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Early learning and childcare for three and four year olds

Drawing of group of pre-school children

Eligibility for funded hours starts the term after a child’s third birthday and all children receive the full number of hours they are entitled to whether they attend a full year or term time placement in either a local authority or partner provider setting.  The number of funded hours a child receives depends on the start date of their eligibility.

For session 2023-24 the number of funded hours will be as follows

Date of Birth

Eligible From

Offer letters sent out

Funded entitlement for year 2023/2024

1 March 2020 to

31 August 2020      

August 2023

(Autumn Term)

Week beginning

27 March 2023

1140 hours 

1 September 2020 to            

31 December 2020

January 2024 

(Spring Term)

Week beginning

9th October 2023

624 hours

1 January 2021 to

29 February 2021

April 2024

(Summer Term)

Week beginning

5th February 2024

306 hours

Nursery places for children younger than three are provided at full cost by private nurseries and childminders, unless you’re eligible for free early learning and childcare for two-year olds.

View early years 1140 hours video with audio description

Contact your nursery to discuss how you can use your funded hours, for example

  • term time in line with school hours
  • morning or afternoon sessions,
  • ten-hour day sessions

Applying for a place 

Please submit one application only to your first choice setting and agree when you can drop off your documents at the nursery. To apply please take along the documents noted below. 

  • apply for nursery form (PDF)
  • child's birth certificate - or, if informed by the nursery, their passport
  • proof of your address, such as a Council Tax letter or utility bill.

When completing the form for a local authority nursery, you must give a second and third choice.

To apply at a partner-provider nursery or a childminder please contact them directly.

Early Years Admissions Criteria – The City of Edinburgh Council

Nursery admissions - flowchart – The City of Edinburgh Council

Find nurseries 

Search for a nursery in your area

Find a childminder

Download a print-friendly list of council and partner provide centres - PDF

Please note, some downloads may not be accessible. For help, call 0131 200 2000.