Not all two year olds are eligible for funding for an early learning and childcare place. Two year olds can start receiving funding under a few different circumstances. This includes if they are under the care of the local authority, a family member or another person appointed by the court or if their household is in receipt of certain benefits. Parents who have experienced care are also entitled to a place for their two year old.

Parents can apply for a place for their two year old if they receive any of the following benefits. They will be eligible for their place from around the term after their second birthday or the term after the benefit begins;

  • Income support
  • Job Seekers Allowance (income based)
  • Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity or Severe Disablement Allowance
  • State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, but not Working Tax Credit, and your income is less than £18,725
  • Both maximum Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit and your income is under £7,920
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit, if your household take-home pay is £726 a month or less

All funded providers in partnership with West Dunbartonshire Council including Childminders, and some local authority ELC offer funded provision for eligible two year olds.

All eligible children who will be 2 years of age before 1 March 2023, are entitled to a nursery place during school session August 2023 until June 2024, some before depending on birth date and availability of places.

Care Experienced Children

Two year olds are eligible for a nursery placement from their second birthday if they are Care Experienced, either now or previously.  Types of care include Foster Care, Kinship Care, Residential Care and care arranged to comply with a compulsory supervision order (looked after at home or away from home).

Care Experienced Parents

Care experienced parents can apply for funded early learning and childcare from their child's second birthday. Types of care include Foster Care, Kinship Care, Residential Care and care arranged to comply with a compulsory supervision order (looked after at home or away from home).

The funding eligibility dates for school session 2023/2024 for all other eligible children are:

  • Eligible children whose parents are in receipt of a qualifying benefit and will be 3 years of age between 1 March 2023 and 16 August 2023 may start nursery from 17 August 2023
  • Eligible children whose parents are in receipt of a qualifying benefit and will be 2 years of age between 17 of August and 31 of December 2023 may start nursery from January 2024
  • Eligible children whose parents are in receipt of a qualifying benefit and will be 2 years of age between 1 of January 2024 and 29 of February 2024 may start nursery from April 2024
  • The Cross Boundary Protocol will apply to parents applying for a nursery place to West Dunbartonshire Council from another Local Authority. This applies to Funded Partner Providers only

Places will be allocated in accordance with the following priority criteria:

  • Priority 1 - Child Protection, Prevention, Looked After and Complex Additional Support Needs
  • Priority 2 - Children within their allocated community as indicated by address who meet the criteria for eligible two year olds
  • Priority 3 - Children aged 2-3 within their allocated community as indicated by address, childcare will be purchased if available
  • Priority 4 - Children aged 2-3 out with their allocated community as indicated by address
  • Priority 5 - Admission will be given to children out with West Dunbartonshire whose parents make a request for this through the cross boundary protocol

If a child is eligible for a nursery placement in session 2023/2024 applications should be completed and submitted to the first choice council nursery establishment or partner provider nursery/Childminder who provides a service for the council no later than Thursday 30 March 2023. The majority of Council nursery places or funded places with partner providers will be allocated just after Easter, for the session beginning in August 2023. Applications received after the 30 of March 2023 will be considered as late applications.

Letters notifying parents/carers of nursery placement decisions will be issued in May 2023.

The admissions process will take place each year for the allocation of nursery places for the following academic year. Where an establishment has more applications than capacity a laid down procedure will be followed for balloting of places.

The nursery IT system (NAMS) will be used to facilitate the allocation of nursery places.

Cross Boundary Applications

Parents and carers can ask a funded provider working in partnership with a named local authority to make a request to the host authority for cross boundary funding.

A cross boundary admissions panel meets very May to review funding requests submitted to host authorities before the end of February for the new session beginning in August. Any requests submitted after this date will be considered by individual authorities, throughout the year, on an individual basis.

Armed Forces Families

Children from armed forces families can have additional support needs related to moving into a new education setting and admission into school dates may differ across the UK. To support the needs of individual children we will be flexible in tailoring admission decisions to the best interest of children and in line with latest Scottish Government Guidance.

Services for two year olds are available at:

How to Apply

There is a range of models available to ensure that all children can access their entitlement to

1140 hours of early learning and childcare.  Parents and carers can apply for the ELC which suits their family best. We try to make sure that everyone gets what they choose. However, there is no guarantee of this. Funding Follows the Child means that you can choose a nursery for your child; a place will be allocated if one is available.

Application and Enrolment Form

For more information on the application process you can call 01389 737309 or email:

What happens next?

Your application will be assessed against the priority criteria.  Every effort will be made to meet your preference. However, this will be dependent on places available and the priority given to applications. An Admission’s Panel will make the decision based on the admissions criteria.

Ballots for places

A ballot may be necessary if the number of applications received is greater than the number of places available. Likewise, a ballot will be held for any available places for ante pre-school children living in the nursery community.

Child’s Details, Family Details and Health Information

Please ensure the address given is the child’s permanent place of residence. If you are offered a place, you will be notified in writing and asked to confirm your acceptance of a place. You will then be invited to attend the allocated nursery with proof of your child’s identity and address (birth certificate and evidence of address) before your child is due to start. This is known as enrolment.