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 a place at any nursery in Barnsley from the term following their second birthday. When you apply, your child's name will be added to the waiting list for the nursery you've chosen. Take a look at our leaflet about applying for a school nursery place.

Please be aware that available nursery places may not be at your preferred setting. The nursery staff will also need to see your child's birth certificate.

Child's birthday When you can apply for their nursery place from When they become eligible for a nursery place from
1 January to 31 March The April after their second birthday. The April after their third birthday.
1 April to 31 August The September after their second birthday. The September after their third birthday.
1 September to 31 December The January after their second birthday. The January after their third birthday.

Nurseries at aided schools

To apply for the following nurseries please contact them directly:

  • Dodworth St John's the Baptist Church of England Primary Academy
  • Holy Rood Catholic Primary School
  • Holy Trinity Catholic and Church of England School
  • Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School
  • Tankersley St Peter's Primary School
  • The Ellis Church of England Primary School

Apply for a school nursery place

You can apply online the term after your child’s second birthday.

If you're unable to apply online, please contact us on (01226) 773677 so we can help.

How we allocate nursery places

  • Subject to availability, your child will be offered a place from the term following their third birthday.
  • Places are allocated from the waiting list in order of date of birth.
  • If the nursery is full, your child will stay on the waiting list. They'll 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.
  • 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 confirm with the school nursery as soon as possible if you wish to take up the offered place.
  • A reminder will be sent out two weeks after the offer letter if your child’s place hasn’t been confirmed.
  • If you haven't confirmed your child’s place 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.

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 online and tell us your child's name, date of birth and the name of the school nursery you've applied for.

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

You'll find out the term before your child would be due to start:

  • If your child was born between 1 January and 31 March, you'll receive an email around the end of February, ready for them to start in April.
  • If your child was born between 1 April and 31 August, you'll receive an email around the end of May, ready for them to start in September.
  • If your child was born between 1 September and 31 December, you'll receive an email around the end of October, ready for them to start in January.

Please refer to your offer email for details on what to do next.

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:

  • apply for a place at a different nursery
  • decline an alternative place and keep your child's name on the waiting list for your preferred nursery
  • consider other provision in the private sector

How is it decided which session my child will be offered?

The school will confirm which session your child has been offered when you contact them after your offer of a place. Please note that some nurseries won't offer a choice of session as they may have all the younger children in the same session or may only open for a single session.

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 appeal against this decision?

No. As nursery is not compulsory, there isn’t an appeals process. Please contact us if you need any more advice.

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

Yes. Please contact us online or call (01226) 773677 and we'll tell you how to do this.

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, in some nurseries you can choose to take up less than 15 hours per week. Please check with your preferred nursery. If you do take up less than 15 hours 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.

Am I entitled to a 30 hours nursery placement?

Some children are entitled to an additional 15 hours funding. You can check if you qualify for the extended funded hours on GOV.UK or visit the Childcare Choices website.

If you qualify for 30 hours, please contact your preferred school nursery directly to discuss availability and register your interest.