Free early learning and childcare

Boy with clock

What am I entitled to?

Places in nurseries for 3, 4 and some 2 year olds

In Scotland, all children aged 3 or 4 years old and some 2 year olds are entitled to a funded nursery place in either a Council nursery, or in a nursery or playgroup which has a partnership contract with the Council.

Funded places are for 600 hours per year, which is equal to just under 16 hours per week over a 38 week school year. By August 2020, all children aged 3 or 4 years old and some 2 year olds will be entitled to 1140 hours per year.

Please note, it is not always possible to guarantee that this place will be in your first choice of nursery.

Can I get help with the cost of childcare?

Your employer may be able to help you with approved childcare costs using childcare vouchers or schemes. Further information is available on Gov.uk's childcare page.  

Childminders

Childminders in Stirling will be able to offer free childcare places to 3 and 4 year olds, as well as eligible 2 year olds as part of a new partnership. 

The trial partnership will see Stirling Council and the Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) team up to deliver additional options for free childcare. 

Currently, all 3 and 4 year olds, along with some 2 year olds, are offered 600 hours of childcare per year. You can choose to claim this care from local authority nurseries and private partner nurseries, but not childminders. 

The new childminder partnership, the largest of its kind in Scotland, will give families the flexible option to choose childminders for their free childcare, either for the entire 600 hours or as a split placement option. 

When does my child become entitled?

Children become eligible for places in the term AFTER their third birthday.

Places for children under 3

There is no entitlement to nursery places for children under 3, other than for those 2 year olds who meet the criteria set out in the Children and Young People Scotland Act.

We provide a number of nursery places for children under 3 but these are popular therefore an Admissions Policy is applied to ensure fairness.

Most private nurseries and some voluntary sector groups also provide places for children under 3. There are currently no funded places available for children under 3 years old in partner nurseries or playgroups.