Pre schools

Find registered childcare near you

Pre-school groups, also known as playgroups or sessional groups, provide play time and early education to under-fives. Groups which are open for two hours or more a day must be registered with Ofsted.

Most pre schools:

  • will take children from two to five years old
  • are open throughout the school year for morning or afternoon sessions lasting between two and a half to four hours
  • are mostly non-profit making and run by a committee of volunteers

How can I apply for a place?

You can apply for a place by contacting the pre school directly. If you are applying for a funded childcare place you may have to register your child well in advance as many childcare providers operate waiting lists.

You can search for pre-school playgroups in your area in our Childcare finder.

What is the ratio of staff to children?

The statutory staffing requirements are:

  • for two to three-year-olds - one member of staff for every four children
  • for over three-year-olds - one member of staff for every eight children

Do they have any training?

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. Some Early years professionals may also be Early Years Teachers, which is professional accreditation on the same level as a graduate.

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.

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