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Funded early learning and childcare for 3-5 year olds

From August 2020, all 3-5 year olds will be entitled to 1140 hours per year of funded (free) early learning and childcare (ELC) in Scotland.

This is a significant increase from the current entitlement of 600 hours. We recognise the valuable job parents and carers are doing and these additional funded hours are intended to:

  • Support child development where they can continue to have fun and learn outside of their home with experienced and trained staff
  • Support parents into work, study or training


To make sure there are choices across Perth and Kinross, we have created 11 early learning and childcare communities. Each of these communities will have access to a mix of attendance options at funded providers including term time, 45 week and 50 week options as appropriate; with some settings offering hours between 8 am - 6 pm. The communities also allow for prioritisation of places in local authority nursery classes.

Details of these options are available in the icon 2021/2022 Nursery Policy and Guidelines [3Mb]. As well as attendance options available, parents and carers are able to use one or more settings to access the funded hours.

Eligibility criteria

Children born between

Eligible to start nursery

1 January 2018 and 28 February 2018

After Easter break (w/c 19 April 2021)

1 March 2018 and 31 August 2018

Start of school session (August 2021)

1 September 2018 and 31 December 2018

After Christmas break (w/c 4 January 2022)

1 January 2019 and 28 February 2019

After Easter break (From 19 April 2022)

How to apply for a nursery place

Please visit the registration details page for details on how to apply.

Evidence to provide at application

  • Birth certificate
  • Proof of your residency at the time of application - this must be a copy of Council Tax documentation

Children who are eligible to start nursery in 2021/22 can register for a nursery place using the online application form from 18 January 2021 and initially will close on 12 February 2021.  A notice was placed in the local press detailing the relevant dates for nursery registration, week commencing 4 January 2021. However, you can apply for a nursery place throughout the school year. 

Information regarding the allocation of all nursery places within Perth and Kinross is contained within our icon 2021/2022 Nursery Policy and Guidelines [3Mb].

Please note: A place in a local authority nursery class does not give priority in gaining a place in the same school when enrolling for a primary or secondary school place.

Deferred entry

Parents / carers whose will be 5 years of age between the start of the school session in August and the last day of December 2021 and who are looking to icon defer [204Kb] their child, must complete an application form, please see your child's nursery for further information.

Children who will be 5 years of age between 1 January and 28 February 2021 whose parents have decided to icon defer entry [204Kb] to primary school are eligible to register for a place at nursery schools and classes managed by or in partnership with Education & Children's Services.

Please note Current PKC policy and guidance remains unchanged until we are able to join the Scottish Government's phased implementation plan towards deferred entry becoming a universal right at 2023.

All children who are still 4 at the start of the school year can be deferred and start primary one the following year. Children with a birthday in January or February are automatically entitled to another year of funded ELC.

For children with a birthday between the school commencement date in August and the end of December, additional funded ELC is at the discretion of the local authority using their powers under section 1(1C) of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 and the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, Early Learning and Childcare Statutory Guidance.

Further information for parents

For further information you should contact your local school or funded provider.