Around 900 two-year-olds across the county could miss out on a state-funded nursery place from September.
Essex County Council have forewarned a shortfall of 145 funded nursery places in Braintree district alone from September, when the government will make the scheme more accessible.
Across Halstead, this could equate to nine two-year-olds going without a free place.
Director of quality improvement at the Pre-school Learning Alliance Michael Freeston said children in rural areas were most likely to miss out on a free place.
For the full story, see this week's Halstead Gazette.