parents should upload their child’s birth certificate and proof of address at the time of submitting their online application.

It is not always possible to place all children in the early years establishment of their choice. You will be asked to state five choices of establishments. There are no “catchment areas” for early years establishments. Parents can choose to send their child to an establishment that is most suitable for them – near their home or workplace for example. 

A list of North Ayrshire Council early years establishments (PDF, 87kb) is available or you can see them on a map.

We also have a lists of:

If you are unable to access the online application process, please call 01294 324942 to ask for help.