Admissions for school year 2020-21

Following a period of consultation and the Tower Hamlets Cabinet Meeting on 27 February 2019 the council has determined its school admission arrangements for the 2020/21 school year.  View the determined admissions arrangements.

Nursery admissions 2020

Coordination of admission to nursery in September 2020

Following a statutory consultation with stakeholders and residents of Tower Hamlets, the council has decided to coordinate admissions for primary school nursery classes and maintained nursery schools from September 2019 onwards.

The decision to co-ordinate nursery admissions is firmly supported by the council's elected members with the purpose of establishing 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.

How to apply

If your child was born between 1 September 2016 and 31 August 2017 and you would like a nursery place for September 2020, you must submit an online application by 16 February 2020. 

You should apply online via the eadmissions portal. You can apply for up to three Tower Hamlets nurseries. 

When you have completed and submitted your application you will receive an email confirmation. You can make changes to your application up until the closing date: 16 February 2020. 

To find out how to apply for a nursery place for other than a September start i.e. January 2020 or April 2020, please contact Pupil Services on 020 7364 5006

Application guidance

For guidance on completing an online application, please see Appendix B of the Starting Nursery in Tower Hamlets 2020 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.

If you would like help in making an online application, please come along to one of our Apply Online sessions. If you do not have internet access at home, you can visit our Idea Stores or One Stop Shops at any time and use our internet service free of charge.

Idea Store Bow

1 Gladstone Place

Roman Road

E3 5ES

The Shadwell Centre

455 The Highway


Idea Store  Chrisp   Street

1 Vesey Path

East India Dock Road

E14 6BT

Idea Store  Whitechapel

Whitechapel Road

E1 1BU

Friday 13th September

9am – 4pm

Thursday 26th September

9am - 4pm

Monday 16th September

9am – 4pm

Friday 20th September

9am – 4pm

Friday 11th  October

9am – 4pm

Thursday 3rd October

9am – 4 pm

Monday 14th  October

9am – 4pm

Friday 25th October

9am – 4pm

Friday 29th November

9am – 4pm

Friday 13th December 

9am - 4pm

Monday 11th November

9am - 4pm

Friday 15th  November

9am –  4pm

Tuesday 21st January

9am – 4pm

Friday 24th January

9am –  4 pm

Monday 16th December

9am - 4pm

Friday 6th December

9am – 4pm

Tuesday 4th February

9am – 4pm


Monday 13th  January

9am - 4pm

Friday 10th January    

9am – 4pm



Monday 17th February

9am - 4pm 

Friday 7th February    

9am – 4pm  




Friday 14th February  

9am – 4pm     

Closing date

The closing date for nursery applications is 16 February 2020. 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, Pupil Services will notify you of the outcome of your application by letter and email. The letter will be sent on 7 May 2020 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 22 May 2020 so that nursery places can then be reallocated. If you do not reply by 22 May 2020, 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 2019/20

If your child was born between 1 September 2015 and 31 August 2016 and does not attend nursery, you can apply for a nursery place for the 2019/20 school year by making an application direct to the Local Authority using the ‘In-Year Nursery Admission 2019/20’ application form which is also available from Pupil Services.

Pupil Services 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 2019/20 school year, you may apply for a nursery place for the term following their third birthday i.e. January 2020 or April 2020. Please contact Pupil Services on 020 7364 5006 or email for more information.


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 5000

Tower Hamlets early years service

The early years service provides information on early years/foundation stage education, Sure Start children’s centres, future plans for childcare and early education services in Tower Hamlets and Sure Start.

Tel: 020 7364 5000

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