Nursery classes in schools

Nursery classes in schools provide early education and childcare and can offer full day and sessional places.

Local authority nurseries are part of a nursery or primary school maintained by the local county council.

Private nursery schools or classes are owned privately or independently. They may be a run from a nursery unit of an independent school. Some nursery schools offer a particular educational approach, for example Steiner or Montessori.

Find a nursery class in school

Whether the nursery school is run by the local authority or a private provider, you will need to contact the nursery directly to apply for a place for your child. They will inform you of their application process. Sometimes they may have a waiting list for you to join.

We receive regular updates from settings about spaces available. This information is displayed on their records within the Norfolk Directory, we do however urge you to contact providers directly as spaces can change quickly.

If you do have issues finding a childcare place or suitable childcare, you can contact your local Children’s Centre who should be able to help you or contact the Family Information Service.

If the nursery school or class is run by the local authority it will offer the free childcare entitlement for eligible 2-year-olds and all 3 and 4-year-olds. 

Your child can also access their free entitlement at most private and independent nursery schools.

You can search the Norfolk Directory for nursery schools and classes that offer funded places. 

Remember to check with the provider whether there are any additional costs (for example, snacks and meals) outside your free entitlement.

Local authority nurseries usually take children from three-years-old. Private nursery schools often start from two-years-old, however this can vary and some may operate like a day nursery, offering care to much younger children.

Local authority nurseries offer full day and sessional places, usually between the hours of 9am and 3.30pm during term time . A session can be in the morning or afternoon.

They may also offer childcare outside these hours.  Private nursery school opening hours vary considerably.  Some operate in school hours during term-time only and others offer full day care all year round.  It is best to check with the individual nursery.

Local authority nurseries are responsible for their own admissions and usually follow the same admission criteria as primary schools.  Check with the individual school. Catchment areas are just one of the admissions criteria.

For a guide on which nursery school may be in your catchment area check the Where I Live website.  Private nursery schools do not usually operate on catchment areas and have individual admissions procedures.

Nursery classes and schools are inspected by Ofsted. For local authority nurseries this would be as part of the school inspection. For further details of the inspection, speak to the nursery school or contact Ofsted. Some independent nurseries are not required to be Ofsted registered.

Keeping children safe in childcare

If you have any concerns or complaints about a nursery it is best to talk direct to the nursery first. This may mean the teacher, governing body or manager of the nursery. If the complaint is unresolved you can contact us or report your concerns to Ofsted.

For more information visit GOV.UK's Complain about a school. You may also inform Norfolk County Council if you feel a child is at risk.