School nursery places

Your child is eligible for a place at a school nursery from the term following their third birthday. You can apply for them a place at any nursery in the 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 necessarily be at your preferred setting.

A list of council run nurseries is included in our Early Years Education - Advice to Parents Booklet.

Apply for a school nursery place

Complete our application for admission to nursery form and send it to School Admissions, People Directorate, PO Box 634, Barnsley S70 9GG by the beginning of the term before you want your child to start attending (earlier if possible) to give us time to process it.

We don't acknowledge individual applications, but you can ring us to check that your application's been received. 

How we allocate nursery places

  • Only children over two are included on nursery waiting lists.
  • Subject to a place being available, 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 once they are top of the waiting list.
  • Once your child reaches the term following their fourth birthday you are guaranteed a place in a local authority nursery (please note that 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 quickly 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  • If you've not returned the slip after a further week, the offer will be withdrawn and the place offered to another child.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

You can find a list of aided school nursery units in the booklet Early Years Education - Advice to Parents Booklet.

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?
Three hours

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 the School Admissions Section on 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 an alternative nursery
  • decline the alternative place and keep your child's name on the waiting list for your preferred nursery.
  • consider alternative provision in the private sector and claim nursery education funding.

When will I find out that my child has been offered a nursery place?
You will 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, set out your complaint in writing and send it to Principal Officer, School Organisation, Directorate for Children, Young People and Families, PO Box 634, Barnsley S70 6GG.

Can I change my mind once I have applied for a nursery place?
Yes, you need to submit another application form and inform the school admissions section 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, but you will have to pay the full cost of the private provider place if your child attends the local authority nursery for 15 hours.

Do local authority nurseries offer flexible sessions?
Some nurseries do - please 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 becomes time to apply for 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.