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Ducklings Foundation Base Admissions Policy


Ducklings Foundation Base class
Admissions Policy


Date of policySpring Term 2024

Date reviewed by the

Governing Body/Committee

26.03.2024 - FGB

Member of staff responsible in

Cerne Abbas CE VC First School

Catherine Cresswell/ Heather Stephens
Review dateSpring Term 2025



At Ducklings, we care for children between the ages of 3 and 4 years.


We take the following matters into account when prioritising and deciding on admissions:


  • Availability of places, taking into account the staff: child ratios, the age of the child and any

registration requirements

Extra weight is given to those who have been on the waiting  list the longest.

  • Children who will be 3 the soonest in the academic year of their admission. Where there are more applications that meet this criterion than there are places in the school, priority will then be given to:
  1. Children living in the catchment area and who already have siblings with us
  2. Those living in the catchment area
  3. Those living outside the catchment area but who already have  siblings with us

(If too few places are available within the above categories, then places are allocated on a straight line distance to the school.)

  • When the application is received (extra weight is given to those who have been on the waiting list the longest)
  • Children who have siblings who are already with us
  • When the application is received (extra weight is given to those who have been on the waiting list the longest)
  • The nursery’s ability to provide the facilities necessary for the welfare of the child, including appropriate staffing arrangements
  • A child requiring a full-time place may have preference over one requiring a part-time place.

This is dependent upon work commitments, occupancy and room availability

  • 5, 4, 3, full days have priority respectively.
  • Any extenuating circumstances affecting the child's welfare or the welfare of his/her family.


Waiting List

Once places have been allocated, and where it is not possible to offer some children a part-time nursery place because places are all taken, it will be possible for children’s names to be added to a waiting list if parents specifically request it.  Any places that then become available will be offered from the waiting list in accordance with the school’s criteria for admissions (see above). 

Parents may choose not to accept the offer of a place for their child but they must indicate whether they wish their child’s name to remain on the waiting list for admission in the following term.  They will then be considered for a nursery place along with any other eligible children. This may mean that a place is no longer available and a place at another setting may need to be sought.


 Right of appeal

As nursery provision is non-statutory the school’s decision will be final and there is no formal right of appeal.  However, the Headteacher will be happy to discuss any concerns parents may have about the allocation of places.


Attendance in the reception year group

 All children will be considered equally for a nursery and/or extended daycare place, regardless of whether they may eventually apply for a full-time place at our school.  Conversely it needs to be clearly understood that a child attending our school for their nursery and/or extended daycare provision is not given priority into our reception class.

The responsibility for admission into reception rests with the local authority and parents will need to apply separately for a full-time reception place via the LA’s School Admissions Department.


We operate an inclusion and equality policy and ensure that all children have access to Ducklings places and services irrespective of their gender, race, disability, religion or belief or sexual orientation of parents.


Prior to a child attending Ducklings, parents must complete and sign a contract and registration form.

These forms provide the nursery with personal details relating to the child. For example, name, date of birth, address, emergency contact details, parental responsibilities, dietary requirements, collection arrangements, fees and sessions, contact details for parents, doctor’s contact details, health visitor contact details, allergies, parental consent and vaccinations etc.


We are eligible to provide government funded places for early education.


All settings registered to accept government funding must offer free places for three to five-year olds for early learning sessions specified by the local authority.


At Ducklings, we currently provide free funded places for children  subject to availability. These
places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and can be booked a term in advance.


Please note for admissions for the free nursery education funding we have a termly intake, beginning the term following your child’s third birthday.  Children are eligible to attend straight after their third birthday but are funded by the parents until the term following their third birthday.


All funded sessions are now in line with the flexible arrangement as specified by the Government.

When you register your child for their funded place we will discuss your needs and, as far as
possible with availability and staffing arrangements, we will accommodate your wishes.



If attendance and/punctuality is poor or erratic the Nursery teacher will talk to the child’s parents/carers and remind them that for the child to benefit fully from Nursery education, attendance needs to be regular and punctual due to the great demand for places. This conversation should be recorded. If after a period of two weeks, attendance and/punctuality remain poor a letter will be sent to the parents/carers inviting them to meet with the Head Teacher. If, following the meeting, there is no sustained improvement in attendance and/or punctuality within an agreed period, then the child may lose their place. Parents/carers will be notified of the loss of place in writing. If a child is absent for a period of two weeks without any contact from the parents and the school has been unable to make contact within this time, the child may lose their place and it may be offered to someone else. This will be decided by the Head Teacher, and a letter explaining the situation will be sent to the parents/carers.



If a child is collected late *consistently without a good cause the school can issue a penalty invoice for each part of 15 minutes that the child remains at the setting at a rate of £20 an hour.


*This is at the discretion of the school but would be more than five times in a half term.



Charges and Services


Fees are reviewed on an annual basis in April to take effect in the following academic year.


Bookings are made by session and charged at a set session rate.


A minimum booking of 2 full days is required or 12 ½ hours per week.


Once a half term has started, parents are committed to paying for all the agreed sessions, irrespective of their use of them until the end of that half term.  Half a terms notice is required.


Invoices are issued in advance on a half termly basis.


Payment is expected in full within 2 weeks of receipt of your invoice.


Arrangements can be made for families to pay on a weekly basis in agreement with the Business Manager.


15 hours funding is received the term after the child’s 3rd birthday.


An additional 15 hours funding is available for qualifying families of 3 year olds.


Absences, Illness and Cancellation


Fees are still payable for the time of absence even in the case of contagious illnesses.


The school office should be notified of any holidays, however fees will still be due for the time of absence.


The school office should be notified of any absence prior to the start of the session. If the school has not heard of any absence we will attempt to make contact with the family to explain the absence.


Absence is monitored by the Headteacher, repeated absences may result in a meeting with the family to discuss attendance.


If a child has not attended for 2 weeks without explanation, their place may be forfeited. Every effort to make contact with the family will be made before this decision is made.


Fees will still be due for emergency closure of the setting - for example closure due to snow.


Late and Non-Payment Procedure


Payment is expected in full within 2 weeks of receipt of your invoice unless another arrangement has been made with the school.

If payment is not received by the end of the 3rd week, a reminder shall be given verbally.


Parents who have made arrangements to pay on a weekly basis will also receive reminders stating what the balance due is at junctures listed in this policy. These reminders will not affect their credit rating with us, provided payments are still being made at the agreed times.


If payment is not made in full at this juncture, parents will be invited to come and discuss the situation with the Headteacher. Every effort will be made to put the parents at ease. In consultation with them,  a payment plan will be agreed and signed and that will be designed expressly to be affordable and prevent any undue hardship to them or their family but that will settle their outstanding balance in a reasonable time period. Consequences of non-payment without explanation will be made clear.


These payment plans may, with the agreement of both parties, be reviewed and amended to reflect changing circumstances.

In an attempt to prevent an increase in the debt, any unfunded sessions will be withdrawn until the balance is settled.


If payment in full is not received by the end of half term of the invoice date (without any further payment being made) the child’s place will be limited to their 15 hours funded place.


If payment plans are broken with no communication the child’s place may be forfeited.


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