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Early Years

Childcare Providers (Childminders, Nurseries)

The information on this page is to help you make an informed decision about the benefits of the different childcare providers.

The following websites also contain helpful information to help you understand the different types of childcare and to feel confident using childcare.

The Family and Childcare Trust 

PACEY (Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years)

Finding childcare in your area

We are developing a new childcare search. Until this is available, please contact the Early Years Team for information about childcare providers in the area. 


A day nursery cares for children from birth to five years old. They are usually open Monday to Friday 8am to 6.30pm.

Main benefits

  • Open all year round, closing only during the Christmas period.
  • Cater for a large age range of children.
  • Provide opportunities for your child to socialise and make friends.
  • Provide hot meals and snacks.
  • Are more geared for working parents.
  • Registered with Ofsted.
  • Usually have a large staffing team.
  • Staff have a range of qualifications in early years. 

Pre-schools care for children from two to five years and run term time only Monday to Friday.

Main benefits

  • You can meet local parents within your area.
  • Provide opportunities for your child to socialise and make friends with other local children.
  • Can provide morning or afternoon sessions. Some pre-schools can also offer a full day from 9am-3pm.
  • A good formal experience to prepare children for school.
  • Registered with Ofsted.
  • Staff have a range of qualifications in early years.

Childminders are usually self-employed and work within their home offering childcare for a range of ages from birth to school-age children.

Main benefits

  • Offers flexible hours which may include weekends, early mornings or evenings.
  • Provides more of a home experience for your child.
  • Can cater for individual needs of children.
  • Registered with Ofsted.
  • All childminders have completed introductory training in childcare approved by the local authority.

Once you’ve decided which setting is right for you and your child, you will need to look at the ‘provider list for parents and carers’ to see which providers offer spaces for two year old funded children within your local area.

A top tip would be to look at the providers Ofsted report (opens a new window) All providers approved to offer two year old funded spaces by the Royal Borough must have a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ rating. If you would like your child to attend a provider not included within the list, please contact us to discuss this further.

You could also ask other parents for their recommendations. Don’t forget that everyone experiences things differently so if their child didn’t like attending, it doesn’t mean to say that yours won’t.

Now it’s time to contact the setting to find out whether they have any places or whether they have a waiting list. You could also arrange to look round the provision with your child.

When you visit the setting, don’t forget to take:

  • Your child’s acceptance letter.

To help you on your first visit we have compiled a list of questions and things to think about, to help you decide whether it is right for you and your child.

Top tips to think about when walking around the provision

  • Do they provide a warm welcome?
  • Do the staff interact well with the children?
  • Do the children seem happy and content?
  • Do they have a good selection of toys and activities?
  • Do they have their Ofsted certificate on display?

Top questions to ask on your visit

  • What days and hours could you offer?
  • Do the hours include school holidays? If not, could I spread them over the year?
  • Can my child bring a packed lunch?
  • Do you offer a settling-in period? If so, how long for?
  • What is the ratio of staff to children?
  • How many children do you care for?
  • Do you operate a named ‘keyperson’ system?
  • Do I need to buy a uniform for my child?
  • Do you regularly update your staffs Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) checks? (It is recommended that they do this every three years). DBS checks should be in place for all people working within the provision and is a way of employers checking they are allowed to work with children.

For a more detailed list of questions to ask please visit Family and Childcare Trust website.

All early years providers must be registered with Ofsted which inspects and regulates services for children. As part of their registration requirements they must deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which sets the standard of learning, development and care for children from birth to five years.

As part of the early years foundation stage, all providers must plan activities to help your child learn and develop through play.

The seven main areas of learning and development which each setting will plan for are:

  • Communication and language.
  • Physical development.
  • Personal, social and emotional development.
  • Literacy.
  • Mathematics.
  • Understanding the world.
  • Expressive arts and design.

Early Years Foundation Stage on the GOV.Uk website

However, parents are seen as the child’s first teacher as you spend more time with them than any other person. You can help your child learn and develop at home through simple activities such as:

  • Reading to your child – helps them to learn new words, stimulates their imagination and develops their knowledge of the world.
  • Taking them on visits to feed the ducks or to the library – provides your child with new experiences of the world around them and will help to develop their vocabulary as you talk to them about what they are seeing and doing.
  • Do a jigsaw puzzle together – helps develop your child’s problem-solving skills and concentration.

For ideas on activities to do at home please visit the Early Years Alliance website