Choosing Childcare

Choosing childcare is a big step for you and your child. Not only do you have to decide on a type of provision, but you also need reassurance that your child will be:

  • safe
  • secure
  • well looked-after
  • happy

The right provider will help your child to learn, have fun, make friends, and meet their day-to-day needs.

Registered, Unregistered and Informal Childcare

Registered childcare

Childcare providers that meet the following criteria must register with Ofsted:

  • look after children from birth to eight years old
  • look after children for more than two hours a day
  • look after children for more than two weeks a year and receive payment or reward.

Registered childcare providers include childminders, preschools, nurseries and playgroups. By choosing a registered childcare, you can be reassured that your child is safe as registered childcare providers are monitored, regulated and inspected against national standards. In addition, all staff must have a DBS check.

Unregistered and Informal Childcare

Some childcare providers do not have to register with Ofsted if:

  • they are a nanny
  • the children are over the age of 8
  • the care is provided for less than 3 hours
  • the childcare takes place between 6pm and 2am
  • the care takes place in the parents home
  • no payment or reward received for the service

Unregistered childcare providers include babysitters, nannies and au pairs.

Types of childcare

There are many different types of childcare available. You can combine them to meet your needs. Before making your decision it is advisable to look at several local options:

Types of childcare options

Find your nearest childcare provider of for further information please contact the Families Information Service.