Dorset Council Maintained Nursery Units Policy 2023 to 2024


This admissions policy applies to the following schools that have maintained nursery units attached to the schools:

  • Weymouth, Bincombe Valley Primary School
  • Weymouth, Holy Trinity CE VC Primary School
  • Weymouth, Wyke Regis Infant School

The maximum number of children that can be admitted is determined by the individual nursery with regard to staffing and square footage in accordance with national guidance.

Admissions are administered by each individual nursery unit. Applications should be submitted by the adult who has parental responsibility for the child.

Admission to a Nursery Unit does not guarantee admission to the attached school. A separate application must be made for transfer from the Nursery Unit to the School which will be considered in accordance with the LA’s admissions policy for community and voluntary controlled schools.

  1. Where all parental preference applications for places at the Nursery Unit can be satisfied all children seeking a place will be admitted.
  2. Where there are too few places available to satisfy all parental preference applications (as measured against the maximum limit identified above), places will be allocated according to the following priority order:
  • a “Child in Care” or who was “previously a “Child in Care” 
  • children who the authority accepts have an exceptional medical or social need and where there is a need for a nursery place at one specific nursery 
  • children living within the attached school’s catchment area who will have a sibling(s) attending the Nursery Unit at the time of application and admission 
  • children living within the attached school’s catchment area 
  • children living outside the attached school’s catchment area and who will have a sibling(s) attending the Nursery Unit at the time of admission 
  • children of staff with at least two years continuous service at the nursery unit or who have been recruited to a vacancy to meet a demonstrable skills shortage as at the date of application and who still intend to be employed at the Nursery Unit at the time of the child's admission 
  • all other children living outside the attached school’s catchment area

Please see footnotes section for further details on the above.

Where there are too few places available to satisfy preferences expressed within any of the priority order categories set out above, places will be allocated on the basis of the child’s closeness to the preferred Nursery Unit (defined by straight line measurement using a geographical information based system which identifies the straight line distance between the home address and the school from an easting and northing for the two locations).

In the event that the Governing Body is unable to distinguish between applications despite applying the criteria set out above, lots will be drawn by an independent person (of the Governing Body) to determine the final place(s).


  1. Should more than one adult have parental responsibility, only one application will be considered. Unless a court order rules otherwise, the application must be made by the parent who has day to day care of the child for the majority of the school days/weeks. Where this is unclear, disputed, or care is split equally and there is no agreement between the parents, the application considered will be that made by the parent at the address identified on the child’s registered General Practitioner (GP) record. If separated parents reside at the same address, they should reach agreement or, if not possible, obtain a Court Order to clarify the preferences before an application can be considered by the Local Authority.
  2. A “Child in Care” means any child who is in the care of a local authority in accordance with Section 22 (1) of the Children Act 1989. A child who was “previously a Child in Care” means a child who after being Looked After became subject to an Adoption Order under Section 46 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, a Residence Order under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989 or Special Guardianship Order under Section 14A of the Children Act 1989.
  3. Applications will only be considered under this category if there is evidence provided such as a Child Protection Order, Children in Need document or a written statement from a doctor, social worker or other relevant independent professional. The information must confirm the exceptional medical or social need and demonstrate how the specified nursery is the only nursery that can meet the defined needs of the child. The local authority is all inclusive and will meet all legislative requirements to accommodate children within their educational setting as appropriate to their need.
  4. The school’s catchment area is a geographical area defined by the LA. Details are held by the school.
  5. The term “sibling” means full brother or sister, stepbrother or sister, adoptive brother  or sister and non-blood related children who live with married, single cohabiting parents in the same household.
  6. Staff are all Dorset Council employed staff at the preferred nursery school. ‘Children of staff’ refers to situations where the staff member is the natural parent, the legal guardian or a resident stepparent. If applicants wish to be considered under this criterion then a letter from the nursery must be provided at the time of application.


This policy was last reviewed in 2023. 

The next expected review date is 2024.