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Four year olds

If your child’s date of birth is on or between 1 March 2020 and the 28 February 2021 he or she will be eligible for a funded early learning and childcare (ELC) place in August 2024. 

Three year olds

If your child’s date of birth is on or between 1 March 2021 and the 28 February 2022 he or she will be eligible for a funded place as set out below.

Eligibility information
Children born betweenWill be eligible for up to 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare from
1 March 2021 to 31 August 2021 August 2024
1 September 2021 to 31 December 2021 January 2025
1 January 2022 to 28 February 2022 April 2025

Places are available from the first Monday of the term after their third birthday (Tuesday if there is a public holiday).

However, staggered entry dates may be required due to the number of eligible children each term. 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 2022 and 31 August 2022 will be eligible for a place in August 2025. 

Financial Inclusion Team (FIT)

The Financial Inclusion Team (FIT) provide residents in East Ayrshire with information, advice and support relating to welfare rights, maximising incomes.  Looking at benefit entitlement, debts, gas/electricity arrears, affordable money services, rent arrears and more.

Your child's school has a dedicated Financial Inclusion Adviser who may be able to support and identify entitlements, providing a free and confidential service.

Contact information for your adviser can be obtained through your school, or alternatively by contacting the EA Money: Financial Inclusion Team using the details at the bottom of this page.

Where the service is available

A list of centres offering funded three and four year old places can be found in  A Guide to Early Learning and Childcare.

Allocation of places and deciding priorities 

The Early Learning and Childcare Allocation Policy sets out the priority criteria for the allocation of places and patterns of hours.

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 term after their third birthday according to set dates. Eligible two year olds can access a place in the term after their second birthday.

All places for children aged three to four years are allocated to early childhood centres and funded ELC providers, including childminders through a central allocation process. This ensures that all eligible children have access to a place.


The priority criteria will be applied to allocate places to ELC settings. If there are too many applications for the places available, a ballot will be required to allocate places and/or models of ELC.

Models of early learning and childcare

Once places have been allocated in an ELC setting and the demand for particular models are oversubscribed, then the Priority criteria will be applied to allocate the models and if oversubscribed within the criteria, a ballot will be required.


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

  • oversubscription of new applications
  • oversubscription for models

The priority criteria will apply to all ballots.

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 an ELC model when you complete the application form. Places and ELC models will be allocated according to the allocation criteria set out in the ELC Allocation Policy Priorities 1 to 9.

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

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

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.

Contact Information

Early Learning and Childcare
Telephone:07385 394774
Telephone:07741 134679
East Ayrshire Money
Freephone: 0800 389 7750

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