Apply for a nursery school place

Guidance on how and when to apply for a nursery school place, and alternative options to your child’s early years education.

Free nursery places through a nursery school

There are more than 30 community nursery schools, community schools with nursery classes and early years centres in Hammersmith and Fulham, where you can access a free nursery place.

This will give your child a valuable introduction to school, allowing them to develop at their own pace and with children their own age. They will be taught the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which is the national curriculum for children before they start school.

How and when to apply

Most children usually spend a year at nursery before starting primary school. They tend to join in a September or January when they are aged 3 or 4.

To access a place, you will need to contact the nursery directly and visit their website for details on their admissions criteria, which will include dates and how to access an application form. 

Contact details for community nurseries and primary schools with nurseries can be found on the webpage School contact details

Admissions criteria for community nursery schools

If there are more applications than places, schools give preference to children in the following order:

1. Children in public care (those looked after by a local authority under section 22 of the Children Act 1989).

2. Children defined as being in priority need within the categories of need defined by the Children Act 1989 or as having an otherwise professionally supported exceptional education, medical or social need for a particular school (see note 1).

3. Children who have a brother or sister already in the school. If there are more children with siblings in the school than places available, places will be allocated to those children with siblings who live nearest to the school in terms of walking distance (see note 3).

4. Children who live nearest the school in terms of walking distance (see note 3).


1. If you think your child has an exceptional educational, social or medical need for a particular school, your case must be supported by documented evidence from a doctor, health visitor, social worker or other medical professional. You have to submit this evidence when you make your application. You will need to show why your preferred school is the only school that meets your child’s social or medical need. The decision on whether your child qualifies on medical or social grounds is made by us, the local authority.

2. Sibling refers to brother or sister, half-brother or sister, adopted brother or sister, step-brother or sister, or the child of the parent/carer’s partner where the child for whom the school place is sought is living in the same family at the same address as that sibling.

3. We measure distances by the shortest walking route, via public rights of way, from a central point of the child’s home address (including flats) to the main entrance of the school, using our computerised measuring system. Those living closer to the school get the higher priority.

Under present education law, there is no right of appeal if your child is unsuccessful in getting a place.

Free nursery or childminder places through a private provider

Please note, you can also access a free childcare place for your 3 or 4 year old through a private or independent nursery or childminder. They also follow the EYFS curriculum and you can view them on the Family information directory. The government also provide additional schemes to help you with your childcare costs including Tax-Free Childcare and funded places for 2 year olds. See Help with childcare costs.

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