Childcare – options and help to pay

Finding childcare

There are different kinds of childcare like childminders, nurseries, preschools and nannies. For older children there are also breakfast and after school clubs and holiday playschemes. There are also au pairs and creches. Childcarers can provide for children with special needs.

For advice and information on choosing childcare, contact Information for Families on 0345 60 80 192, email or see the factsheet.

Factsheet – Your guide to choosing childcare (Adobe PDF)

Questions to ask childcare providers (Adobe PDF)

Finding childcare

Registered childcare

Childcare providers who are registered with Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) have to meet quality and safety standards. You can search for Ofsted inspection reports on childcare providers and nurseries near you:

Ofsted – early years and childcare

Financial help

Parents are expected to pay the cost of childcare. However there is some help.

There is funding for early education for three and four year olds and for some two year olds.

Families receiving Working Tax Credit may get some help with childcare costs.

Some employers support employees childcare costs by offering childcare vouchers schemes. To find out whether you will be better off using vouchers or tax credits or may be able to claim both.

There may also be help if you are a student with children.