Apply for a free nursery place

How nursery school places are decided

Nursery schools do not have catchment areas, even where they are part of an infant or primary school.

Schools must not use their catchment areas as a factor for entry into their nursery. 

Whilst schools may take names of interested parents after their child's second birthday, nursery places must not be allocated on a 'first come, first served' or a waiting list basis.

Over subscription criteria

  1. 'Looked after children' meaning children accommodated by the Local Authority.
  2. Children with  diagnosed special educational needs
  3. Other children accessing professional support, for example children who have English as a second language
  4. Concurrent sibling link - brother or sister attending the nursery when the child will be admitted (this includes adoptive siblings, half siblings, step siblings, long-term fostered children residing  at the same address)
  5. Shortest distance from the centre of the parental home (including flats) to the main nursery entrance. This is measured as a straight line using the Local Authority Geographical System  (GIS) with those living closer to the nursery receiving higher priority.

The distance measurement will be used as a tie-breaker within each point above, where necessary.

Parents should note that attendance at a nursery or co-located children's centre does not guarantee admission to the school

If your child is not offered a place at your preferred school

There is no right of appeal against an offer of a free early years place. However, you may contact the Early Years Team if you believe your child has not received his or her free entitlement.

Contact the Early Years Team, Red Zone , Chuter Ede , Galsworthy Road, South Shields, NE34 9UG or phone 0191 424 6554.

Transferring your child to another nursery

If your circumstances change, for example if you move house, then a transfer may be possible if places are available.