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Early years and childcare settings that work with children under the age of eight years for more than two hours per day must be registered with Ofsted.

Some childcare does not have to be registered; this includes settings caring for children aged eight years and over only, care that is based around one or two activities, care that is provided in the child’s home or directly by a school. However, the provider may choose to register on the Ofsted Voluntary Childcare Register. Ofsted regularly inspect childcare settings that are registered and you can see the reports of these inspections on the Ofsted website.

You can check to see if a childcare provider is registered with Ofsted by asking to see the setting’s registration certificate or by calling Slough Family Information Service on 01753 476589.

If you have difficulty finding suitable childcare in your area, contact Slough FIS on 01753 476589 or FIS@scstrust.co.uk.

Childminders

Childminders are self-employed and usually work in their own home. If they care for children under the age of eight they must be registered and inspected by Ofsted. Ofsted will register a childminder to care for a specific number of children; the maximum number will be six children under the age of eight years but they can also care for children aged over eight years.

Most registered childminders offer care for children between the hours of 8am – 6pm but many are flexible with the times they work and offer early mornings, late nights, weekend and overnight care.

Nannies and home childcarers

Nannies and home childcarers usually work in the child’s own home. They can provide care for a maximum of two families at any one time. They do not have to be registered with Ofsted but can choose to be registered on the Ofsted Voluntary Childcare Register. If a parent uses a registered nanny/home childcarer, they may be entitled to claim back some of the cost of childcare through the Tax Credit / Universal Credit or Childcare Vouchers / tax-free childcare scheme.

Nannies usually work flexible or unusual hours to fit in with the needs of the family; some work only part time while others could live-in.

Pre-schools and playgroups

Pre-schools offer care and early education to children aged from two to five years. They must be registered with Ofsted on the Early Years Register.

Pre-schools are usually open between 9am and 3pm, term time only but some offer extended hours. Most pre-schools are able to offer the 15 hours a week of free early education to eligible three and four year olds, most offer this flexibly over three days rather than three hours per day.

Parents must pay for any additional hours above the 15 hours per week or for childcare for children who are not eligible for the free 15 hours. Parents may be entitled to claim back some of the cost of childcare through the Tax Credit / Universal Credit or Childcare Vouchers / tax-free childcare scheme.

Day nurseries

Day nurseries provide childcare and education for young children between the ages of six weeks and five years. They are usually open between 7am – 7pm and most open 51 weeks of the year.

Most day nurseries are able to offer the 15 hours per week of free early education to eligible three and four year olds; this can be accessed flexibly to fit in with the parents needs for childcare.

Parents must pay for any additional hours above the 15 hours per week or for childcare for children who are not eligible for the free 15 hours. The cost of childcare in a day nursery will vary depending on the age of the child and the number of hours of childcare being used. Parents may be entitled to claim back some of the cost of childcare through the Tax Credit / Universal Credit or Childcare Vouchers / tax-free childcare scheme.

Crèches

Crèches provide occasional care for children while their parents are engaged in other activities such as adult education, shopping or sports.

A child can only stay in a crèche for a limited amount of time each day. The maximum amount of time allowed is four hours if the parent is on the premises or nearby. Crèches cannot have a long-term commitment to the children they care for. Crèches can choose to be registered on the Ofsted Voluntary Childcare Register.

Out of school childcare 

Breakfast, after school and holiday clubs

Out of school clubs run before school, after school or during school holidays. They are open to school aged children, usually four – 14 years or up to 16 years for children with additional needs.

Breakfast and after-school clubs offer play opportunities such as sports, drama or arts and crafts and can sometimes support children with homework. Clubs may run on school sites but they can also be based in community centres or Children’s Centres. They may be run by the school or by a private provider. Clubs that operate in community or Children’s Centres collect children from school and take them to the club where they stay until they are collected by their parents.

Childminders also offer out of school care to children of all ages including those attending nursery schools and classes. They will collect children from school and care for them in a home environment.

Out of school clubs may have to register with Ofsted. Those that care for children under five years old or children aged five to eight years for more than two hours a day will have to register with Ofsted unless they are run by a school for their own pupils. Clubs that only care for children aged over eight years old do not have to register.

Parents who use registered childcare or childcare that is offered by schools may be entitled to claim back some of the cost of childcare through the Tax Credit / Universal Credit or Childcare Vouchers / tax-free childcare scheme.

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