We welcome children and families from all social, cultural and religious backgrounds. We value the diversity of family structures and life-styles. We aim to create a rich and diverse pre-school environment to reflect the social and cultural diversity in our communities. We recognize that all children in the setting have a right to be listened to, respected, valued and protected, and we will tackle discrimination of any kind.


There is one main intake per year starting in September but we do not start everyone in the same week. To support the settling-in process, children's start dates are staggered between the beginning of September up until the October half-term.  We will try our best to accommodate the needs of children and their families when working out the staggered starts.

A January start is usually only available for the very youngest children with summer birthdays (who turn 3 between 1st June and 31st August at the end of their first academic year with us); or where it can be shown that this would be of particular benefit to the child or their family; or where there are exceptional circumstances.  Please write to the pre-school leader if you would like a January start date; all requests are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

We are flexible about attendance patterns and payment in order to accommodate the needs of individual children and families.  We do require that children attend a minimum of two sessions per week over two days, to help them to settle into the pre-school routine and to enable their key person to get to know them.  

There are two introductory Stay and Play sessions exclusively for new children and their parents/carers prior to starting pre-school when they can explore the setting, play and meet their key person, as well as an introduction evening for parents. Late starters can also have an unaccompanied hour long visit to a session prior to their staggered start date.  We can also offer a home visit from the pre-school leader and your key person and/or SENCo.

Any requests to reduce hours or to leave the pre-school setting must be made 4 term-time weeks in advance, in writing or by e-mail. Failure to do this will result in you being charged for these hours for 4 weeks, or allow us to retain 4 weeks’ worth of government funding, whichever is applicable.

We regularly consult with parents/carers to ensure that opening times are meeting the needs of the local community.

Our Admissions, Payment, Settling-in and Equal Opportunities Policies can be viewed online at:


Parents can register their child with the Pre-school at any time but should be aware that:     


1.  Vulnerable Children:

i.  A child in public care/looked-after child

ii. Children of families with confirmed refugee status

iii. Children of families who are known to be working with Children’s Social Care. Evidence needs to be present at the time places are being allocated.

iv. Children with a medical condition, disability, or special educational need where written evidence is available from a senior clinical medical officer and the child’s general practitioner or specialist showing that it would be detrimental to the child’s health not to admit him/her to the pre-school. Details must accompany the initial application.

v. Children where one or both parents have a disability which would make travel to a different pre-school difficult. Evidence from a registered health professional such as a doctor or social worker will be required. Details of this must accompany the initial application.

2.   Siblings of children who are attending, or have previously attended the pre-school, and siblings of children currently attending St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School. Sibling refers to brother or sister, half brother or sister, adopted brother or sister, step brother or sister, or the child of the parent/carer’s partner where the child for whom the school place is sought is living in the same family unit at the same address as that sibling. 

3.   Date of registration with the Pre-school.


We work with parents and carers to accommodate all children’s needs, being flexible to adapt to the changing needs of your child.

The pre-school provides information about how children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (abbreviated to SEND) are supported in the pre-school and this is published online as part of the 'Local Offer’.  

Dorset's Local Offer provides all the information parents need to support their children and make decisions about their care and education and can be viewed at:


If you are applying to back-year your child or delay their admission to reception class, you must notify the pre-school by the end of February (in the year he/she was due to start school).  

For further information about back-yearing or delayed entry, please read the guidance online at Dorset Council: 

APPLICATION FORM (click the link below)

Application form Oct 2023.docx