Nursery admissions 2024

Coordination of admission to nursery in September 2024

The co-ordination of nursery admissions is with the purpose of a central system that demonstrates a fair and transparent admissions process, enabling children to access their statutory entitlement of 15 hours of educational provision and identifying those children who are without a nursery place.

Children will usually start nursery school or a nursery class attached to a primary school in the September following their third birthday. However, it is possible for eligible children to access a funded nursery place from the beginning of the term after their third birthday.

Before you apply

The Starting Nursery in Tower Hamlets booklet contains all the information you need on applying, including a step by step guide to making your online application.  

You can apply for up to three Tower Hamlets nurseries. 

There is no automatic right of transfer from the nursery class to the reception class in the same school, and attending a nursery class does not give any priority for admission to reception class at the same school.

When you have completed and submitted your application you will receive an email confirmation.

Watch the short video about applying to nursery schools in Tower Hamlets.

Parents advice session

Join the The School Admissions Service Team and the Transitions Team for a parents advice session. Reserve your place (various dates).

How to apply

If your child was born between 1 September 2020 and 31 August 2021 and you would like a nursery place for September 2024, you must apply online via the eadmissions portal. The closing date is 16 February 2024. 

Application guidance

For guidance on completing an online application, please see Appendix B of the Starting Nursery in Tower Hamlets 2024 brochure.

If you are applying for a nursery place at a voluntary aided school, free school or academy, you must – as well as completing our online application – complete the school’s supplementary information form (SIF) if they have one. See a list of schools requiring SIFs.

Closing date

The closing date for nursery applications is 16 February 2024. All applications submitted before this date are considered equally, and are not processed on a first come first served basis.

It is very important not to apply late, because applications made after the closing date will be considered only after places have been allocated to children whose parents applied on time.

Nursery class places are in considerable demand and most schools will not have vacancies once all applications that have been received on time have been processed.

Notification of decisions

If your application was received on or before the closing date, The School Admissions Service will notify you of the outcome of your application by letter and email. The letter will be sent on 8 May 2024 and will name the nursery at which your child has been offered a place. The email will be sent after 5pm on the same day.

This offer will be for a part-time place only. Once you have been offered a part-time place you may request a full time place from your nursery.

If you have not been offered a place at your chosen nurseries, you will be sent a list of nurseries that still have places remaining and given the opportunity to visit and apply to one of these nurseries. Your child will also be placed on the waiting list for your preferred nursery.

You must accept or decline the offer of a place by 23 May 2024 so that nursery places can then be reallocated. If you do not reply by 23 May 2024 the offer will be withdrawn.



All parents are entitled to 15 hours per week i.e. a part-time place, of free early years education for 38 weeks each year. This starts from the first school term after their child’s third birthday and ends when the child reaches compulsory school age i.e. the term after their fifth birthday.


An additional free 15 hours per week i.e. a full-time place, will be available for families where both parents are working (or the sole parent is working). Typically each parent must earn at least the national minimum or living wage for 16 hours a week and less than £100,000 a year to be eligible. For more information on eligibility visit this childcare support page.

Parents not eligible for the additional free 15 hours may still access a full time place by paying a top-up fee. This fee will be set by each nursery. Please contact your local nursery for further information.

Only part-time places will be offered as part of this coordinated scheme. Once your child has been offered a part-time place, you may request a full-time place from your nursery. Full-time places will be subject to availability and will depend on the eligibility criteria outlined in the previous paragraph.

Applying for a Nursery Place in 2023/24

If your child was born between 1 September 2019 and 31 August 2020 and does not attend nursery, you can apply for a nursery place for the 2023/24 school year by making an application online via Parent Portal.

The Admissions Service will normally let parents know whether or not a place can be offered within ten school days of receiving an application for a child who does not have a nursery place.

If your child turns three during the 2023/24 school year, you can apply for a nursery place for the term following their third birthday i.e. January 2024 or April 2024 through a Nursery CAF form for January/April admissions.

Contact the School Admissions Service

Please email 

By telephone: 020 7364 5006

Tower Hamlets Transition Support Service provides information, advice and support around transitions. 

Tel: 020 7364 1533

Follow us on twitter: @TransitionsTH 

Tower Hamlets Family Information Service

The Family Information Service (FIS) holds a database of all registered childcare in the borough including details of vacancies, costs, opening times, age range, special needs provision, and availability of school pick-up. There is also guidance on how to choose childcare and ways to pay for it. For those interested in a career in childcare, the FIS can provide information on what jobs are available, training and vacancies.

Tel: 020 7364 6495

Tower Hamlets Integrated Early Years Service (IEYS)

The early years service provides information on early years/foundation stage education, Sure Start Children and Family Centres, future plans for childcare and early education services in Tower Hamlets and Sure Start.

Tel: 020 7364 1553

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