Welcome to Orkney’s Early Learning and Childcare web page. Here you will find information on our new Willow Tree Nursery (0-3 non-statutory provision) and our statutory funded early learning and childcare provision (Local Authority Nurseries and partnership childminders).
Willow Tree Nursery (0-3 years)
Willow Tree nursery is a new provision which opens summer of 2021 for children aged 6 months to 3 years. Children can attend until they become eligible for a government funded Early Learning and Childcare place (the term after the child turns three) which is offered in local authority nurseries throughout Orkney as detailed below.
The nursery offers both full and part time places. Parents can request a part time place based on a combination of these session times:
- Mornings with lunch from 0800-1300 (5 hours)
- Afternoons from 1300-1730 (4.5 hours)
All places are £6 per hour.
Funded Early Learning and Childcare (3-5 year olds including eligible 2 year olds)
In August 2020 it was expected that every child (3 to 5 years and eligible two year olds) would be entitled to 1140 hours of early learning and childcare, however due to the COVID pandemic the Scottish Government took the difficult decision to pause the expansion in March 2020. This was to allow Local Authorities and childcare providers to respond to the pandemic. It has now been confirmed that the expansion from 600 to 1140 hours will be implemented across Scotland from August 2021. In Orkney we are currently offering 1140 hours in the majority of our settings, and from August 2021 we will be for all of our settings. Parents can use the local authority setting in their catchment area and/or childminders in partnership. Parents do not need to use all the hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although most parents choose to put their child to a nursery setting in their local area, you may find it more convenient to use a nursery elsewhere. To ask for a place at a different nursery is called a Placing Request. A reason such as ‘siblings attend school already’ or ‘moving house’ may be considered. You may also want to choose another setting because of your childcare arrangements. We will try to give your child a place in the nursery of your choice, but this will depend on how many spare spaces the nursery has. You can complete a Placing Request form online.
Acknowledgement of placing requests will be sent with final decisions being made in early May. Please note placing requests cannot be guaranteed, and a placing request into nursery does not guarantee a place in primary one.