There are lots of different good quality childcare arrangements on offer which you can mix and match to suit your daily schedule, working hours, study or training. Before you make your final decision it is advisable to look at several local options to get an idea of what's available.
The following must register with Ofsted if they look after children up to eight years old for more than two hours a day, for pay or reward.
This means they are inspected regularly to make sure the care they provide meets the regulations set by Ofsted and all staff have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
- Day nurseries
- LEA maintained nurseries
- Nursery units of independent schools
- Pre schools
- Breakfast clubs
- After school clubs
- Holiday play schemes
The following do not have to register but they can choose to go on the Ofsted Voluntary Childcare Register.
- Au pair
- Home child carer such as nannies
- Activity based care (for example sports, drama, language or arts clubs)
In addition to the more formal types of childcare many parents also rely on family and friends to help cover all or some of their childcare needs.
You can find further information about how to find and pay for childcare in our Choosing childcare booklet.
You might also like to have a look at our At my childminder's photobook for real life snapshots of how children in the care of a childminder might spend their time.
Files available to download
- Helping you choose childcare booklet (PDF)
Information for families about choosing, finding and paying for childcare
- At my childminder's a photobook for parents (PDF)
Real life snapshots of how children in the care of a childminder might spend their time
- Checklist - childminder (PDF)
Questions to ask and what to look out for when visiting a childminder
- Checklist - nurseries and pre school playgroups (PDF)
Questions to ask and what to look out for when visiting a nursery or pre school playgroup
- Checklist - breakfast clubs, after schools clubs and holiday playschemes (PDF)
Questions to ask and what to look out for when visiting a breakfast club, after school club or holiday playscheme