Admissions Policy

1  Rationale

Ethelred Nursery School makes provision for children between the ages of 2 and rising 5.  The Children’s Centre supports children from birth to 5 years old.

At Ethelred Nursery School and Children’s Centre we believe that all children benefit from learning together with their peers from a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures, genders and abilities. We believe in equality of opportunity and that everyone should be treated with respect.  We are committed to maintaining an inclusive environment and being flexible enough to provide for the needs of children and their families effectively.

We aim to:

  • Make the admissions policy fair and easily understood
  • Provide high quality integrated education and care for children from birth to five years old
  • Provide a seamless transition from home to centre, from centre/home to nursery and from nursery to primary school
  • Offer flexible arrangements, wherever possible, in order to meet the needs of children and their families
2  The Application Process

Ethelred Nursery School manages its own admissions process using Local Authority (LA) and Department for Education (DfE) criteria and guidance. Application forms are available directly from the nursery school or Children’s Centre and an online application is available by clicking here.

Parents/carers are encouraged to visit the school during the application process to meet the headteacher and experience at first hand Ethelred’s unique learning environment, thereby ensuring the provision meets their expectations and their child’s needs.

The child’s completed application form will be placed in the admissions file and the parent/carer contacted in due course and when places are available. If a child is cared for by a childminder, the application form must be completed by the parent/carer.

Parents have no right of appeal if they are not allocated a place by the school.

All offers of places are provisional until proof of address and verification of date of birth (taken from the child’s full birth certificate) has been seen by the office staff.

3  Ethelred Nursery School Places

The Nursery currently offers 55 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) places with a mixture of full time and part time children. e.g. if we have 38 full time places, we can offer 34 part time places (17 am and 17 pm). These figures vary depending on places taken up.

Nursery provision is available from 9.15am to 3.15pm, over 38 weeks a year. We offer breakfast club to support working parents. After school club provision can be accessed from Archbishop Sumner School with whom we have an association. Both services have additional costs.

A single nursery session consists of 2.5 hours either in the morning from 9.15am – 11.45am or afternoon from 12.45pm – 3.15pm.

Children have either a full time place (30 hours) or a part time place (15 hours). This is dependent upon age and eligibility criteria. Parents/carers are actively encouraged to check the information and guidance available at and visit the Lambeth Parent Portal to check eligibility.

Parents/carers meeting the relevant eligibility criteria are able to access their:

  • 15 hours early years funding for 2 year olds
  • 15 hours universal entitlement for 3/4 year olds
  • 30 hours for working parents of 3/4 year olds

Paid provision is also available ie. parents not meeting the 2 year old free early learning criteria can choose to pay for nursery provision and parents of 3/4 year olds can pay for additional hours above their 15 hours free universal entitlement.

Additional hours are currently charged at £8.00 per hour.

We are able to offer a range of flexible part time provision to support parents/carers who are working or studying. For example, part time children can attend for 4 mornings or 4 afternoons with one day full time to make up their 15 hours or choose to spread their 15 hours over 3 days.

Please note, flexible provision is dependent upon availability.

3.1  Allocation of places

Places are offered either when funding is provided by the government or if parents/carers pay (see information below). Places at Ethelred are usually allocated for a September or January start. Places may be allocated at other times depending on availability.

If places become available during the year they will be filled following the criteria listed below.

3.2  2 Year Old Places

These places are Government funded by the 2 year old Early Learning Offer.

Children are eligible for a funded place for 15 hours if they meet the specific eligibility criteria from the term following their 2nd birthday to the term following their 3rd birthday.

Eligibility for a 2 year old funded place is verified online by visiting the Lambeth Parent Portal. Once completed, eligible parents will be emailed a reference number. Ethelred will need this reference number to process the application for a place.

If a child is attending another setting, the parent/carer must give that setting the required notice period. A start date to commence at Ethelred will not be given until we have evidence that this has been actioned.

