Nursery school or class
Local council maintained nursery schools and nursery classes are one type of childcare setting that provide free childcare and early learning for 3 to 5 year olds. For information on other types of childcare settings, please visit our page on types of childcare. Nursery schools may be based at Children’s Centres or part of infant or primary schools. There are also nursery classes within some primary schools.
There are 7 nursery schools and 23 nursery classes in Cambridgeshire. They all offer part-time early years education for children from the term after their third birthday. You can find your nearest nursery school or class, as well as other early education providers, on the Family Information Directory.
These nurseries offer provision for children who are not yet of statutory school age (and are optional). When children reach statutory school age they must apply for a school place in a reception class. Most children in Cambridgeshire start school in the September following their fourth birthday. Statutory school age (the legal age at which a child must be receiving an education) is from the term after their fifth birthday.
Parents can register their interest in a place at a nursery school or class at any time. You must formally apply for a place using the local council nursery admission form below. Please also read the nursery admission policy below before completing the form.
What you are entitled to
All 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to 15 hours a week of free childcare and early learning from the term following their third birthday. For more information go to free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds.
You can choose whether your child accesses a place at a nursery school or nursery class, or whether they access their entitlement through an alternative childcare setting.
What you can do
If you wish to apply for a place at one of the nursery schools or nursery classes you should arrange a visit, ask for a copy of their policy and a nursery application form.
Until your child is of statutory school age (term after your child's 5th birthday) you can choose whether to take up the offer of a school reception place on a full-time or part-time basis, or to continue with 15 hours of free early learning a week in an early learning or nursery setting instead.
If your choice is for your child to access 15 hours of early learning at a setting other than a school, until the start of the term after their fifth birthday, you will need to do the following:
- discuss your choice with your child's early years childcare setting (i.e. nursery) in the first instance
- complete a reception application form for your child by the national closing date of the year your child is due to start school
- complete a nursery re-admission application form and return it to the early years childcare setting by 31 March of the year your child is due to start school.
Please note that the completion of a nursery re-admission application form does not guarantee your child a place at the nursery.
If you wish to defer your child's entry to Reception class until later in the academic year, please complete this form.
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If you need more help
Our Families and Childcare helpline can help you to find childcare settings where your child can access free childcare and early learning.
Telephone: 0345 045 1360
Email: [email protected]