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Admissions, Funding, Fees and Policies


It is our intention to make Pre-school accessible to children and families for all sections of the local community regardless of ethnicity, gender, special education needs, disabilities, background, religion or competence in spoken English.

We care for children from 2 years to 4 years of age. 

We are Ofsted registered to provide 40 places per session, (this includes a maximum of 8 two year old places per session). All 2, 3 & 4 year old places are subject to availability.

We operate admissions and allocate sessions to new children through a waiting list at the start of each term. September, January and April.

Please visit our school's Policies Section, by following the link below, to refer to our Saplings Pre-School Admissions Policy for full details and admissions criteria

Saplings Pre-School Admissions Policy link


If you would like to add your child to our waiting list you can either email or contact the Saplings Administrator, Maria Lydon on 01525 402735 option 5. Providing your child's name, date of birth, address, your name and contact number. 

Please also confirm if your child is:

  • A "looked after child"
  • Eligible for 2 year old funding (if aged 2 to 3)
  • Has a sibling attending The Firs Lower School

We would be happy to show you around our preschool and meet our staff. To book a visit please either email or contact us on the above number.

Each session lasts 3 hours. We offer morning, afternoon and all day sessions.

  • Children ages 2 years can attend a maximum of 2 sessions per week (morning or afternoon only).
  • Children aged 2 years 6mths can attend a maximum of 4 sessions per week (12 hours per week)
  • Children aged 3-4 years can attend a maximum of 6 sessions (18 hours per week)


The preschool receives Nursery Education Funding (NEF) for eligible two, three and four year olds.

Children are entitled to receive a maximum of 570 hours of free early education over 38 weeks of the year, the term following their 2nd or 3rd birthday.

A maximum of 15 hours per week, term time only, at approved childcare settings.


3 & 4 year olds

Some families may be entitled to an additional 15 hours (30 hours) free childcare. Parents/Carers will need to be apply for this through HMRC the term before they wish to use it.

For more information and eligibility criteria please visit We will require your 11 digit code in order to claim the funding.

2 year olds

For more information on two year old funding and eligibility criteria please visit Parents/carers who are eligible will need to provide us with a copy of their eligibility letter from Central Bedfordshire Council.

Funded places are allocated in accordance with our Admissions Policy, which can be viewed in our 'School Policies Section' under Saplings Pre-school Funding and Fees Policy

Further support and guidance can be found here on the Central Beds website - Central Beds Help with Childcare Costs


Fees are payable for children not eligible for funding or those who are attending in excess of their funded hours. Please see below our current fees. These are reviewed by the school governors on an annual basis.

Invoices are issued half termly and payable in advance of each half term. Fees continue to be payable in the event of absence. A registration fee of £10 is payable for those children who are not using funding with us.

The setting operates an online payment system, Parentpay for parents/carers to settle fees, hot lunches, wraparound care.

We also accept Childcare Vouchers and payments through the Government Tax Free Childcare Scheme, please see below for further details and the Childcare voucher schemes that we have accounts with.

Pre-School Fees - 2022 - 2023

Fees and session times from September 2022


2 year old

3 or 4

Year old

AM Session

(3 hours)

9.10am - 12.10pm



PM Session

(3 hours)

12.10pm - 3.10pm



All Day

(6 hours)

9.10am - 3.10pm



Tax-Free Childcare

The Saplings Pre-school, is set up with a number of different childcare voucher agencies, under the name The Firs Lower School, including; Edenred, Care-4, Kiddivouchers, Computershare, Sodexo, Enjoy Benefits, Bravo and Caboodle Voucher Services. 

If you are already registered through your employer with any of the above, please search for 'The Firs Lower School', post code MK45 2QR to locate our account.

The school’s Edenred school number is P20227646

The school's Sodexo provider ID is 160292 or 224090, either can be used.

We are also set up with the Government's tax-free childcare scheme.

To register and set up an account, please go to their portal and select 'The Firs Lower School' as your childcare provider.

With the Government tax-free childcare scheme you can get up to £500 every 3 months (up to £2,000 a year) for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare. This goes up to £1,000 every 3 months if a child is disabled (up to £4,000 a year).

If you are eligible Tax-Free Childcare, you’ll set up an online childcare account for your child. For every £8 you pay into this account, the government will pay in £2 to use to pay your provider.

You can get Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as 30 hours free childcare, if you’re eligible for both.

What can you use Tax-Free Childcare for

You can use it to pay for approved childcare, for example:

  • Pre-school Fees
  • Wraparound school clubs, Breakfast and After School
  • Holiday Club play schemes

Please visit Gov.Uk Tax Free Childcare for further guidance on eligibility and to register.

For Wraparound Fees and Information, please visit our Kids' Club Page