2 Year Old Eligibility Criteria

A 2 year old can get 15 hours of free early education and childcare a week if you receive one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit (with an annual net income of no more than £15,400 if your child was born on or after 1 January 2016)
  • tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit).

A child can also get free early education and childcare if any of the following apply:

  • they are looked after or in care
  • they have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • they have left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order
  • they are in receipt of a Disability Living Allowance.

If one of the first three criteria are met, the parent/carer will need to apply directly to their Local Authority, who will confirm eligibility and send a confirmation letter.

Parents or carers of children receiving a Disability Living Allowance will need to visit their local children's centre, health care professional or speak to Contact (formerly known as Contact a Family), or the Early Years SEN Service. Any of these professionals will be able to verify to the LA a child qualifies for a free early learning place. The LA will send the parent/carer a letter confirming eligibility.

If a letter is not received please contact directly.

2 Year Old Paid Places

Where children do not meet the criteria parents/carers can pay for individual sessions at the current cost of £8.00 per hour. Parents/carers will be expected to sign a contract and fees are payable monthly in advance.

3.3  3 and 4 Year Old Places

All 3 and 4 year old children are eligible for 570 hours of free early education or childcare per year from the term following their 3rd birthday and can start at Ethelred if there are places available.


A child born between:       

Can have a place from:
1 January to 31 March The beginning of term on or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August        The beginning of term on or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December     The beginning of term on or after 1 January






The majority of our places become available in September and are allocated during the previous summer term. However if spaces become available at any point in the year parents/carers may apply for a place.

Eligibility Criteria  

If there are more applications than places available, the following Lambeth Admissions criteria, listed in order of priority, determine which children are offered a 15 hour funded place:

  • Children looked after, or who have an allocated social worker who has provided written support of the application*
  • Children who are recommended for a place at that school by the Disability or Locality TAC (Team around the Child) *
  • Children with professionally supported educational, medical or social needs*
  • Children with a brother or sister currently attending the school and who will still be at the school when the child is admitted
  • Children who live nearest to the school on the basis of distance between the child’s home and the school, measured by a straight line
  • Children who live in the borough of Lambeth
  • Any other children

* Children for whom there is a recommendation for nursery education by a health professional, social worker, educational psychologist, outreach worker on the basis of a child’s special educational needs or social needs. Examples of special educational needs might include: emotional and behavioural problems; hearing difficulties; lack of personal interaction and stimulation; physical disabilities; speech and language problems; and, visual difficulties. Examples of social needs might include: children who were multiple births (twins, triplets); child with parents/carers under 20 years of age; a child in the sole care of grandparent(s); a child who has two or more siblings under four years of age: a child with a sibling with disabilities; a child on the child protection register; families living in hostels or poor temporary accommodation; or, a child of parent/carers with disabilities.

3/4 Year Old Paid Places

Parents/carers can choose to pay for additional hours currently charged at £8 per hour. They will be expected to sign a contract and fees are payable monthly in advance.

Parents can use the childcare calculator to check what help may be available with childcare costs.

3.4  30 Hours Free Early Education for 3 and 4 Year Olds

For children who meet the specific Government criteria, a free funded full time place of 30 hours is available the term after their 3rd birthday. An HMRC online application process is used to check eligibility (see below). If your application is successful you will receive an eligibility code that we will enter into our system to check validity. The extra 15 hours will be available to use from the start of the next term and eligibility will be checked every three months.

Parents will need to meet the following criteria to be eligible for 30 hours free childcare:

  • Parents earn or expect to earn the equivalent to 16 hours at National Minimum or Living Wage over the coming three months. This equates to £125.28 a week for each parent over 25 years old or £118.08 a week for each parent between 21 and 24 years old. This applies whether you are in paid employment, self-employed or on zero hours contract.
  • If out of work, the parents should be seeking the free childcare to enable them to work.
  • If one or both parents are on maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave, or if they are on statutory sick leave.
  • Where one parent meets the income criteria and the other is unable to work because they are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have been assessed as having limited capability to work.
  • Where a parent is in a ‘start-up period’ (for example they are newly self-employed) they do not need to demonstrate that they meet the income criteria for 12 months.
  • If a non-EEA national, the parent must have recourse to public funds.

