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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 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.

Please note: from August 2020 this will change to 1140 hours per annum.

When is my child eligible?

In line with Scottish Government guidance, 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

For a child to be eligible for a funded Early Learning & Childcare place, the parent or carer must be in receipt of one or more of the following benefits:

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Jobseekers Allowance (income based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income based)
  • Incapacity or Severe Disablement Allowance
  • State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC), but not Working Tax Credit and income is less than £16,105
  • Support under part six of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit - Earned Income below £610 per month

Alternatively they would be eligible if they are:

  • looked after by a local Council - Foster Care, Child Protection Registration or Compulsory Supervision Order
  • the subject of a Kinship Care or Guardianship Order

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

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 education and care page.

For more information on your child's early learning and early years & childcare establishments, see below:

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 one.

If you think your child may be eligible for a place from age two you should contact the CARIS helpline in the first instance on 0345 351 3000.