Apply for a nursery school place

There are currently over 3,250 free, part-time early learning and childcare places in the city for 3 and 4 year olds. 

A child may start nursery in the school term after his/her third birthday. The Standards in Scotland's Schools etc Act 2000 defines the three school terms as follows:

  • Term 1: August to December
  • Term 2: January to March
  • Term: April to July

Children are entitled to an early learning and childcare place in the school term following their third birthday. Children in their immediate pre-school year are entitled to a whole year of Early Learning and Childcare.

Month of birth  Entitled to a place from 
March to August August – after the summer holidays; children may start once they have reached the age of three
September to December January – after the Christmas holidays
January to February April - after the Easter holidays

How to apply for an early learning and childcare place

If you would like to apply for a Local Authority Nursery place for your child you must visit the school of your choice and complete an application form.

Please note that if your child is currently attending local authority nursery and you would like to continue at the same nursery for their pre-school year, then you do not need to reapply.

Application forms are available from any primary school with a nursery class from 15 January 2018, or you can download a form below.


Please return forms by 26 January 2018 when the allocation process begins. Please take your child's birth certificate and proof of address with you to the school.

You can still apply for places after the deadline – late application does not guarantee a nursery place in the first allocation.

You can put up to 5 choices of nursery on the form. Please note you must only complete one form and you cannot apply for more than 5 schools.

If you have a childminder/carer in the area that you would like your child to attend nursery, please also complete a “Childcare Form” in addition to the application form.

Schools will collect application forms and pass them to the Early Years Team who will then allocate spaces.

You will be sent a letter during April 2018 advising if your child has been allocated a space, or if he/she is on a waiting list.

Once places have been allocated, all other applications will be kept on a waiting list. This list will be maintained by the Early Years Team until the end of June 2019. Early learning and childcare places within Aberdeen are allocated according to criteria set out in the Nursery Admissions Policy 2018/19. You can download the admissions policy and an information leaflet for parents below:

If you need more information, please contact the Early Years Team.

If you are applying for an early learning and childcare place at a private nursery or a playgroup in partnership, you should contact the centre of your choice directly. A list of registered centres, including partner providers, is available in the Nursery Admissions Policy 2018-19.

For enquires to the Early Years team

Contact us


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