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Early Learning and Childcare

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  logoWillow 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.

Registration for the Willow Tree nursery is open from Monday 21 June 2021 at 9am. To register click the button below after this time.

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.


Early Learning and Childcare logoFunded 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

Use the form below to search the Early Learning and Childcare for FAQs containing specific words or combinations of words.

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What is a Partnership Childminder?

They are registered childminders who have applied to work in partnership with the local authority to provide 1140 hours of Early Learning and Childcare. To enable partnership with the local authority they must be registered with the Care Inspectorate and have received grades of 4 (good) or above across all themes inspected. Once in partnership the childminder must have or gain their SVQ3 in HNC in Childhood Practice.  Partnership childminders can provide all or some of the 1140 hours, you can choose to use both your local authority nursery setting and a partnership childminder, this would be a ‘Blended Placement’. 

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Related Sites

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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