Nursery Admissions

All children are eligible to begin their free nursery entitlement (15 hours) the term after their third birthday. We also offer free 30 hour nursery places to eligilble families as well as places for 2 year olds who are eligible for the government funded sessions. 

If numbers allow the school also offers places to families who may not be eligible for free place funding.  In these circumstances parents/carers are able to access a nursery place by paying a fee for their child's sessions.

If you are interested in reserving a place for your child to attend our mainstream 2 year old or 3 and 4 year old provisions please complete and return the admissions form.  Forms are available to download or can be collected from the nursery office.  Admission to our specialist provision (Rainbow) for children with complex additional needs is via referral to the Sandy Lane Provision Panel, the details of which are below.  Further information on admissions to our specialist provision can also be found in the 'Our SEND Offer' tab within Key Information.

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 office which is then kept on file. An electronic copy of this is also at the bottom of this page. You can fill this in and return to us via email or drop it off at the office 


  • 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); and children who were previously in state care outside of England, and have ceased to be in state care as a result of being adopted
    2. Children with Special Educational Needs;
    3. Children with exceptional personal or domestic circumstances;
    4. Children resident in Warrington who currently attend the schools provision for 2 year olds
    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
  • Application received to request a place in the schools provision for 3-4 year olds

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

Admissions Criteria for Specialist Provision (Rainbow Room)

Children will be allocated a place through the local authority’s Early Years’ Sandy Lane Provision Panel. To ensure consistency, fairness and transparency within the admissions process, admissions will be determined by an agreed multiagency panel chaired by the Local Authority. The school’s headteacher and SENDCo/Rainbow Room lead teacher are both members of this panel. The local authority and the school will work together to make sure that the child’s needs are met, parent/carer views addressed and the capacity of the school considered.

For a child with complex and additional needs and/or PMLD to be placed in the school's specialist provision there must be rigorous assessments in place which demonstrate evidence of significant delayed development and complex learning needs from a range of professionals. Along with an up to date tracking document, further information will include written reports from all of the professionals involved:

  • CDC (Child Development Centre) based health professionals
  • LA Area SENDCo
  • Early Years SEND Outreach Workers
  • Specialist Teachers for Children with Sensory Impairment (VI/HI (Visual Impairment/Hearing Impairment)
  • Educational Psychology Service
  • Warrington Portage Service
  • Early Years SENDCo
  • Early Years setting the child attends

The child must be a Warrington resident, be in receipt of DLA (disability living allowance) and have more than one of the following complexity of need:

  • Significant additional and complex needs in more than one area of development
  • Significant and persistent additional needs or PMLD
  • Delayed learning and social and communication difficulties which require access to a significantly differentiated curriculum and specific learning programmes delivered by experienced SEND teachers and SEND support staff
  • A life-limiting condition and is in receipt of palliative care
  • A need for regular and consistent access to a range of therapeutic interventions delivered by external specialist staff such as physiotherapist, occupational therapist, etc
  • Significant medical needs which require ongoing monitoring and support provided by a member of staff trained in SEND First Aid
  • Needs which would be met more effectively within a specialist environment by specialist SEND staff
  • A significant condition which affects their cognition, physical ability and social and communication development; this may be identified at birth, within the first two years of life or diagnosed as part of a medical multi-disciplinary process (CDC)  

Places will then be allocated using the following criteria:

  1. Children with an EHCP that names Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School as their allocated educational provision
  2. Children in the care of the local authority or were previously looked after by the local authority, but ceased to be because they were adopted (or became subject to a child arrangement order or special guardianship)
  3. Children who were previously in state care outside of England, and have ceased to be in state care as a result of being adopted
  4. Thereafter, children who meet the complexity of need with the most complex taking priority

Early Placements

Places will usually be offered from the beginning of the academic year in which the child turns 4.  However, in a very few exceptional cases, where a child has the most severe and complex needs, places may be offered earlier. This may be when the child:

  • Is in receipt of DLA and therefore eligible for EEF (Early Education Funding)
  • Has profound and multiple learning needs which are evident with a multi-disciplinary assessment at the CDC having taken place
  • Is unable to access early education outside of a specialist setting due to the impact of their difficulties
  • Has a life-limiting condition and is in receipt of palliative care
  • Has compromised parenting (child currently supported by Social Care)

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. Click 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 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

Specialist Provision

There are currently no 30 hour places in Rainbow Room due to demand for 15 hour places. Parents of children attending Rainbow Room who are eligible for 30 hours can request a shared place between Rainbow and our mainstream provision.  Each request is considered individually and in consultation with the local authority.  Places need to be planned carefully, ensuring the child is included safely and appropriately.

Session Times

Morning sessions:  8.30 am to 11.30 am

Afternoon sessions: 12.30 pm to 3.30 pm

30 hour sessions: 8.30 am - 2.30 pm

Wrap-Around Care

All parents who wish to purchase additional hours for their children, including attendance at breakfast and lunch clubs can access and pay for these using our School Spider app.  Again these places are limited. The fees below will be subject to change at various intervals.



Monday to Friday


‘Wide Awake’ Club

8.00 - 8.30 am


£3.00 with breakfast (provided by the school)


*Lunch Club (30 hour children)

11.30 am - 12.30 pm


Packed lunch: home to provide


*Lunch Club (15 hour children)

11.30 am-12.30 pm



Packed lunch: home to provide


After-school Club

3.30 - 4.00 pm




*Some children may be eligible for a free school meal. In this case the nursery will provide a school meal for these children.



Monday to Friday


Additional morning session: 

8.30am-12.30 pm

Additional afternoon session

11.30am -3.30 pm



£24.00 (£6.00 per hour)


Additional hour (2.30-3.30 pm) session available to top up 30 hour children



How We Contact You

Successful Applications

Successful applicants will be given adequate notice by the school before the child’s anticipated start date.

Unsuccessful Applications

Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School will keep a waiting list of unsuccessful applicants and they will be informed when a place becomes available.


Admission queries will be dealt with by:

    1. Sandy Lane Nursery and Forest School on 01925 623640; and/or
    1. Warrington Borough Council’s Family and Wellbeing Directorate’s School Admissions Team on 01925 442952.

Files to Download

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Diary Dates

Ofsted Outstanding Provider
Warrington Inclusion Hub: Committed to Inclusion: 2018-19
Leading Parent Partnership Award: 2023-26
Leading Parent Partnership Award: 2023-26