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Apply for pre-school and school places

How to apply for pre-school and school places in West Lothian through the Pupil Placement section.

Applying for a School Place 

The Pupil Placement section deals with all applications for pre-school and wraparound, and deals with applications for the August primary one (P1) and secondary one (S1) intakes.  Schools deal with applications for other stages and for P1 and S1 after the pupils start school.  To apply for a school, pre-school or wraparound place you must fill in an application form.  You can get application forms from schools, nursery schools, libraries, Council Information Service Offices and from the Pupil Placement Section.  We are currently working to make online application forms available. It's now possible to apply online for an S1 place, for An Early Learning and Childcare place and for a Wraparound Care place.

Full details of the application process are set out in the Policy documents in Related Documents.

The Pupil Placement Section has a database with details of children under 19 living in West Lothian.  We get information from letters we send to households, from the Health Board when children are born, from application forms and from the schools databases.  If we have your child's details on our database we will write to you to ask you to apply for nursery, P1 and S1 at the appropriate times.

Pre-School Provision for 2 Year Olds

Your child is eligible for 600 hours of pre-school provision from the start of the first term after their 2nd birthday, if you are the child's parent/carer and you are in receipt of:-

  • Income Support
  • Job Seekers Allowance (income based)
  • Employment Support Allowance (income based)
  • Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC) but not Working Tax Credit (WTC) and your income is below £16,105
  • Both maximum CTC and WTC with income less than £6,420
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit

You will find further guidance in:

Flexible Pre-School Places

Pre-School Provision - Increase in Flexibility and Choice - Session 2016/17

West Lothian Council consulted parents in 2013 and 2015 on how they would like to see flexibility and choice in pre-school provision increased. As a result of the 2013 consultation, a new model of pre-school provision was piloted at four establishments in Session 2015/16. This proved popular and following the 2015 consultation, the new model of provision will be available at 10 establishments in Session 2016/17.

The new model of provision allows children to obtain their 600 hours of early learning and childcare across two days with attached wraparound care, so that the provision would be available from 8.00am to 6.00pm on any two days from Monday to Thursday.

The provision consists of two 8 hour sessions of early learning and childcare lasting from 8.00am to 4.00pm.

Parents/carers using this provision will be given the option of purchasing wraparound care from 4.00pm to 6.00pm. Wraparound care is charged per session.

Parents/carers will be given the option of purchasing a packed lunch for £1.97 per day, or providing their own packed lunch, as is current practice in the council's wraparound care service.

This provision will be available at the following ten establishments from August 2016:

  • Bathgate West Nursery School, Bathgate
  • Bonnytoun Nursery School, Linlithgow
  • East Calder Primary School Nursery Class, East Calder
  • Glenvue Nursery School, Livingston
  • Knightsridge Early Years Centre, Livingston
  • Linlithgow Primary School Nursery Class, Linlithgow
  • St Nicholas' Primary School Nursery Class, Broxburn
  • Southdale Primary School Nursery Class, Armadale
  • Whitdale Early Years Centre, Whitburn

If you have not already submitted an application form, or if you have submitted a form or your child is already attending pre-school provision and you would like to change your choice to this new provision, please contact Pupil Placement requesting the Flexible Pre-School Application Form and select two complete days (morning and afternoon) on two days between Monday and Thursday, and return it to Pupil Placement.

Applying for a Pre-School Place

The Council currently provides pre-school (nursery) places to three and four year olds. The Council also has partnership agreements for the provision of pre-school education with some playgroup nurseries and private nurseries.

If you are applying for a pre-school place, you can fill in a form after your child's second birthday and send it in to Pupil Placement. If you are applying for wraparound, you can put the details of your request on your child's pre-school or primary application form, or you can fill in a wraparound application form if you decide to apply for wraparound care at a later date.

Please obtain your application form as stated above and follow the information in the documents below if you wish to apply for either of these options.  Pre-school establishments, contact details, type of provision and times of sessions can be found in the guidance notes document below:

There are no catchment areas for pre-school, but we do try to offer children places at local nurseries and take account of the school they are likely to go to.

Applying for a Primary School Place

There are currently 67 primary schools in West Lothian.  The authority is divided into catchment areas for primary and secondary schools.

Each school is either denominational (linked to a particular religion) or non-denominational (not linked to any particular religion).  All the denominational schools in West Lothian are Roman Catholic.  Each home address has a catchment denominational school and a catchment non-denominational school, for both primary and secondary education.

You will find further guidance in:

Additional Year of Early Learning & Childcare

Some children can defer entry into Primary 1, and may be able to apply for 'An additional year of Early Learning & Childcare (previously referred to as 'Pre-school Education'). The entitlement and the process for this is explained in the 'Additional Year of 'Early Learning & Childcare' and School Education Policy' document pdf icon Additional Year of Early Learning and Childcare and School Education Policy [20kb].

If your child is entitled to apply for an additional year of 'Early Learning & Childcare', it is advised that you discuss with the nursery staff where your child attends.

Primary applications are issued each October/November for the following August Intake, however applications for an additional year of 'Early Learning & Childcare' are not available until the January.  You should complete the primary application form when you receive this and if you still wish to defer entry in the January you would either request an additional year of 'Early Learning & Childcare' form from nursery staff, or complete the form online.

Applying for a Secondary School Place

There are currently 11 secondary schools in West Lothian.   The authority is divided into catchment areas for primary and secondary schools.

Each school is either denominational (linked to a particular religion) or non-denominational (not linked to any particular religion).  All the denominational schools in West Lothian are Roman Catholic.  Each home address has a catchment denominational school and a catchment non-denominational school, for both primary and secondary education.

An online version of the secondary school application form, for applying for an S1 place, is now available, complete the secondary school application here

You will find further guidance in:

Refusals and Appeals

If your pre-school application is refused, the Pupil Placement Section will grant your child a place at your second or third choice school if available, and if not they will write to you to tell the closest available places.

If your P1 or S1 application for next session is refused the Pupil Placement Section will grant your second or third choice if possible, and if not they will allocate a place at a local school. If you apply for other stages or during the current school year and the school refuses your application, please contact the Pupil Placement Section and they will help you find a place for your child. If your primary or secondary application is refused, you have the right to an appeal. There are no appeals for pre-school or wraparound placements. In West Lothian, all appeals against the refusal of places at schools are heard by the West Lothian Council (Placing in Schools) Appeal Committee.  The committee is independent of Education Services.

Please find Placing in Schools Appeals Committee leaflets in Related Documents.

Wraparound Care

We have set up wraparound care facilities at some of our pre-school education establishments in line with Scottish Government guidance. To be eligible for wraparound care your child must be in pre-school education or attending P1 to P3. In line with Council policy, priority is given to ante pre-school and pre-school aged children for wraparound care places. It may be possible, where there is enough space, to offer wraparound care places to pupils in P1 to P3.

Wraparound care is not a free service, although we do everything we can to keep charges as low as possible.  We have to charge so that wraparound care is cost effective as required by the Scottish Government, and is reliable.  Wraparound care is charged per session, with an annual administration fee of £20.

For guidance and to find out which schools and nurseries offer wraparound care, for wraparound care opening times and charges per session, please view pdf icon Early Learning & Childcare (3 and 4 year old) provision and Wraparound Care Admission - Guidance Notes [709kb].

Wraparound care is not available for P4-P7 children.  Details of Childcare are available from the Scottish Families Information Service.