Parents will not meet the criteria when either one:

  • has an income of more than £100,000
  • is a non-EEA national and subject to immigration control (and has no recourse to public funds).

Parents/carers should visit the government website 'Help paying for childcare' for further information and guidance on setting up an account to check eligibility.

If you encounter any problems with the application process or accessing the childcare account, you should direct your queries to the childcare service Customer Interaction Centre on 0300 123 4097.

If you don't meet the criteria you will still be entitled to 15 hours of free childcare and you can use the childcare calculator to check what help you can get with childcare costs.

4  Free School Meals (FSM) and Paid Meals

All part-time children are given the opportunity to attend Nursery for 1 full day per week to give them the opportunity to experience routines across a full day, including lunch. We feel this is good preparation for primary school and it was introduced in response to parental requests.

The criteria for Free School Meals depends on whether families are in receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

At Ethelred children who have a 2 year old place are not entitled to Free School Meals until the term after their 3rd birthday. The lunch hour is not included within the 15 hour Early Learning Funded Place. Parents have the choice of paying for their child’s lunch or to collect at 11.45am and return for the afternoon session at 12.45pm.

5  Settling into Nursery

We want children to settle into the provision happily and will take parent/carer circumstances into account during the settling in period to ensure that each child has the best start possible.

Children thrive in an environment in which they feel safe and secure. Parents/carers must feel confident that their child’s experience is as good as it could be. In order to facilitate this, all children are allocated a key person. This adult has a special relationship with the child and their family and is the first point of contact.

Families are offered a home visit prior to starting nursery. Children are also offered the opportunity to visit several times prior to the official admission date (parents/carers must stay with the child during these visits). For children under three, it is recommended that several visits to the setting are made before the child is left for the first time as this will enhance the settling in process and support a smoother transition.

The key person and parent/carer will work together to decide when a child may be left at the nursery for the first time. Each child is treated as an individual; his/her particular past experiences (e.g. playgroup attendance) and emotional maturity are taken into account during this important settling in period. Parents/carers are often asked to leave their child for only short periods of time initially until they are ready and able to part confidently from them.

Children who have a place at another maintained Nursery School will not be offered another free place but parents/carers are entitled to access their free entitlement at a setting(s) of their own choosing.  Wherever possible, we will liaise with Lambeth and local schools to ensure there is no repetition in the allocation of nursery places.

6  Extended Holidays

There is an expectation that children will attend regularly. If parents/carers are planning an extended holiday, they need to speak to the Head teacher and fill out a form detailing what they are planning to do. We are required to register any holidays taken during the school term as unauthorised absences. For prolonged absences we cannot guarantee to hold a place open.

We have a responsibility to promote regular attendance and are committed to supporting families to achieve this.

7  Provision in the Children’s Centre

In the Children’s Centre, services run for 48 weeks a year with sessions running in the morning and afternoon and during school holidays. Click here for the current activity programme, or alternatively obtain a programme from the nursery school office or from the children’s centre office.

All parents/carers need to complete a children’s centre registration form.

7.1  Free Courses and Crèche Provision

Places on courses are given to parents (including expectant parents)/carers with children from birth to 5 years old. Any remaining places may be allocated to other adults. The total number of places on each course will be decided by the Tutor and Children’s Centre Manager, and this will vary according to what is being delivered.  Allocation is on a first come, first served basis and registrations are completed prior to the course starting. Crèche places are available for children from 6 months old whose parents/carers are attending courses or workshops in the children’s centre.  The number of places in the crèche varies and is determined by Ofsted staffing ratios.