3 - 5 year old places

Early Years 3


Four year olds

If your child’s date of birth is on or between 1 March 2017 and the 28 February 2018 he/she will be eligible for a funded early learning and childcare place from August 2020. 

Three year olds

If your child’s date of birth is on or between 1 March 2018 and the 28 February 2019 he/she will be eligible for a funded place as set out below.



Birthday Dates

Intake – first available Monday in the month

1st March – 31st August (must be 3 years before they can start)

August / September

1st September – 30th September  December


1st October – 31st  October 


1st November – 30th November


1st December – 31st December


1st January – 31st January


1st February – last day February


Children whose third birthday falls on or between 1 March 2020 and 31 August 2020 will be eligible for a place in August / 2022. 

Places are available from the first Monday of the month after the third birthday (Tuesday if there is a public holiday). However, staggered entry dates may be required due to the number of eligible children in any given month. Where this applies, early childhood centres and funded providers will admit all eligible children as quickly as possible.

Additional year of early learning and childcare

All children who are still four years old at the start of the school year can be deferred and start primary one the following year. Children with a birthday in January or February are automatically entitled to another year of funded early learning and childcare. 

Should parents of children with a birthday between the school commencement date in August and the end of December choose to defer entry to primary school and start primary 1 the following year, local authorities have discretion over whether to provide additional early learning and childcare hours. This is based on an assessment of wellbeing informed by appropriate professionals. This will be subject to review.

How to apply

If you wish to consider deferring your child’s entry to school and wish an additional year of early learning and childcare for your child, you must register your child for school and apply for a deferred entry.


An application form must be completed and submitted to your first choice establishment along with proof of your residing address (in the form of council tax invoice) and proof of your child’s date of birth ( birth certificate or Passport). ELC establishments will not accept your application form if you do not produce the proof at the time of submission.

Forms must be submitted by the last day in February each year to be presented at the Annual Admissions Panel which sit around April / May. Any forms received after the last day in February will be classed as a late application and will be presented at the Post Admissions Panel in August.



In Inverclyde Council, local authority establishment have 5 delivery models. 

All models of delivery include the option to have a combination of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) between two centres or a blended model with a participating childminder who meet the National Standard.

Meals and snacks are provided with all models as part of a child’s entitlement.



Model 1

Model 2

Model 3

Model 4

Model 5


Mon - Fri

2 ½ days

2 ½ days

5 x am

5 x pm


6 hours per day


Monday & Tuesday 8:10am - 17:45pm

Wednesday                 8:10am - 13:05pm


Wednesday                         13:25pm - 17:45pm

Thursday & Friday  8:10am – 17:45pm


Monday - Friday

8:10am - 12:55pm


Monday - Friday

13:00pm - 17:45pm



over 38 weeks

(term time)

Full year

Full year

Full year

Full year

Each year the model delivery times are recalculated – this is the times from August 2021 – August 2022

Parents/carers can also access their child’s funded hours as a shared placement between an early year’s establishment and a funded provider (split placement) which includes childminders (blended model). Using a combination of time between two different settings provides a flexible service that gives parents/carers the choice of early learning and childcare that fit around their family’s needs. Parents/carers can also have the option to privately fund additional hours with those funded providers or childminders if their childcare needs exceed 1140 hours.


There are two options if you chose to take your child’s funded hours with a childminder.

Full time ELC or Blended Childcare

Full time ELC

This can only be with an approved funded provider (Childminder). You would contact the childminder directly to confirm if they are participating in this model.

When applying, you need to submit an application to the approved childminder. It is the parent’s responsibility to ensure that the approved childminder has availability to meet their preference.

BLENDED CHILDCARE – (childminders)

A blended model of ELC is an option – this offers a combination of ELC with an approved registered childminder and either an early childhood centre or a funded provider. You would contact the childminder directly to confirm if they are participating in this model.

When applying for a blended model with a childminder, you need to submit an application to the approved childminder and also to your first choice establishment.  It is the parent’s responsibility to ensure that the approved childminder has availability to meet their preference.

For blended model; (i.e. some time with a participating childminder and in the early childhood centre (ECC) or funded provider (FP) each day) attendance of three hours at the ECC and FP is expected. This amount of time allows your child to settle in and become fully engaged in the opportunities available.


The partnership nurseries will all operate differently and set their own service. You will need to contact the establishment directly to find out their operational hours and how they will deliver their early learning and childcare hours.  Some funded providers will have their own application process. It would be up to you to contact them directly and find out this information before applying

Split placement between two centres

If you wish to apply for a split placement between two centres you will need to make an application to each setting.

Please be aware that although every effort will be made to meet your needs, there is no guarantee that it will be possible to offer split funded places in every case.

The allocation of split places will be dependent on both settings being able to offer the hours requested.

Deciding priorities for admission 

 Every effort will be made to meet your first choice of setting and preferred pattern of attendance however, this will be dependent on the number of places available and the priority given to applications in line with Inverclyde Council’s Early Years Admissions Policy.

Dates of birth or length of time on the register of applications does not affect priority to four year old children. Three year old children will be eligible for a place in the month after their third birthday according to set dates. Eligible two year olds can access a place the term after their second birthday.

All places for children aged 3-5 years are allocated to centres and funded providers through a central allocation process. This ensures that all eligible children have access to a place.

If a centre is oversubscribed, a ballot will take place to allocate places and/or pattern of hours.

Early Years use defined areas when allocating places based on the current residing address. Childcare arrangement that are in place cannot be considered as a residing address.

Please note: If your child is allocated a place in an Early Years establishment where there is an associated primary school,

  • There is no higher priority for an ELC application for having a sibling who attends a Primary School that has a nursery class attached.
  • There is no automatic right to a place in the primary school.


A ballot may be necessary in some centres in the following circumstances:

  • Oversubscription of applications for four year olds
  • Oversubscription of applications for eligible three year olds
  • Oversubscription for particular models of delivery

    Each establishment is registered with the Care Inspectorate for a maximum number of places, therefore it is not possible to satisfy all requested models of attendance. You will be asked to state a preferred model of attendance when you complete the application form. Places and models of attendance will be allocated according to the allocation criteria set out in the Early Learning and Childcare Admissions Policy bandings.

    If your application for a place is not allocated in the centre of your first choice, then your application will be considered for a place in the centre of your second choice.

    If your second choice of centre cannot provide a place then you will be offered an alternative place for your child.

    Offer / allocation letter release dates


Month due to start (First available Monday in the month)


1st March – 31st August                      

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER                    (cannot start before 3rd birthday)

14th May 2021

1st September – 30th  September


1st October – 31st October


10th  September 2021

1st November – 30thNovember


1st December – 31st December


1st January – 31st January


3rd December 2021

1st February – last day in February


Late applications who are eligible to start in August will receive their allocation as soon as possible after the Post Admissions Panel is concluded.


If you require any further information, or to find out if your child is eligible for a funded Early Learning and Childcare Place please contact Inverclyde Council's Early Years Service on 01475717171.