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Funded early learning and childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

All 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to a maximum of 600 hours of early learning and childcare which is funded through the council.

Customer Notice - Increasing ELC hours

Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) is changing in Scotland and the number of hours children are entitled to will rise by 2020/21 in order to offer more flexibility for families.

Eligible 2 year olds and all children aged 3 and 4 are currently entitled to 600 hours of funded ELC per year. The funded entitlement will increase over the next few years and almost double to 1140 hours. Increased  ELC hour availability will be rolled out across the region in phases and will be completed by 2020/21.

The number of funded hours and start dates depend on your child's date of birth. Registration for the 2018/19 academic year has already taken place:

Date of child's birthday

Start date

Funded hours

1 March 2014 to 28 February 2015

Year 2
21 August 2018

600 hours

1 March 2015 to 31 August 2015

Year 1
21 August 2018

600 hours

1 September 2015 to 31 December 2015

Year 1
7 January 2019

351 hours

1 January 2016 to 28 February 2016

Year 1
23 April 2019

152 hours

You may wish to pay for additional hours over and above your funded entitlements if they are available. Some providers will also charge a registration fee and ask you to pay for snacks. Some providers may be able to offer increased hours if the have already gone through an ELC increased hours phase.

You may qualify for support with childcare costs in certain circumstances:

Choosing a provider

You can send your child to the provider of your choice.  Council nurseries and other registered partners deliver the funded provision in Dumfries and Galloway.

You're welcome to arrange visits to providers to find out what's on offer before making your choice.

The Care Inspectorate inspects all providers to make sure they meet national standards. They publish inspection reports so you can find out what quality of care you can expect:

Search childcare provider inspection reports

You can also visit the Scottish Family Information Service website to find out more about services near you.

How to register

Registration for the next school year (2018/19) took place on Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 April 2018.

You need to register for a place with your preferred provider on the advertised registration dates. Most parents/carers register with one provider but you can register with two providers as long as the total number of hours doesn't exceed your child's entitlement.

You'll have to visit your chosen provider and provide proof of the child's:

  • date of birth (birth certificate)
  • home address (a recent council tax or utility bill)

How places are allocated

Places at council nurseries are allocated based on priority groupings, from 1 (highest priority) to 8 (lowest priority):

  1. Children with additional support needs including, children who have deferred entry to school and Looked After children
  2. Children residing in families within the nursery zone where both parents/carers require the place for work/training purposes and children residing in lone parent/carer families where the parent/carer requires the place for work/training purposes. 
  3. Year 2 Children within the nursery zone.
  4. Year 1 Children within the nursery zone.
  5. Children out with the nursery's zone who are applying to the same nursery they attended in their first year and who have siblings in the school/nursery.
  6. Children out with the nursery's zone who have siblings in the school/nursery.
  7. Children out with the nursery's zone who are applying to the same nursery they attended in their first year.
  8. Children out with the nursery's zone

Partner providers use their own guidelines to allocate places. You should ask them for details when you register with them.

What happens next

Council nurseries will write to tell you their decision. Parents/carers registering in April this year will be informed by the end of May.

Partner providers use their own procedures/timescales for notifying you. You should ask them for details when you register with them.

Contact the provider(s) as soon as possible if you need to change any personal details on your application form or want to request a change to the number or pattern of sessions you've asked for.

You must complete a Transfer Request form if you want to change providers. The provider needs 2 weeks notice if your child has already started with them and the form must be sent to us at least 10 days before the transfer takes place.

You have to complete a Leavers Form if you no longer want your child to attend a provider or you're leaving the area. Ask the provider for a copy of this form.

Additional entitlement for older children

Most children start school when they're between 4 years 6 months and 5 years old but it's possible to start children later in certain circumstances. These children may be entitled to an extra year of funded early learning and childcare.

Page last updated: 03/12/2018
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