Registered childcare options
There are a variety of childcare options available for parents and carers.
Childminders (childcare on domestic premises)
A childminder is a man or a woman who looks after children from 0 - 8 years of age in their own home for more than two hours a day, and they receive a payment or reward for providing this service.
Many Childminders offer a variety of care options, these could include a drop off or collection service to a local school, early mornings, late evenings, weekends and some childminders are registered to care for children overnight. Childminders can care for up to 6 children, this number must include any children of their own, and the figure is further broken down to 3 children 0-4 years (no more than one child can be aged 0-12 months in this group) and 3 children 5-8 years. Many childminders choose to care for older children as well, and childminders must ensure that care of the older children does not adversely affect the care of the children they are registered for.
Childminders are required to be registered on both the compulsory and early years register if they are caring for children aged 0-8 years.
Home child carers
Home child carers care for children and young people in the home of one of the children being cared for. They care for children from no more than two families. Home child carers do not have to be registered however they can if they wish to do so apply to go onto the voluntary childcare registers, by registering with Ofsted it enables parents who are using this type of care to apply for the childcare element of the working tax credit should they be eligible.
Day care/nurseries (childcare on non-domestic premises)
Day nurseries can provide care and education for children between the ages of 6 weeks to 5 years old. (Not all settings offer the full age range).
Nurseries are usually open all year around apart from bank holidays and offer a range of full and part time places. The number of children a nursery can provide care for is determined by Ofsted and this is calculated using the amount of space and staffing available.
Some day nurseries also offer a service to older children in the form of a before and after school or holiday club.
All day nurseries are required to be registered on both the compulsory and early years register.
Playgroups or Pre-schools (childcare on non-domestic premises)
Pre-school playgroups provide care and early education for children aged between two and five years old. They usually offer part-time sessions during school term time only. Some playgroups may offer lunch clubs and early morning or evening care as well.
Playgroups are required to be registered on both the compulsory and early years register. The early years education funding (for 2,3 and 4 year olds) can be used at these settings when the child becomes eligible
Out of school Clubs (also known as before and after school clubs)
Out of school clubs aim to provide a safe, fun and stimulating environment for children before and after school. They usually provide care for children between 4-11years at the beginning or end of the school day. They often run from school premises, but some day nurseries may also offer this type of care. Some out of school clubs may also offer a service during school holidays.
Clubs that care for children over the age of 8 years or who operate for less than 2 hours a day do not have to be registered but may if they wish, apply to go on the voluntary childcare register.
Out of school clubs that care for children 4- 8 years are either registered on the Compulsory and Early Years registers or are part of the schools registration with Ofsted.
Holiday playschemes offer activities for children between the ages of 4 years upwards during school holidays.
They can take place on school sites, in day nurseries or other venues such as sports and community centres.
If the focus of the setting is around care rather than activity based then the setting is required to register with Ofsted, however schemes that are activity based only can if they wish register on the voluntary register to enable parents who are eligible to claim the childcare element of the working tax credit.
More information on the regulation of childcare providers can be found at