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Early learning and childcare enrolment

North Ayrshire Council is committed to the provision of quality early learning and childcare. All 3 and 4 year old children, living in North Ayrshire, are entitled to a minimum of 600 hours per year.

When is my child eligible?

Children will normally become eligible for a place in the month after their 3rd birthday. However, children whose birthdays fall on, or between, 1 March and 30 June will still be entitled to a place in the following school year. This means if your child turns 3 between 1 March and 30 June they will start an early years class/centre when the new session starts in August, in line with school starting dates. Children with birthdays from July to February will start the month after their 3rd birthday.

Children aged 2 years

If you are a parent of a 2 year old child and are receiving any of the following benefits, your child may be entitled to 600 hours early learning and childcare:

  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity or Severe Disablement Allowance
  • State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and your income is less than £16,105*
  • both maximum Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit and your income is under £6420*
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit

* Income thresholds for Child Tax Credit can vary annually.

Your child will also be eligible if:

  • you are looking after them as a result of a kinship care order
  • they are, or have been, looked after at any time since their second birthday
  • they have a parent appointed guardian.

If your child has additional needs, or you feel your family needs extra support, then you may also be able to access Early Learning and Childcare for your 2 year old child. Please discuss this with your Health Visitor, Social Worker or any other professional who supports your family. If they feel an application is appropriate, they will complete a referral form with you.

For more information about early learning and childcare for 2 year olds, please telephone 0345 351 3000.

Find out about early learning and childcare

Our Early Years booklet (PDF, 5.12mb) provides information on:

  • when your child becomes eligible for early learning and childcare
  • how to apply for an early learning and childcare placement in North Ayrshire
  • the Admissions Policy for early learning and childcare
  • what to expect from early learning and childcare in North Ayrshire Council
  • questions you may have about your child starting
  • details of all establishments in North Ayrshire
  • useful contacts.

For information, on early years and childcare establishments, see Scottish Families Information Service.

Apply for an early learning and childcare place

Registration takes place towards the end of January. An advert will appear in the local press. You should register your child for an early learning and childcare place from the January following their 2nd birthday. Contact the establishment of your choice, usually the one nearest your home. If you don't know where your nearest centre is call CARIS on 0345 351 3000.

At the centre you will be asked to fill in an application form and provide your child's birth certificate. It is not always possible to place all children in the early years class/centre of their choice. You will be asked to state your 2nd and 3rd choice of establishment. Please note:

  • there are no 'catchment areas' for early years centres and parents can choose to send their child to the most suitable centre, if a place is available
  • attending an early years class within a primary school doesn't influence whether your child will be able to transfer to that school in Primary 1.