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Childcare Options

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Friends and Relatives

This is the most common form of childcare, with children being cared for by familiar people in familiar surroundings. Using friends and relatives can be flexible with the carer often having children of their own. Any payment for this form of childcare cannot be taken into consideration when making a claim for Tax Credits. Friends caring for children under the age of eight for more than two hours per day should be registered. Anyone, apart from close relatives, receiving a fee is breaking the law (It is a legal requirement to register any childcare which provides more than two hours care per day for under 8’s in return for any payment).

Childminders

Childminders are childcare professionals who can offer school drop-off and/or pick-up as well as part and full-time places, and school holiday care. Children are cared for in the childminder’s home often with a range of children of different ages, sometimes including their own. This form of childcare is registered and must comply with certain standards enforced by OFSTED. For further guidance on this service as well as a list of childminders in your area, call Children’s Information Service free on 08000 96 02 96. They will search our database to find you a childminder who can take care of your individual needs and send you a list as well as guidance on making the right decision.

Information on Childminding services in your area is available online through the childcare link website – www.childcarelink.gov.uk. Please note not all providers have given permission to publish their details on this website. For a complete list of childcare providers, please contact the Children's Information Service on 08000 96 02 96.

Approved Childcarers

The Childcare Approval Scheme came into existence in April 2005. It is a voluntary scheme for approving childcare providers and enabling parents to check if their nanny or carer is approved. The scheme approves people who wish to care for children over eight only in the childcarer's home or on other premises e.g. Sports Centre/School or for children under eight in the child's home.

The scheme verifies that a potential childcarer has a suitable qualification and a recent First Aid certificate and carries out an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check. Parents who use an approved childcarer may be able to claim help for their childcare costs through the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit. More information about the scheme can be found on the government website www.childcareapprovalscheme.co.uk or by calling their helpline on 0845 7678 111.

Out of School Clubs

Out of school clubs offer care for children outside the school day. This can be before school starts and/or after school. Parents can drop the child off at the club in the morning and be assured that the child will be cared for and safely taken to school. At the end of the school day, the child will be picked up from the school and escorted back to the club venue until parents pick them up. Many out of school clubs are run by voluntary management committees on school premises.

Information on Out of School Clubs in your area is available online through the childcare link website – www.childcarelink.gov.uk. Please note not all providers have given permission to publish their details on this website. For a complete list of childcare providers, please contact the Children's Information Service on 08000 96 02 96.

Holiday Care Clubs

Holiday care clubs offer both full and part-time places in the school holidays. These clubs are offered by a variety of organisations. Some large companies organise holiday care centres for their employees to alleviate the problem of parents/carers balancing work and family responsibilities during the long summer holiday.

Information on Holiday Care Clubs in your area is available online through the childcare link website – www.childcarelink.gov.uk. Please note not all providers have given permission to publish their details on this website. For a complete list of childcare providers, please contact the Children's Information Service on 08000 96 02 96.

Pre-schools, Playgroups and Wrap-around Playgroups

Pre-schools and Playgroups offer a similar kind of childcare. They mainly provide sessional care, usually from 2 hours up to 4 hours, for children from the age of 2 to 5 years during the school term time; however, some Pre-school/Playgroups continue to operate during the school holidays. All those Pre-schools and Playgroups who are registered to receive the Nursery Education Grant are regularly inspected by OFSTED, the DfES quality watchdog.

Wrap-around playgroups enable children who attend school on a part-time basis, to take part in a full day of education and activities. These playgroups will either care for the child in the morning, escorting the child to school for his/her afternoon educational placement or in the afternoon, picking the child up from school and caring for the child until the parent/carer picks them up. This kind of care is very similar to out of school clubs, but caters for children aged three and four who are attending school for half a day. The rules and regulations applicable to out of school groups apply to extended playgroups that offer care for up to 4 hours in a day.

Information on Pre-schools and Playgroups in your area is available online through the childcare link website – www.childcarelink.gov.uk. Please note not all providers have given permission to publish their details on this website. For a complete list of childcare providers, please contact the Children's Information Service on 08000 96 02 96.

Parent and toddler groups

Parent and toddler groups are usually meeting of mums, dads or carers and children under the age of three. The session gives the parent/carer a chance to socialise with each other and children the chance to learn to play in a group, sharing a variety of toys. Parents and children can also benefit from the opportunity to spend time together without the distraction of household chores. They are normally open for an hour or two one day a week, and close during the school holidays.

Remember – parents/carers must stay with their children at all times.

Information on Parent and toddler groups in your area is available online through the childcare link website – www.childcarelink.gov.uk. Please note not all providers have given permission to publish their details on this website. For a complete list of childcare providers, please contact the Children's Information Service on 08000 96 02 96.

Private Day Nurseries

Private Day Nurseries can offer full day care provision and nursery education for children aged from birth to 5 years old. They are usually open from 8 am to 6pm, hours and costs vary between Private Day Nurseries. They offer part time and full time places all year round. All those Private Day Nurseries who are registered to receive the Nursery Education Grant are regularly inspected by OFSTED, the DfES quality watchdog.
Information on Private Day Nurseries in your area is available online through the childcare link website – www.childcarelink.gov.uk. Please note not all providers have given permission to publish their details on this website. For a complete list of childcare providers, please contact the Children's Information Service on 08000 96 02 96.