When is the nursery open?

Early Steps is open Monday to Friday 51 weeks a year. We do not close for public holidays however we do close between Christmas and New Year. Nursery Morning Sessions.......7.30am - 1.00pm Afternoon Sessions ....1.00pm - 6.00pm Afterschool (term time only) Monday......... ............3.15pm-6.00pm
Friday.......................12.30am-6.00pm Holiday Club (school holidays) Full day........................7.30am-6.00pm

Can I get help with my fees?

There are many ways you can obtain financial help with your childcare fees. Below are some links to help guide you on ways to either receive help or save money. TAX Credits are one way you can get help with childcare costs. Click on the image to be redirected to the official Government page to see if you qualify for help with you childcare costs. Childcare vouchers are an excellent way of reducing your childcare costs. If you are working it is possible to sacrifice some of your salary (up to £243 per month) towards childcare vouchers, this means you will not pay tax on this portion of your salary. Both parents can apply for this option. The link on the left will take you to one of the provider’s sites; however there are numerous alternatives, for further details please speak to Katie or Carol. Many education authorities such as West Lothian College offer financial assistance to parents attending courses who need help with their childcare costs. The link to the left will direct you to West Lothian College site, please speak to Carol or Katie for advice regarding other education providers.

Do you offer free Pre-school places

Currently we are NOT in partnership with West Lothian Council to offer these places. Please read the information below to ensure you have as much information on this as possible.

Under current legislation, every child over 3 is entitled to receive 600 hours a year of free nursery care. However this is not as straight forward as it sounds. Each Local Authority decides how this is to be offered. Currently in West Lothian, this FREE childcare can only be offered by state nurseries and a limited number of private nurseries. Each private nursery must tender to offer this service, and only one per area will be selected. Just because your child attends a partnership nursery does not entitle you to the free places. If your child is allocated to a state nursery by pupil placement, you will not be able to claim the free hours anywhere else.

We have decided not to tender for partnership, this way all children attending Early Steps can be guaranteed their place until they start school. We believe this avoids any distress and confusion not only for the children but also for our parents.

West Lothian Council are currently reviewing the system, and will need to make changes to meet changes in legislation. At this time, we do not know what this change will mean, but it is anticipated (and hoped) they will adopt the Scottish Government proposal, that the funding for free child places follow the child no matter where they attend.

One additional factor parents must be aware of, is that current legislation states that the free places when offered are for a specific number of hours. The rate the Council pay for these hours has been agreed during the tender process. Parents should only be charged for the additional hours they attend. In some cases private nurseries will charge parents the difference between the Council rates and their standard rates in addition to the additional hours...

What is Wrap Around Care ?

Wrap Around Care is a service to help parents when their child is offered a place at a Council Nursery. Children split their day between Early Steps and Council Nursery, with the Early Steps arranging transport. There are various ways this service can operate depending on your individual needs and which sessions your child attends.


Breakfast Club - Children are dropped off at Early Steps, we will give them breakfast and then take them to their morning session at their Council Nursery.


Morning Session - Children are dropped off at Early Steps and given breakfast before going to Council Nursery. At the end of their session, we will collect them and bring them back to Early Steps for the remainder of the morning.


Afternoon Session - Parents drop their child at the Council Nursery, we will collect them at the end of their session and return them to Early Steps for the rest of the day.


Full Day - The child is dropped off at Early Steps, they will recieve all meals and snacks at Early Steps and will be taken to, and picked up from their Council Nursery for whichever session they attend.


Due to the multiple options and levels of service on offer, please contact us to discuss your individual needs.

What should I look for in a nursery?

REGISTRATION; The first thing you should check is if the nursery is registered with the Care Inspectorate. Check details of the registration of the nursery, is this a new registration but the nursery has been around a lot longer. This can be due to a change of hands or the current owners have made a change to their registration, when this happens all previous inspection reports, complaints and enforcements for the nursery are removed. If this has happened, ensure you ask why the change was made to the registration and also if they have any copies of previous inspection reports for you to read. Most nurseys will be happy to supply these. INSPECTION REPORTS: Read the Inspection reports, make sure you read the report and dont just look at grades as these do not always tell the whole story. Grades are based on an individual inspector and are subjective, if you read the full report you should gain a better picture of the nursery. STAFF; Look at the age of the staff and ask how long they have been with the nursery, a high turnover of staff or high level of young/inexperienced staff may not be a settled and secure environment for your child. Ask what qualifications the staff have, not only in childcare but also First Aid, Food Hygiene, Curriculum training. Ask how staff maintain their knowledge and keep up to date with current legislative requirements. Are all of the staff registered with SSSC and have they all completed either PVG checks or Disclosure Scotland checks this includes all staff within the setting such as drivers, cooks and cleaners. Make sure the staff ratios are maintained at all times and ask how staff levels are maintained when the school/state nursery runs are being carried out. SECURITY; Check the security of the premises, how easy was it for you to get in. If you can walk straight in so can someone else!! Have a look at the outside areas, are these safe and secure, how easy would it be for a little one to escape. ACTIVITIES; Are there plenty of resources around inside and out to keep your little one busy and interested. What additional classes are available (French, Swimming, etc) Are there opportunities for outings Are there any links with the local library bus, fire brigade, police etc. WARMTH AND CARING; How do the staff interact with your child and other children when you are in, do they remember your childs name? Ask other parents to recommend a nursery.

Frequently asked questions

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