Children are eligible to begin their free nursery entitlement (15 hours) the term after their third birthday. Parents are able to officially put their children’s name on the waiting list the term after their second birthday.

We are now offering sessions for 2 year olds who are eligible for the government funded 2 year old play and learn sessions.

Sandy Lane has specialised provision for children with complex additional needs. Admission to our alternative provision, known as Rainbow, is via referrals from the Child Development Centre.

Admissions to Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School follow the Local Authority’s (LA’s) Nursery Education – A Guide for Parents on Nursery Admission Arrangements booklet.  We adhere to Warrington Borough Council’s admissions policy and procedures, as below.

Admissions Criteria for 3-4 Year Olds

  • Parents/carers who wish to enrol their child for Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School –


  • If the child is not 3 before the year prior to admission, fill in a form available from the reception office which is then kept on file, or complete the registration form on the bottom of this page and send it via email to


  • If the child is 3 during the year prior to the September intake, complete an LA admissions form which is available from the reception office or the LA’s School Admissions Team
  • A child usually attends the nursery school for three terms prior to the year in which they start Reception class
  • If there are places following the September intake, consideration will be given:
  • Firstly, to children who are three before 31 December that same year; and
  • Secondly, to children shortly after their third birthday during the year, thus enabling them to have four or five terms of nursery education
  • Placements in the first instance at Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School are for Warrington residents only
  • Relocations to Warrington after the closing date will be considered as late applicants

Over-Subscription Criteria

If the demand for places exceeds the number of placements available, the following over-subscription criteria will be applied:

    1. Children in the care of the Local Authority or were previously looked after, but ceased to be so because they were adopted (or became subject to a child arrangement order or special guardianship) (Children in Care);
    2. Children who were previously in state care outside of England, and have ceased to be in state care as a result of being adopted
    3. Children with Special Educational Needs;
    4. Children with exceptional personal or domestic circumstances;
    5. Other children resident in Warrington; and
    6. Children resident outside Warrington.

If there are insufficient places to accommodate all the children in one of the categories detailed above, priority will be given to children living nearest to the school.

Admissions Criteria for 2-Year Olds

The school arranges its waiting list in birth order.  In addition, the following circumstances may be taken into account:

  • Siblings already attending the school;
  • Vulnerable 2-year olds;
  • The vicinity of the home to the school

If over-subscribed, the school adheres to Warrington Borough Council’s published guidance.

Admissions Criteria for Alternative Provision (Rainbow Room)

Places for Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School’s alternative provision (sometimes referred to as designated provision) for children with complex additional needs can only be allocated following a referral from the paediatrician at the NHS Child Development Centre. Children will then be referred to the EYSENDIF panel and allocated a place at Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School Alternative Provision if appropriate.

All children entering alternative provision, including 2-year olds, have access to 15 hours’ education per week.  If any parents do not wish to take up their full entitlement, the headteacher will have the discretion to re-allocate any surplus hours accordingly.

Admissions Criteria for 30-Hour Places

The government has introduced an on-line service to check eligibility for the free 30-hours’ childcare offer.  Parents/carers can check to see if they qualify by following the instructions below.

  1. Go to:
  2. Hover over the tab Parents
  3. Click the tab 30 Hours, 2 year funding and support for childcare 
  4. Scroll down the page to 30 hours free childcare
  5. Click Apply now

If eligible, parents/carers will receive a code which they must present to the school in order to allocate and plan for the 30 hour places.

Places for 30 hours at Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School are currently limited in both the Garden Room and in the Rainbow Room. Places will be offered as follows:

  • Children in the care of the local authority (Safeguarding)
  • Returners (first come first served in the event of over-subscription)
  • New children on a first come first served basis

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