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Day Nurseries

Find registered childcare near you

Day nurseries provide care and early education for children aged up to five. Nurseries which open for two hours, or more, a day must be registered with Ofsted.

Most day nurseries:

  • open between 8am and 6pm (although some offer extended hours, opening at 7am and closing at 7pm)
  • offer a range of flexible care options including full time, part time, morning and afternoon sessions
  • are run by either voluntary or community groups, employers, local authorities or privately

How can I apply for a place?

You can apply for a place by contacting the nursery directly. If you are applying for a free early education place you may have to register your child well before their third birthday as many childcare providers operate waiting lists.

You can search for day nurseries in your area in our Childcare finder.

What is the average fee?

The average cost per day can be in the region of £40 to £70. Fees are set by the individual nursery and can be charged at a daily, sessional or hourly rate.

Depending on your family's circumstances you may be able to claim Free childcare for 2 year olds (FEET) if your child's nursery is registered to offer the funding.

If your nursery is registered for Free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds they can claim up  to 15 hours of free childcare for your child the term after their third birthday.

You may also be able to get help towards your childcare costs through the childcare element of Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit or by using childcare vouchers or Tax-Free Childcare.

What is the ratio of staff to children?

The statutory staffing requirements are:

  • for under two year olds - one member of staff for every three children
  • 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 nursery 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.

Further reading

You can find further information about choosing, finding and paying for childcare in our Choosing childcare booklet.

Files available to download