Three and four year olds

Four year olds

If your child’s date of birth is on or between 1 March 2017 and the 28 February 2018 he/she will be eligible for a funded early learning and childcare place in August 2021. 

Three year olds

If your child’s date of birth is on or between 1 March 2018 and the 28 February 2019 he/she will be eligible for a funded place as set out below.

Eligibility Information
Children born betweenWill be eligible for 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare from
1 March 2018 – 31 August 2018 August 2021
1 September 2018 – 28 February 2019 The month after their third birthday

Places are available from the first Monday of the month after the third birthday (Tuesday if there is a public holiday). However, staggered entry dates may be required due to the number of eligible children in any given month. Where this applies, early childhood centres and funded providers will have 10 days to admit all eligible children.

Children whose third birthday falls on or between 1 March 2019 and 31 August 2019 will be eligible for a place in August 2022. 

Where the service available

A list of centres offering funded three and four year old places can be found in  A Guide to Early Learning and Childcare in East Ayrshire (PDF 2.23Mb).

Deciding priorities for admission 

 Every effort will be made to meet your first choice of setting and preferred pattern of attendance however, this will be dependent on the number of places available and the priority given to applications in line with East Ayrshire Council ELC Allocations Policy.

Dates of birth or length of time on the register of applications does not affect priority to four year old children. Three year old children will be eligible for a place in the month after their third birthday according to set dates. Eligible two year olds can access a place the term after their second birthday.

All places for children aged 3-5 years are allocated to centres and funded providers through a central allocation process. This ensures that all eligible children have access to a place.

If a centre is oversubscribed, a ballot will take place to allocate places and/or pattern of hours.

Please note: If your child is allocated a place in an Early Childhood Centre where there is an associated primary school, there is no automatic right to a place in the primary school. 


A ballot may be necessary in some centres in the following circumstances:

  • Oversubscription of applications for four year olds
  • Oversubscription of applications for eligible three year olds
  • Oversubscription for particular models of delivery

Each centre is registered with the Care Inspectorate for a maximum number of places, therefore it is not possible to satisfy all requested patterns of attendance. You will be asked to state a preferred pattern of attendance when you complete the application form. Places and patterns of attendance will be allocated according to the allocation criteria set out in the Early Learning and Childcare Allocation Policy Priorities 1 to 9.

If your application for a place is not allocated in the centre of your first choice, then your application will be considered for a place in the centre of your second choice.

If your second choice of centre cannot provide a place then you will be offered an alternative place for your child.

Contact Information

Education Service - Early Years
Civic Centre South
16 John Dickie Street

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