[Skip to content]

Advertising

Starting nursery or pre school

Starting nursery or pre school

Pre school options

  • It's not compulsory for your child to attend nursery or pre school 
  • In all cases you will need to apply directly to the nursery or pre school you want your child to go to
  • Most will have open days or will let you visit before you apply

There are different options for pre school learning and care:

Day nurseries can care for children normally from around 3 months up until compulsory school age. Most offer care throughout the day, from around 8am until 6pm and are often open all year round, including during school holidays.

You can find a list of all the day nurseries in the borough in our families directory.

Pre schools are often run by a voluntary committee. Normally they care for children from 3 years old, up until compulsory school age although some now care for children from 2 years old. 

Most offer care in 'sessions', often of 3 hours, for example 9am until 12 midday. In most cases pre schools follow the same terms as state schools, meaning they're usually not open during the schools holidays.

A lot of pre schools have lunch and breakfast clubs which means if there are spaces your child can attend for the equivalent of a school day.

Each pre school sets its own admissions policy. 

Find pre schools

You can find pre schools in the borough in our families directory.

Some schools have what's known as a nursery class or foundation unit. Like pre schools, most offer care in 'sessions', often of 3 hours, for example 9am until 12 midday. In most cases they follow the same terms as state schools, meaning they're usually not open during the schools holidays.

Some have lunch and breakfast clubs which means if there are spaces your child can attend for the equivalent of a school day. 

You can find a list of all the  nursery classes in the borough in our families directory.

Admissions

Voluntary and community controlled schools follow the admission arrangements we set.


Some schools set their own admissions arrangements. You can view their arrangements by visiting the school's website:


Transferring to school

It's important to remember that there is no automatic transfer from a school's nursery class to the school itself - you still need to apply to the school when your child is old enough.

All 3 and 4 year-olds can get 570 hours of free childcare per year at a nursery or pre school.

Some 2 year-olds are also eligible for this.

From September 2017 the free entitlement is due to increase to 30 hours per week for working parents.

This sets the standards that all providers must meet to ensure children learn and develop, and are kept healthy and safe. 

The teaching and learning children receive helps make sure they are ready for school and gives them the foundation to progress through school and life.

Every setting has to make sure they have enough staff for the number of children they care for. For children aged:

  • 2 there needs to be 1 staff member for every 4 children
  • 3 to 5 there needs to be 1 staff member for every 8 children

The exception to this is staff in a School Foundation Unit or Maintained Nursery School, who hold a Qualified Teacher Status or Early Years Professional Status, in which case it is 1 staff member for every 13 children.

Visit our Local Offer pages to find support for children with additional needs.

You can also read the support for pre school children web page.

You can also read Local Offer information for each pre school and nursery.

The UK Government website has a section specifically to help if you have a disabled child.

Visit the Family and Childcare Trust website to find advice about the different types of childcare available; what to think about when visiting a childcare setting; finding childcare for children with special educational needs and disabilities and helping with childcare costs.

The Early Years, Childcare and Play in Wokingham hub provide advice and support for parents on childcare and supporting your child's development.

The government is introducing new ways to help parents with childcare costs. Visit the childcare choices website to find out more.

Back to top