Eligibility for early learning and childcare places

The Scottish Government funds 600 hours of early learning and childcare for all three and four year old children and also for some two year old children.

From August 2020, 1140hours will be available to all eligible children.  However, during the expansion period, the additional funded hours are being offered on a phased basis in some locations.  This approach takes into careful consideration areas of need and rurality, staffing and building work.  Therefore, some settings will be in a position to offer 1140 hours before others.  Priority will be given to families meeting criteria set out in the interim additional provision to the Admissions criteria.

In line with Scottish Government advice, centres with high numbers of children who live in areas defined in the Scottish index for multiple deprivation (SIMD 1 and SIMD 2) will be considered first for access to increased hours, in those centres where there is a physical capacity to deliver additional places or additional hours and the required staffing is in place.  Defined geographic areas been agreed in line with school catchment areas during the phasing period.

Two year olds

Find out about eligibility for two year olds, details of which services are available and how to apply.

Pilot project in North West Kilmarnock

If you’re a parent or carer to a child aged two in North West Kilmarnock, and you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you could be missing out on 600 hours of free funded Early Learning and Childcare.

If you receive any of the following, you qualify for funded Early Learning Childcare:

  • Income Support
  • Job Seekers Allowance
  • State Pension Credit
  • Employment Support Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit, or Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (and your income is under £16,105)
  • Maximum Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit (and income    under £6,420)
  • Universal Credit (and income is under £610 a month)
  • Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Working Tax Credit (and income is under £6,420) or the working Tax Credit 4 week run-on

Two year old children are eligible for a funded place under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act if they are looked after, under a kinship care order, or have a parent-appointed guardian.

Places may be available in Hillbank, Onthank and Cairns Early Childhood Centres, the Avenue Childcare Service and selected childminders.

How to apply

Applying is easy and confidential. Call 01563 554957 or email communitychildcaresupport-admin@east-ayrshire.gov.uk

Three year olds

If your child’s date of birth is on or between 1 March 2016 and the 28 February 2017 he/she will be eligible for a funded place as set out in the table below.

Children born betweenWill be eligible for 600 hours of funded early learning and childcare from
1 March 2016 – 31 August 2016 August 2019
1 September 2016 – 29 February 2017 The month after their third birthday

Four year olds

If your child’s date of birth is on or between 1 March 2015 and the 29 February 2016 he/she will be eligible for a funded early learning and childcare place in August 2019. 

How to register

Registration for all early childhood centres and funded providers in East Ayrshire will take place from Monday 25 February 2019 - Friday 8th March 2019.  The relevant application form will be available from your first choice of centre. If the centre of your first choice is providing 1140hrs placements you may be able to split this place with a participation childminder (Blended Model).  For more information on Blended Model please contact the community childminder support service on 01563 554980.

Please apply direct to the early childhood centre or partner provider centre and remember to bring along your child's birth certificate at the time of registration.

Deciding priorities for admission 

We have agreed that there are some family circumstances which will give children priority for admission. Children will be banded in line with the Early Learning and Childcare Admissions Policy detailed in A Guide to Early Learning and Childcare in East Ayrshire both for a place in an establishment and, where requested, for a particular session. 

Children who reside outwith East Ayrshire and who are cared for by a childminder and/or relatives in East Ayrshire will be considered using their home address only.

Dates of birth or length of time on the register of applications does not affect priority given to children in their pre-school year (four year olds). Children in their ante pre-school year (three year olds) are eligible for a place according to set dates. 

Placing requests for children with additional support needs 

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 as amended, allows parents of a child who has been assessed as having additional support for learning needs to make a placing request for their child to attend any centre under the management of an education authority (which includes both local authority early childhood centres and partner providers). 

If a placing request is refused the parent will have the right to formally appeal as set out in the Code of Practice as defined by the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 as amended. 

Cross boundary places

If you would like to access a funded early learning and childcare place for your child in a centre outwith East Ayrshire you should contact our Education Service on 01563 578118/576140 for further information or alternatively please refer to the cross boundary parents leaflet.

Please note only 600 hours of early learning and childcare are funded on a cross boundary arrangement.

A guide to early learning and childcare

Download our Guide to Early Learning and Childcare in East Ayrshire (PDF 712Kb)

Contact Information

Education Service
Council Headquarters
London Road
Telephone: 01563 576004
Telephone: 01563 576140