Registration for early learning and childcare

As a result of COVID-19, the Scottish Government has paused their early years expansion programme. Full details can be found here.

What your child is entitled to and how to apply for an early learning and childcare place

Early Years

South Ayrshire Council is committed to the provision of high quality early learning and childcare. As part of the changes being introduced by Scottish Government from August 2020 South Ayrshire Council will provide 1140 hrs of funded early learning and childcare for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds. The increase in provision will support more flexibility for parents/carers underpinned by the key principles of quality, flexibility, accessibility and affordability. Some of our centres will be able to offer flexible arrangements to suit the needs of parents and families

How and when do I apply for an early learning and childcare place?

Registration week for session 2020/21 will take place week beginning 24th February 2020. Parents/carers are requested to make a single application to the early years centre/funded provider centre of their choice. Please register at your first choice Early Years Centre. Parents/carers will be required to bring birth certificate and proof of address (Council Tax notice/Utility Bill).

Please contact the Early Years Team if you have further enquiries

Early learning and childcare parent guide

Please review the video guide that will help you complete the application form

What the increased entitlement means to you

Find more information on the increased entitlement on the Parent Club website.

When will my child be eligible to start early learning and childcare?

4 Year Olds

If your child’s date of birth is on or between 1 March 2016 and 28 February 2017

They will be eligible for a funded early learning and childcare place from August 2020

3 Year Olds

If your child’s date of birth is on or between 1 March 2017 and 28 February 2018

They will be eligible for a funded early learning and childcare place as set out as follows:

1 March 2017 – 31 August 2017August 2020
1 September – 28 February 2018The first Monday after their third birthday (unless a public holiday or in-service day)

There are no catchment areas for early years centres which means you can apply to the early years centre of your choice. All places are allocated in line with our admissions policy. View information on priorities for admissions for children aged 3-5.

Applications for children who reside out with South Ayrshire Council

For those children who are in their ante-pre and pre-school year who reside out with the boundary of South Ayrshire applying to a partnership nursery please view the information leaflet.

What if I need childcare in addition to pre-school education

The Scottish Families Information Service provides free information on local childcare provision.

Additional Charges

Additional sessions of early learning and childcare can be purchased for children aged 2-3 years and 3-5 years, where space allows, over and above any funded entitlement. Information on application and charges for session 2020-21 will be available in June.

Information on current additional charges can be found at purchase of additional sessions.

Many of our Funded Providers offer wrap-around / extra hours and charge parents directly for this. Contact the individual Funded Provider directly for details of the costs.

Can I get help with childcare costs?

Assistance towards the costs of childcare may be available through Tax Free Childcare

Best Start

If you re in receipt of certain benefits and tax credits you may be eligible for a Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment. To apply call 0800 182 2222 or visit

Early Years Team


Tel: 01292 612162