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School nursery classes and maintained nursery schools

Key dates for school nursery entry September 2024

Applications received by schools On or before  Friday 1st March 2024
Places offered by schools  On or before  Friday 3rd May 2024

How do I choose which school?

School nursery classes can be attached to state schools, free schools or academies. Maintained Nursery Schools are standalone early years schools.

Schools manage their own nursery class admissions and applications are made directly to the school.  To help you decide how suitable a school is for your child you should visit their website or contact them for information. You could ask when they may be offering opportunities to visit the school.

A list of schools which will offer nursery provision for September 2024 entry can be found here:

What schools may offer

Every school has a published PAN (pupil admission number) shown on the schools list. This is to give an indication of the number of 15 hour a week ‘sessions’ the school intends to deliver. 

However, the PAN can be subject to change, for example:

  • If a school delivers 30 hour entitlement  places for eligible children where each place will use 2 of the  ‘15 hour sessions’ shown in the PAN
  • To support sustainability where applications are lower than expected and cannot fill a class to the required level 
  • To allow the school to meet staff ratios 

The school should include any information on changes of PAN or their offer on their website or by writing to applicants.

School nursery flexible offers

Every school nursery will offer places that give 15 hours of early education entitlement. Places are usually provided on a part time basis, five mornings or five afternoons a week, Monday to Friday, term time only. However, some schools may have other offers which allows families to access additional hours. You will need to visit the schools’ websites for details.  Below are some examples of what may be on offer.

Extended Entitlement (30 hours)  Available to eligible working families
Places for eligible 2 year olds 

Available to children from families receiving some additional forms of government support , looked after children, children in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, Children with a statement of educational needs (SEN), or an education health and care plan (EHCP)



Available to eligible working families 



Wrap around care 

Schools may offer care which wraps around the nursery place. This could be breakfast, lunch or afterschool clubs delivered either by the school themselves or by another provider on the school site.


Schools may work in partnership with an off-site provider or childminders to offer wraparound care including school drop off or pick up. 

Paid for places If, when all childcare entitlement places have been allocated, schools may choose to offer paid for hours. For example an longer day where the family are not eligible for the extended entitlement.  


It is important to know that not all schools will have these offers available. Where alternative offers are available, they may have terms and conditions, eligibility and admission criteria set by the school. Visit the school website or contact the school to understand any conditions or charges before making an application or taking up an offered place.

When can I apply?

Contact your chosen school to enquire when they start accepting applications. All applications received by the closing date will be considered in accordance with the agreed admissions criteria. Priority will not be based on when the application was made.

Applications for September 2024

Step one  Choose the school nursery you would like to apply to. You should be able to arrange a visit to meet with the staff and look around.
Step two Contact the school nursery for their application form, or download a copy from their website if available.
Step three Submit the completed application to the school nursery by Friday 1 March 2024.
Step four Schools will offer their places by Friday 3 May 2024 in accordance with the school’s own nursery admissions criteria.
Step five If you receive an offer, you must contact the school to accept or reject this offer within 2 weeks.


How are nursery places allocated in schools?

Your child must be 3 years old on 31 August to start in a nursery class in September. Priority for applications is given to children who will be turning 4 years during the school year. 

You can read more in the notes at the bottom of the following webpages

What if my child has special educational needs?

If you are concerned about your child and think they may have special educational needs, you should talk to the school about this. In most cases, your child’s special educational needs will be met within the resources available in a mainstream school. 

 To find out more about local services and support for children with special education needs or disabilities visit our SEND Local Offer webpages

My child has a deferred school place and will be starting reception at statutory school age - should I apply for a nursery place?

If your child has already received up to a year of nursery education, you will need to make a new application for the new nursery year. Please note, priority for nursery class is given to those children who turn 4 years old during the school year and will be having the opportunity of attending school nursery for the first time. After these applicants have been considered, your application will be considered in accordance with the published admissions criteria. This may mean that even if your child has attended a school nursery, they may not be offered a place to continue in that class or in a different class within the same school nursery. 

What are my other options if my child does not get a place?

If your child is not offered a place at your chosen school nursery you could contact other schools with a nursery to ask if they have any remaining places.   

Your child can also take up their early education place at Ofsted registered providers such as day nurseries, sessional pre-schools, childminders or Ofsted agency registered childminders.

If my child attends a maintained nursery will they automatically get a place in the reception class?

No. It is important to note that attending a school nursery place does not guarantee a place in the main school. Separate and central admissions criteria apply to reception classes. Information about Primary School admissions can be found here: Kingston and Richmond Primary School Admissions