Our evidence has been collated from responses received to Freedom of Information requests sent to all Scottish local authorities and from our own research.

1. Comparisons of Councils’ Average Funding Rates

This is an overview of the average number of discretionary funding requests for a further year of nursery made to councils in recent years and each council’s average rate of funding them. This data was collated from each local authority’s response to our Freedom of Information requests. View your local authority’s individual response here (you will need to search for your own local authority in the search bar e.g. “Discretionary Deferral Rates Fife Council”).

We estimate that across Scotland, approximately 1100 requests are made annually (four local authorities were unable to provide this data). 

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*Data accurate as at February 2019 and will be updated in Autumn 2019 to include the most recent year’s data from all local authorities.

2. Comparisons of Decision Making Processes for Dealing with Discretionary Deferral Funding Requests

Various approaches to assessing discretionary deferral funding requests are taken by local authorities. See what happens in your council area here and how this compares to other regions.

3. Councils Which Allow Self-funding of Nursery Places

When a discretionary deferral request for an extra year of nursery funding is turned down, find out which local authorities allow parents/carers to self-finance a continued place in a council nursery.

4. Lack of Parental Awareness of Legal Right to Defer

In autumn 2018, the National Parent Forum of Scotland kindly asked parents across the country on our behalf to complete a questionnaire about deferral. There were 559 responses with respondents from all 32 local authorities.


Average Awareness of Right to Defer Jan or Feb born children = 80%


Average Awareness of Right to Defer Aug* to Dec Born Children = 16% (*only those children with birthdays after the school commencement date in Aug have a legal right to be deferred)


5 (a). Councils’ Website Info on Deferral

Fifteen councils’ websites state that children who are legally eligible for a deferral are those who turn five after the school commencement date and another fifteen say it’s for those with birthdays from 1st September onwards (we couldn’t find any info at all on two councils’ websites: Comhairle nan Eileen Siar and Renfrewshire – we have emailed them about this but haven’t had any responses to date).

Click on the link in the title to find out our understanding of why these variations exist, when the entitlement really starts and which councils state what.

5 (b). Councils’ Website Screenshots of Deferral Guidance (weblinks in 5a)