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Choosing a school nursery

It is important to carefully consider which nursery class is best for you and your child. This page is about school nursery classes, but you may also want to look at preschools, day nurseries or childminders. Find a childcare provider

Do your research

You can check to see where each Merton primary school is by using the borough primary schools map.

There are three types of primary school in Merton which have nursery classes.

  • Community schools
  • Voluntary aided (Church of England or Roman Catholic) schools
  • Academies

For full details of each of the primary schools in Merton, including the type of school, contact details, links to Ofsted reports and school websites, visit the Family Services Directory


When making your choice we encourage you to consider schools that are nearest to your home address. As well as being easier to get to, such schools are more likely to be able to admit your child. Some nursery classes attract more applications than others. In the case of community schools, the admissions criteria will then apply, which include distance from your home. Voluntary aided schools and or academies will have their own admissions criteria.

You can search for primary schools by distance from your home postcode using the Family Services Directory.

Additional childcare

As well as the Universal Entitlement, many working families can get up to 15 extra hours a week of free early education and childcare for their 3 or 4-year-old children, making up to 30 hours in total.

Parents must check their eligibility for this Extended Entitlement via HMRC's Childcare Service. You can do this up to 16 weeks before your child turns 3-years-old. Visit to find out how to apply.

The Extended Entitlement is available at a number of primary schools and places are usually offered once your Universal Entitlement place has been offered and accepted. The additional free hours are also available at private nurseries, preschools and with childminders. These providers often run pick-up and drop-off services at primary schools. You can find out which schools and other providers offer the Extended Entitlement in the Family Services Directory.

Some schools offer 'wraparound care' for children who are in their nursery classes. This is paid-for childcare either side of time spent in nursery.

Some schools offer breakfast and afterschool clubs. Not all schools will accept children aged under 5 into these clubs, so you should check with the school if you are interested in these services.

Information about whether a school offers these services is included in their entry in the Family Services Directory.

Moving up to primary school

You should also consider whether you are likely to be offered a Reception place at the school as no priority is given to children attending a community school's nursery class when Reception places are allocated.

Some Merton schools have more nursery places than Reception class places; this will often lead to some parents not getting a reception place in the school where their child attended nursery. Other schools may have a greater demand for Reception places and so do not offer as far. 

Please see the furthest distances offered in previous years for a guide as to whether you might be offered a place in Reception. Please also make sure that, if your preferred schools operates and Admission Priority Area (APA), that you understand how this works in relation to siblings who do not live in, or move out of, the APA.

Nursery classes in other boroughs

You can apply for a place outside of Merton as well, which you may wish to consider if you live close to the border of another Local Authority. To find out more information about these schools and to apply, please contact the schools or relevant Local Authority directly.

Other considerations

Once you have taken a look around and gained the information you need, you are well placed to choose where you would like to take up your child's place. However, do remember that you need to consider whether or not your child is likely to get a place. You may wish to check the check the admissions criteria for community primary school nursery classes. If you are applying for a Voluntary Aided (Church of England or Catholic school) or academy nursery class, you will need to check their admissions criteria directly.

How many school nursery classes to apply for

Community school nursery classes

You can put down two choices of community school and we would recommend you do this unless you are absolutely sure you will get your first choice place.

Voluntary aided (Church of England or Catholic school) and academy nursery classes

If you would like to apply for a voluntary aided school or academy nursery class, you must contact the school directly for an application pack. These schools have their own application procedures and may have different deadlines for their application processes. You can apply for two places at community schools as well as places at voluntary aided schools or academies.

When you have decided which school or schools interest you, contact them directly ask if you can visit to take a look around.

Next steps 

Consider the nursery classes that interest you, bearing in mind the admissions criteria

If you are applying for community school nursery classes, decide on your first and second choice preferences. If your child was born between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, you must submit your application by 28 February 2021. You can apply online from September 2020.

If you are applying for a voluntary-aided (Church of England or Catholic) school or academy nursery class in Merton, or a nursery class in another borough, contact them directly for an application pack. Check the closing dates and make sure you complete your application on time.


School Admissions Team
Civic Centre