School nursery places

Your child is eligible for a place at a school nursery from the term following their third birthday.

Child's birthday When the child is eligible for early education funding
1 January to 31 March Start of school term beginning on or following 1 April after their third birthday.
1 April to 31 August Start of school term beginning on or following 1 September after their third birthday.
1 September to 31 December Start of school term beginning on or following 1 January after their third birthday.

You can apply for them a place at any nursery in Barnsley following their second birthday. When you apply, your child's name will be added to the waiting list for the nursery you've chosen. 

Please be aware that available nursery places may not be at your preferred setting.

Apply for a school nursery place

Complete our application for admission to nursery form and send this to us by the beginning of the term before you want your child to start attending. You need send your form to: School Admissions, PO Box 634, Barnsley, S70 9GG.

We don't acknowledge each application, but you can call us to check that we've received your form. 

How we allocate nursery places

  • Only children over two are included on nursery waiting lists.
  • Subject to availability, your child will be offered a place from the term following their third birthday.
  • If the nursery is full your child will be offered a place as soon as a vacancy arises and they're at the top of the waiting list.
  • Once your child reaches the term following their fourth birthday you're guaranteed a place in a local authority nursery. Please note, this may not be your preferred nursery.
  • Places are allocated from the waiting list in order of date of birth.
  • Priority may be given to children with special educational needs, in exceptional circumstances.

We'll write to you with an offer as soon as a place becomes available. This will normally be six weeks before the start of term.

  • You must complete the acceptance slip and return it to the nursery as soon as possible.
  • The nursery will send out a reminder two weeks after the offer letter.
  • If you've not returned the slip after a further week, the offer will be withdrawn and the place offered to another child.
  • If you receive an offer but feel your child isn't ready for nursery, you can defer your place until the start of the following term. Contact us for details.

Nurseries at aided schools

Contact the headteacher for details on how to apply for a place at a nursery unit attached to an aided school. The nursery staff will want to see your child's birth certificate.

Questions parents ask us

How long is a session in a local authority nursery?

Sessions are usually three hours. Some school nurseries offer a limited number of extended 30 hour places, through longer sessions, to children with valid codes. Please contact your preferred nursery for information.

Is there a charge for a place at a local authority nursery?

No - the sessions are free of charge.

How do I find out the position of my child's name on the waiting list?

Contact us on (01226) 773670.

What can I do if my child is not offered a place at my preferred nursery?

If there are no vacancies at your preferred nursery you can:

  • accept the offer of a place at a different nursery
  • decline the alternative place and keep your child's name on the waiting list for your preferred nursery
  • consider other provision in the private sector and claim nursery education funding.

When will I find out that my child's been offered a nursery place?

You'll normally receive a letter at least six weeks before the start of the term.

How is it decided that a nursery is full?

When the number of children already attending plus the number of allocated places reaches the capacity of the nursery.

If my child is refused a place at my preferred nursery can I make a complaint?

Yes. You can make a complaint in writing by sending it to: School Access Officer,  Education, Early Start and Prevention, PO Box 634, Barnsley, S70 6GG.

Can I change my mind once I've applied for a nursery place?

Yes. You need to submit another application form and inform us in writing that you wish to have your child's name removed from the original waiting list.

Can my child attend a private provider setting and a local authority nursery at the same time?

Yes - you can access the 15 hours (or 30 hours if you're eligible for the extended entitlement) across any number of settings as long as you don't exceed more than two sites in a day.

Do local authority nurseries offer flexible sessions?

Some nurseries do. Contact your preferred nursery or the Families Information Service on 0800 0345 340 for up-to-date information.

Does my child have to attend local authority nursery for 15 hours per week?

No, you can choose to take up less than 15 hours per week. You can also claim the balance of the entitlement per week from a private nursery provider.

If I don't take up a place in a local authority nursery does this mean I will be disadvantaged when it's time to apply for a school?

No. There is no link between admission to nursery and admission to school. Admission into a nursery unit cannot and does not guarantee a place in the associated primary school.

What is the ratio of staff to children in a local authority nursery?

One member of staff for every 13 children.