Apply for a nursery school place

Free nursery places

There are more than 30 nursery schools, nursery classes and children’s centres in Hammersmith & Fulham offering free nursery places. Children can start either in September or January, at age three or four.

Check with your nursery or school for details of their own admission arrangements.

Going to a nursery school or class gives your child a valuable introduction to school. It’s an opportunity to develop their skills and mix with girls and boys of their own age. The relaxed atmosphere allows children to develop at their own pace.

Nursery schools in Hammersmith & Fulham

Find nursery schools and primary schools with nursery classes

Private and voluntary sector nursery schools’ details can be found in the family information service directory.

When and how to apply for a place at a council nursery school or class

Children can start nursery aged three or four. Most children usually spend three or four terms at nursery before starting primary school.

To apply for a place, ask the nursery, school or children’s centre for an application form.

The headteacher decides whether to give your child a place at the nursery. For community nursery schools, the headteacher will use a list of admissions criteria to decide who gets a place.

Voluntary-aided and church schools have their own criteria – speak directly to the school to find out more.

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.