All 3 and 4 year olds, and eligible 2 year olds, in Scotland have a statutory entitlement to up to 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare in each year of their entitlement.

Young children learn new things every single day no matter where they are, but we know that spending time in a high quality early learning and childcare setting can really boost their all-round development and learning. Have you discovered the big benefits of ELC?

Parent Club has more information about early learning and childcare in Scotland.

Access to funded early learning and childcare can support parents and carers to access work, training or study.

  1. Table of contents

When you can access funded hours

Children become eligible on their 2nd or 3rd birthday and funded hours commence accordingly:

Child's birthday Funding commences
01 March – 31 August Autumn term in that year
01 September – 31 December January (spring term) following their birthday
01 January – last day February March / April (summer term) following their birthday

In Falkirk, start dates are arranged by the nursery staff at the establishment your child will attend. Parents should expect a period of settling to be undertaken from their formal start date. As a minimum this can last for one week but can be extended where it is in the child's best interest. Nursery staff will provide further information following your place being offered.

In Falkirk Council, by local arrangement, children who turn 3 years old between 1 August and 28 (or 29) February commence funded early learning and childcare one calendar month after their 3rd birthday.

Where you can access funded hours

Funded hours are available at the following:

We know that the quality of the provision is important to parents when choosing where to receive funded hours. You can find more information about each setting on the Care Inspectorate including the most recent inspection report.

How places are allocated

Places are allocated according to Falkirk Council's Early Learning and Childcare Admissions Policy. You can view the full policy below:

Early Learning and Childcare Admission Policy

You may wish to look at the frequently asked questions and key dates and deadlines before applying.

Applying for your child's place

The current online application process for session 2024/25 is now closed.

Applications received after the closing date will not be considered until the second round of admissions, usually in May.

If you wish to apply for a place for your child to commence early learning and childcare prior to June 2024, please email

Please note, if your child is already receiving funded early learning and childcare at a Falkirk Council setting, you will be contacted separately.

Key dates and deadlines

  • 1 December to last day in February

    Application window for all new applications for 3 year olds.

  • Last day in February

    Application window closes.

    Remember - You can still apply after this date but your application won't be dealt with until all allocations are complete.

  • Mid-April

    We will notify you of your allocated place.

  • 30 April

    Deadline to let us know if you want to decline your allocated place.

  • Month of May

    Processing of late applications.

  • Month of June

    You will be contacted by your child's ELC setting with further details of start date, transition arrangements and to discuss any additional childcare requests (ELC centres only).

Funded hours with a partner childminder

We work in partnership with a number of local childminders for the delivery of funded early learning and childcare.

Funded early learning and childcare is only available at childminders who are in partnership with Falkirk Council. Parents/carers should check with their preferred childminder as to whether they are a current partner provider.

If the childminder is a partner provider and they have confirmed availability, a 'Funding Form' will be submitted by your Childminder to arrange funding.

Funded hours at private partnership nurseries

We work in partnership with a number of local private providers for the delivery of funded early learning and childcare.

Parents/carers should apply directly to the private provider. When the place is confirmed by the provider, you will then be provided with a 'Funding Form' which should be sent to us to arrange funding.

Purchasing additional childcare hours (wraparound)

Additional hours to your child's funded hours may be available to purchase at some establishment. The hourly rate from 14 August 2024 is £4.90.

For children under the age of 2 the hourly rate from 14 August 2024 is £6.30

Our school meals page offers information about the lunches available at our nurseries.

Funded childcare in other local authorities

In line with the Funding Follows the Child approach, Falkirk residents with an eligible 2, 3 or 4 year old child may choose to receive funded hours in an establishment in a another local authority.

This is known as a Cross Boundary Funding request.

For the purpose of this approach, Falkirk is the "home local authority" and the authority where the funded provider operates is the "host local authority".

You can apply for a funded place for your child at a provider that is in partnership with a host local authority.

If there is a place available, the host local authority will contact us to arrange funding.

Please note that funding will commence one calendar month after your child's 3rd birthday, irrespective of the Admission Policy of the named authority.

If you require any further information about cross-boundary funding, email

Financial support

As a parent/carer of a young child, you may be eligible for additional financial support.

The Scottish Child Payment (£40 every 4 weeks for eligible children under 6 years of age) started on 15 February 2021.

The Best Start Grant is available to families:

  • if your child is the right age for a payment.
  • whether you're in work or not, as long as you're on certain payments or benefits.
  • as long as you're the parent of a child, or the main person looking after the child.

Further information

Please contact us if you would like more information:

ELC Admissions Team