Answers to frequently asked questions about applying for a nursery place in a Merton community school.
When will I find out?
Online applicants are sent an email and will be able to review the outcome of their application on 12 May 2023. You will need to accept or decline any place offered with the school directly. Applicants who applied using a paper form will receive a letter shortly after this date. Offer letters are sent to all applicants by the school. If we are not able to offer a place you will receive a letter from School Admissions with further information.
Places for children eligible to start in April 2024 will not be offered until February 2024, with offers only being made where vacancies remain.
What if my application is late or I change my nursery choices?
If your application is made after the closing date of 28 February 2023 or if you change your school choices after this date, your application will be treated as late. A late application will not be considered until after all allocations have been made on 12 May 2023. This may jeopardise the possibility of your child being offered a place in a nursery class at one of your two preferred schools.
What is a waiting list?
Where a school nursery class is oversubscribed and has more applicants than places available, places are offered according to their admissions criteria.
In order to give the maximum number of children the opportunity to have their full three terms in a community school nursery, places will first be allocated to children eligible to start at nursery in September 2023. After these offers have been made, any remaining places will be offered to children eligible to start in January 2024. Those who cannot be offered a place will be added to a waiting list, providing they have not been offered a place in the nursery class at their highest choice school. Waiting lists are kept in the same order as the admissions criteria of the school.
Places for children eligible to start in April 2024 will not be offered until February 2024, with offers only being made where vacancies remain. If your child is still on a waiting list for your chosen school in April 2024 and will not be starting reception, you will be automatically considered for September 2024 Nursery entry with no need to reapply or renew your position on a waiting list.
Details of waiting list arrangements will be included with your outcome letter if you do not receive an offer for your first choice school.
Waiting lists can change; for example, if a child moves into the area after the places have been given out, their name will be added to the waiting list. If they live closer to the chosen school than you do, or their circumstances mean they are ranked more highly under the admissions criteria, their name may go above your child on the waiting list. Once your child's name reaches the top of the waiting list, if a place becomes free you will be offered a place.
Further information about waiting lists, your position and how to remain on this list after it closes can be found on our waiting lists page.
What if I don't get the place I want?
You will be added to the waiting list for a nursery class place at your preferred schools. There is no right of appeal for nursery class admissions. If you feel your application has not been considered properly, you can contact the School Admissions team at email@example.com to discuss your case.
Your child's name is placed on the waiting list for all schools you have named and you will be informed if a vacancy should arise. Waiting lists for Merton Community Schools close each term – the September waiting list closes 31 December and the January list closes on 31 March. All children on the April list are automatically carried over so this list does not close.
Further information about waiting lists and how to remain on this list after it closes can be found on our waiting lists page.
If we were not able to offer a place at any school named in your application, it was because there were more applications than places and other applicants ranked higher under the school's published admission criteria. Your child will be placed on the waiting list for each school named in your application. If you wish to add additional preferences to your application you can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ensure you include your child's name and date of birth in your email and clearly state your order of preference if naming more than one additional school.
September and January allocations
In order to give the maximum number of children the opportunity to have their full three terms in a community school nursery, places will first be allocated to children eligible to start at nursery in September 2023. After these offers have been made, any remaining places will be offered to children eligible to start in January 2024.
Places for children eligible to start in April 2024 will not be offered until February 2024, with offers only being made where vacancies remain. If your child is still on a waiting list for your chosen school in April 2024 and your child is not starting Reception in 2024, you will be automatically considered for September 2024 Nursery entry with no need to reapply or renew your position on a waiting list.
Can I defer my place?
No. If you are offered a place and you do not want your child to start nursery at the normal time (i.e. the term after their third birthday) then you should reject the place and reapply for the following year.
Can I apply for a nursery place outside Merton?
Yes, as a Merton resident you can apply for a place in another borough. You will need to contact these boroughs to find out how to make an application, as procedures and closing dates are different for nurseries in each borough.
I do not live in Merton; can I apply for a nursery class place at Merton school?
Yes. We cannot, by law, give priority to children because they live in Merton. You can ask the school for an application form or apply online.
If my child gets a place in a school nursery class, will they automatically get a place in the reception class?
No. A new application must be made for the reception class. Schools cannot guarantee places for children who are in their nursery class. This is to make it fair, as some Merton schools have more nursery class places than reception class places, and some families may choose not to send their child to nursery class at all.
If I already have a child at my preferred school will I automatically get a place for my younger child?
No. You still need to make the application and name your child's brother or sister on the application form. Stepbrothers and sisters and adopted brothers and sisters all qualify as long as they live at the same address. A brother or sister who is currently attending the school but who will have moved on to secondary school when your child is due to start nursery will not qualify.
Is it wise to choose schools nearest to my home?
Yes. You will have a better chance of getting a nursery class place at the school closest to your home, although there is no guarantee of being offered a place at your nearest school.
My partner and I are separated but have joint access or responsibility. Which address should we use?
If you have joint access, the parent who looks after the child for most of the school week should make the application and give their address. This address is always checked for oversubscribed schools and documentary proof may be requested. It will normally be the address of the parent who receives Child Benefit. If you are unsure, please contact the School Admissions team for advice.
My family or childminder looks after my child during the week. Can I put their address on the application?
No. We cannot accept the address of childminders or family members who may help you with the care of your child. It must be the child's home address.
We are living at a temporary address. What should we do?
If you are at a temporary address, changing your address before your child attends the school you choose, or will be returning to this country from an HM Forces posting overseas or temporary employment overseas, contact the School Admissions team at email@example.com.
We are hoping to move in the next few weeks. What do we do?
If you change your permanent address after applying for a school nursery place but before your child starts in the nursery class, you should inform the School Admissions Team in writing. Please note that change of address details will only be accepted upon receipt of a new council tax bill or a new tenancy agreement. Other documents may also be requested to support a change of address.
What if I need more than 15 hours a week?
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. This is called the Extended Entitlement.
Applications for the Extended Entitlement are made via HMRC's Childcare Service. You can apply up to 16 weeks before your child turns 3-years-old. Visit childcarechoices.gov.uk to find out if you might be eligible for the Extended Entitlement and for details of 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 and learn more, including answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
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 any of the services above is included in their entry in the Family Services Directory.
What if my child has health problems?
If your child has health problems, you may want to discuss these with prospective head teachers.
What access exists for children with disabilities?
All Merton schools seek to support children with disabilities. Please take the opportunity to discuss your child's needs with the head teacher.
What if my child has special educational needs?
We recognise that during their school life, some children will have special educational needs because of a learning difficulty or a physical disability. Generally, your child's school can provide the help that is needed. For the small number of children who need more help than the school can provide, we may need to make a statutory assessment of the child's needs to find out what level of help is needed.
The assessment could lead to an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) (formerly a Statement) being written saying how the child's needs must be met either in the same school with extra help, or in a suitable special school.
If your child has additional needs you can gain support in applying for your nursery class place through either the Early Years Practitioner within your child's current Early Years Setting (if they have one) or the Merton Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Integrated Service (SENDIS).
If you would like to discuss any concerns in this area, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
School Admissions Team