Introduction to nursery classes

Nursery classes in Bexley schools

Parents are entitled to 15 hours per week of free early years education for 38 weeks each year from the start of the school term after their child’s third birthday until the child reaches compulsory school age.

Many nursery classes in Bexley schools offer three-hour sessions either in the morning or afternoon to cover the free entitlement. Others have introduced new arrangements that offer more flexibility for parents, such as a combination of full and half-day sessions.

List of schools and sessions offered

Children born between 1 September 2020 and 28 February 2021 can start in a nursery class in September 2024. Children born between 1 March 2021 and 31 August 2021 can start in January 2025.

Most schools will admit all children in September 2024 if they have enough spaces.

There is one application period for both start dates. You must apply between 16 January and 6 April 2024 to be sure that your application is considered for your preferred school. There may be places available in some schools for children who apply after the closing date, but late applications will only be considered after those that are submitted by 6 April 2024.

Other pre-school places

The 15 hours free entitlement can also be taken in private, voluntary and independent nurseries, preschools and play groups. These providers often admit children at a younger age than school nursery classes and more regularly through the year. They are funded directly for the 15 hours; there is no need for parents to apply separately for funding. Some private, voluntary and independent providers also offer additional hours during the week. The additional cost for those hours is a private arrangement between the parent and the provider.

Separate information is available from the Contact Centre at the Civic Offices about these options, or visit Early years education.

30-hour funding

From September 2017, eligible parents of three and four-year-olds have been able to access 30 hours funded childcare or early education.

All three and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours per week. The additional 15 hours are available for families where both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone-parent family). Each parent must earn the equivalent of 16 hours a week at the national minimum or living wage and less than £100,000 a year.

The 30 hours can be used with up to two different childcare providers between the hours of 6am and 8pm. This includes nurseries, pre-schools, childminders and breakfast and after-school clubs, making it more easily accessible for working parents.

Any questions or queries specifically and only about 30 hours and not our funding, please contact