Pre school groups, also known as playgroups and sessional groups provide play time and often early education to under fives. Groups which are open for two hours, or more, a day must be registered with Ofsted.
Most pre schools:
The statutory staffing requirements are:
All supervisors and managers must hold a full relevant level 3 qualification and half of all other staff must hold a minimum of a level 2 qualification. Everyone within the pre school must attend a safeguarding training course and someone must take lead responsibility for safeguarding children. In addition at least one person must have a current paediatric first aid certificate and all staff involved in preparing and handling food must receive training in food hygiene.
The cost for a morning or afternoon session can be in the region of £8 to £16. Fees are set by the individual pre school and can be charged at a daily, sessional or hourly rate.
If your pre school is registered for the Early Years Free Entitlement they can claim up to 15 hours of free early education for your child the term after their third birthday. Your childcare provider shouldn't charge you for any of this time as the entitlement is for a free place rather than a subsidy towards your fees. However they can set their own rates for any additional time or services that you take and should let you know in advance what you will be expected to pay. You should also get an invoice at least once a term clearly showing what you are being asked to pay for.
Depending on your family's circumstances you may be able to claim Free early education for two year olds if your child's pre school is registered to offer the funding.
You can apply for a place by contacting the pre school directly. If you are applying for an Early Years Free Entitlement place you may have to register your child well before their third birthday as many childcare providers operate waiting lists.
You can search for pre school playgroups in your area in our Childcare finder.