Children starting nursery in East Lothian will no longer be able to join in October after education chiefs scrapped one of their four admission dates.

A report by East Lothian’s chief education officer Lesley Brown said the local authority was only one of two councils in Scotland which offered parents four starting dates for children each year.

And she urged councillors to approve a plan to offer parents three admission dates – August, January and Easter – and get rid of the October start.

In a recommendation which was approved by East Lothian Council’s emergency covid response group, they agreed to abolish the October admission date and allow children who turn three in September to start in August.

In her report, Ms Brown said a public consultation on the changes drew 91 responses.

She said nearly half (47..6 per cent)of parents who responded and had children who turn three in August  were in favour of the change.

However she added: “Most parents/carers of children who will be three years of age between September 1 2020 and October 27, 2020 were not in favour of this change.”

Despite this she said the change would bring East Lothian into line with Scottish Government guidance and the practices across Scotland.

She said: “In moving from a four-term to a three-term entry we will continue to support early entry for children with particular needs or those considered as vulnerable, as is the case now, to ensure no educational disadvantage.”

Meanwhile the education chief revealed that som nurseries in East Lothian will be able to offer the new 1,140 hours of childcare which had been anticipated before lockdown to families from August.

The Scottish Government has suspended its deadline for all nurseries to offer the extended free hours as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

However Ms Brown has revealed some facilities will be pushing ahead with the plans.

She said: “As it stands, we are planning that from August 2020, those nursery classes that are already offering 1,140 hours as part of the trials will continue to do so.”

She went on to say the council does not expect to introduce any new nursery settings of its own in August but anticipates that three private nurseries which currently offer 600 hours will introduce 1,140 hours in that month.

The decision to scrap the October admission was approved by councillors Shamin Akhtar, Norman Hampshire, Jane Henderson and Stuart Currie under emergency procedures.