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Choosing Childcare

  • Our Family Information Service can help parents looking for childcare in their local area - go to our Staffordshire Connects website to start your search. We can also offer a brokerage service for those who cannot find childcare. The service does not place children into childcare settings and all costs are determined by the childcare provider.
  • What you need to know: handy tips and advice on what to look for when searching for childcare, go to our top tips page.
  • Types of childcare: below is information on what types of childcare could be applicable to your needs and depending on the age of your child/ren.
  • Help with childcare costs: families could get help with some of their childcare costs if they attend an Ofsted registered or approved childcare setting, most of which also offer funded hours for 2, 3 and 4 year olds, depending on family eligibility.
Suitable childcare by age group 
  0-2 years2-5 years5 years and plus
Day Nursery
Pre-School Playgroups
Out of School Care or wraparound
Nannies / Home Carer

*Please note: some school run nurseries / preschools and out of school care may not cater for children under 3 years old. 

Types of childcare 


Registered childminders are self-employed carers, and most are Ofsted registered. Some childminders register with a Childminder Agency (which is Ofsted registered) instead of directly with Ofsted.

Childminders provide care and education often in their own home. They can look after up to a *maximum of 6 children under the age of 8, but normally only 3 of them can be under 5 years old at any one time. *If they have an assistant/ or work with another childminder, this will increase the number of children cared for on site.

Most will work early mornings, evenings to coincide with school drop offs, collections and school holidays. Some also work weekends or provide care overnight. Costs can vary.


Childminders are ideal if you want:

  • your child to be cared for in a family home with fewer other children
  • flexible care with many open all year around
  • children of different ages to be cared for together
  • school run/ walking bus if parents need to get to work early or finish late
  • the feeling of one on one care with children
  • regulated and inspected in the same way as any other childcare type

Find a childminder.

Day nurseries and school-based nurseries 

A day nursery can be privately run, or school based and can be found on varying types of premises. They can provide care and education for children from birth to 5 years old, some school run settings take children from 2 or 3 year olds. 

They must follow strict staff to child ratios according to Ofsted regulations. Opening times tend to coincide with a standard working day, typically between 7:30am - 6:30pm for privately run nurseries, many are open almost all year.

Most primary schools or academies offer nursery provision which is normally open during term time periods only and typically between Monday-Friday 9:00am - 3:30pm. Parents should contact the school directly to apply.


Day nurseries are ideal if you want:

  • your child in a fixed location 
  • somewhere open virtually all year round - if privately run
  • the reassurance that there will always be someone there to care for your child - even if someone is off sick
  • your child to mix with potentially lots of other children

  • long hours of childcare in the day

Find a day nursery.

Pre-school playgroup

Pre-school playgroups provide childcare and early education for 2 to 5 year olds. They emphasise parental involvement and combine play and learning opportunities with childcare.

Pre-schools must adhere to staff and child ratios as outlined by Ofsted. They offer sessions from as little 2 and a half hours to 4 hours during term time - though 2 sessions often run in a day. Pre-schools are a good way of extending your childcare. 


Pre-school playgroups are ideal if you want:

  • your pre-school child to mix and learn to socialise
  • a wide range of services
  • if you are not at work full-time and prefer more sessional based care
  • to get involved with the playgroup and help out i.e. community focus

Find a pre-school playgroup.

Before & after school care/ wraparound and holiday clubs

These settings (also known as extended services on school sites) allow children to attend before and after school and sometimes during the school holidays (holiday clubs). They mainly provide care for 3 to 11 year olds (or older on secondary school sites). 

They are in or near schools or youth/community centres and can be run by activity companies, nurseries, schools and voluntary or private companies.  A few may collect your child from school and take them to the club if they are off the site of a school, which is a service many childminders also provide.

Many extended services offer a variety of activities on top of the normal school day. These range from activities such as music, art or sport to extra study support.

From September 2024, parents can expect to see an increase in the number of wraparound childcare places available across the country due the government expansion of this provision.

The aim is that all parents in England with primary school aged children will be able to access wraparound care in their local area.

Types of out of school care

  • Breakfast clubs - open in the morning before school
  • After school clubs - open after school until around 6pm
  • Holiday play schemes - open during the holidays with varying opening hours


Out of school care is ideal if you want:

  • a safe and fun place for your child to stay after school until you can collect them at the end of the or drop off early on the way to work
  • older children to be supervised where they can do their homework
  • your child to play with other children and make new friends

Find out of school care.


Nannies and home-based carers

Please note: The Family Information Service does not hold information on nannies and babysitters. There is no legislation that nannies or babysitters must register with Ofsted, though some do.

You would employ a nanny / babysitter to care for children, usually in your own home. Information on employing a nanny and your legal obligations can be found on site such as Nannytax . A nanny can register with Ofsted as a home child-carer on the voluntary childcare register. Nannies cannot offer funded places for 2, 3 and 4 year olds as they are not register on Ofsted early years register.

Further help or assistance

Please contact us if you cannot find the childcare you are looking for or require brokerage for your childcare requirements.

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