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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 2022-23 the number of funded hours will be as follows

Date of Birth Eligible From Offer letters sent out

Funded entitlement for year 2022/2023

1 March 2019 to

31 August 2019       

August 2022 (Autumn Term) Week beginning 4th April 2022 1140 hours 

1 September 2019 to            

31 December 2019                                          

January 2023 (Spring Term)

Week beginning 10th October 2022 642 hours

1 January 2020 to

29 February 2020

April 2023 (Summer Term) Week beginning 6th February 2023 300 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

Contact 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, 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