Please talk to me about signing up for pre-school or schools

I've heard a few of my friends talking about registering their toddlers for schools & preschools. Isobelle is only 2 but I'm beginning to think that I should be doing this 2. I feel a bit stupid but I've got no idea what I need to do. Do you go & look around local schools and then deal with them directly? How many should I register with? Do you need to find schools with preschools attached or find a few private nurseries?

As you can see I'm a bit clueless!!

Thanks for any help! x


  • You cant do anything about schools until the official application the january before they go. Pre schools vary a kot though. P is starting one in september, its a private one although a direct feeder to the school p wilk go to and the one in the next vilkage. I signed her up in october and they already have no spaces for this september and are 3/4 full for the one after. Depending on when you want her to start it definitely worth starting to look.  I knew I wanted this one from word of mouth abd because we are rural there isnt the choice there may be in a town. I looked in their website, called and went and looked round.

  • Thanks AR,

    another silly question, she already goes to a nursery is a preschool any different?

  • O is a similar age and I have already signed him up for September. He ill go to the one his sister went to nd here his brother currently goes. When I was looking for A I went around to about 4 pre schools. Many don't have formal open days but allow you to just come along and visit. I suppose nurseries will b similar in a way as they will need to follow the early years curriculum. Nurseries will also have more flexibility on hours. C currently goes to pre school 1.5 days a week and nursery 1 day a week. If I am honest I much prefer the pre school. Although it is still very play based there seems to be more routine and story time for them.

  • Aren't you a teacher bk Laugh

    Isaac starts Pre school in sept (he's first reserve ATM so if anyone leaves from now till July he can go), I need to pay for him to go its 9.30-12.30  3 mornings a week but it will be free the term after he is 3. He will go there till the following sept when he will start the nursery attached to the school he will go to

  • Ok, I didn't realise you had to do these things so soon, wish I'd have known! Will have a look this week & organise some visits soon!!

    Last silly question: Do you pay for preschool or is it funded from 3 (which I guess is when they all start)?

    Something this important the government really should send all 1st time parents a leaflet about!!

  • You pay for it until they get funded hours then you get those free hours taken off your bill. P will start in sept at 2.5. 2 mornings a week to begin with, upping to 2 full days after Christmas when I go back to work. I've been banking childcare vouchers for awhile so we'll have lots of her first 2 terms paid for by that and then she'll get her hours funded from next Easter.
  • Their funded hours are from the term after they are 3

  • I am paying for O for 2 terms. His funding will come in after Easter 2015. C who was 3 last September had his 15 hours from the January just gone. His pre school had no more spaces for him so he is doing 1 day a week at he nursery next to A's September C will do 9-3 Wed and Thursday and 9-12 on a Friday. O will do 12.30-3 on a Wed and 9-12 on a Friday.

    You might also wan to think about nurseries attached the school you might want I to o to A's school has no nursery (first year in is reception) so was no a consideration for us. For thi she would be starting the academic year she turns 4.

  • Just to add I have to start O in September to secure him a place. If I waited for his funded hours I would probably have to wait until the following September as most places are allocated.

  • Wow, lots to take in but I appreciate all the detail. I guess the timing will work out ok as I can put Isobelle in from Sept & then I'll be on ML a month later so I'll have a few free days to prepare for the baby & then hopefully won't feel so guilty about her being in a preschool as well as 2 full days at nursery whilst I work. We already use the childcare vouchers for payment towards nursery then I guess I can transfer them to somewhere else once she finishes at nursery. Guess I just need to look around now as I don't really know many nurseries in my area

  • Just to add that A started pre school when C was 5 days old. She was fine and settled in no problem.

  • WEES about school, you can't put there name down and have to wait until the official applications in the school year before they're due to start.

    For pre-school, we kept C at his nursery because pre-schools tend to be short sessions and we needed him in childcare for two full days (8am-6pm) when we were at work so would still need childcare around those times.  We loved the nursery he was at, they have a pre-school room, follow the same criteria/curriculum etc, and they took the 15 hours a week off the bill when his funding kicked in.

  • We opted for a private nursery rather than a preschool type place. The reasons being most of the preschools here don't seem to take them on until their at least 2.5 years (we wanted F to start at 2) and we were also really impressed with this particular nursery. Bonus is it's on our doorstep, as is the school he'll go to.

    When he gets to preschool age, he'll move to what they call the preschool room where he'll do more school type prep ready for when he starts school.

    We'll be able to offset his funded hours against what we pay when he turns 3.

    To be honest, we didn't really bother finding out much about other places because we knew we wanted to send him to the nursery. People keep telling me a preschool would be cheaper but, for us, it's not necessarily about the money.

    I admit though, it's all confusing!

  • You can register your interest with a school though, which people often refer to as "putting their name down", but it isn't an application and doesn't give you any advantage when applications do open.  Around here though it meant that I was contacted about open days for the schools that I had expressed an interest in.

    We did look around school when Zoe was 2ish, mainly because we wanted to put her in to a pre-school with links to the school which we would hope she would go to.

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