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Admissions and 2 year olds

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We are now offering out nursery places for 2 year olds and in the past it has always been our policy to offer out places according to the age of children. Eldest children were offered places first and the only other criteria were that if 2 children of exactly the same age with the same date of birth needed a place, this place would be offered out to the child who applied first unless the other child had an older sibling currently in the setting. In this case the child with a sibling took priority.

I was wondering what other settings do. If you take funded 2 year olds do you give priority to these above non-funded children because there is a need, or do you take older paying 2 year olds first? I recognise that many settings are being encouraged to take more funded 2 year olds, but do any settings give preference to a funded child of 25 months over a paying child of say 30 months?

Any thoughts would be much appreciated as our committee need to review this.


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We are registered to take from 2 years old, although up to recently have only taken children at 2.6 months, unless in exceptional circumstances.

We are approved to take 2 year old funded children now, and take these children as a priority factor.

Under the current criteria we do not have a large cohort needing spaces for this, however if this changed we may certainly have to look at our admissions policy once again.

We have noticed more parents waiting until the children are eligible for 3/4 funding before starting their children, which again has an impact on any lists we have.

Many parents have their children on our list almost from birth now.

To be honest how do you make it fair?.

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We just take children on a first come first served basis to be honest no matter what their age - that's the fairest way I feel. What happens if you have a 2 year old on a waiting list but then some 3 year olds want to come? is the 2 year old moved down the waiting list? We have 1 other nursery very close by and then probably 5 or 6 others within a mile or so which means that if we didn't have spaces then there would be spaces elsewhere so no one would miss out - hopefully!

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Personally we are very lucky at the setting in that we always have at least 1 member of staff above the required ratio and not all the staff work at every session so if it came to it we could call in extra staff :)

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Thank you everyone for all of your thoughts. I have asked a local adviser about this and while she considered it was vital that disadvantaged children receive the support they deserve, she was concerned that an older child really ought to take preference as he or she would be nearer to starting school and we also have a duty to ensure that the older child is school ready.

Ultimately ratios will come into this as more staff will be needed for 2 year olds as others have suggested. We can only take 24 in total in a session so would need to limit the number of 2 year olds we admit.

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