- What is Registered Childcare?
- Registered Childminders
- Day Nurseries
- Out of School Childcare
- Parent and Toddler Groups
- List of Childcare Providers
Any setting that cares for children aged under 8 years for a period of 2 hours or more must be registered with Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education). Parent and toddler groups are unregistered because the parent stays with the child. Some playgroups and out of school facilities are exempt from registration because they operate for less than 2 hours or care for children over 8 years old.
All registered childcare providers are inspected periodically by Ofsted to ensure that they meet the National Standards for childcare.
You may wish to combine different types of childcare in order to help you to work or train. This is known as wraparound or extended childcare. For example, a child could attend a pre-school in the morning, then be collected from the pre-school by a childminder who would care for the child for the rest of the day. Or a child could be taken to and collected from school by a childminder during term time and attend a holiday play scheme during the holidays.
For more information please download the Choosing childcare leaflet below.
Childminders must be registered with Ofsted in order to care for children under the age of 8 in their home for payment. All registered childminders will have Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks.
Childminders provide a flexible form of childcare that fits the needs of working parents. They can take children to and from schools and nurseries, and often take children to group settings such as drop-ins where they can socialise with other children.
To become a childminder no formal qualifications are necessary although it is expected that applicants have experience of caring for young children. Potential childminders must attend a pre-registration course and have completed a First Aid course within the first 6 months of childminding. Childminders can register for up to 6 children under 8 years old including no more than one under 12 months. This differs between childminders because a childminder's own children have to be taken into account. Childminders are self-employed therefore there is no national rate that they have to charge, although most charge around £240 per child for full-time care per week or on average around £6 - £8 per hour. Most childminders will provide childcare between the hours of 8am and 6pm. Some childminders will work early mornings, evenings and weekends as well.
Westminster Network Minders are now able to offer the free early learning for three and four year olds. This means that children aged 3 & 4 are entitled to 15 hours of free nursery education for 38 weeks of the year. They are also able to offer places to those eligible for the 2 year old offer dependent on the family meeting the set criteria and availability of spaces. For details of Network Minder in your local area please contact the FIS.
Click the link for a list of childminders in your area, including the hours that they work, their cost, whether they collect from schools etc.
Advantages of Childminders:
- Children are cared for in a home environment
- Children can mix with children of different ages and backgrounds
- Childminders can take your child to and from schools or other groups settings
- Childminders can provide part-time care
- Childminders can be very flexible
- Childminders can provide consistent care by looking after a child for a long time
- Childminders can provide opportunities for children to be included in domestic activities and in getting to know their locality, shops, parks, toddler groups and schools
For more information please download the Childminder leaflet below.
Crèches need to be registered with Ofsted if they provide occasional care for children aged under 8 years on particular premises for more than 5 days a year. They need to be registered if they are open for more than 2 hours a day; even when individual children attend for shorter periods. Most crèches are in permanent premises, such as supermarkets and leisure centres, and parents stay on the premises while the child is cared for in the crèche. Other crèches provide childcare at one-off events such as training courses.
See below for information about crèches or click the link for full details such as opening times and costs.
If you need the services of a mobile crèche at events such as weddings and training courses please contact the FIS for further details.
Advantages of using a Crèche:
- Flexible care
- Support for parents who are studying or shopping or pursuing a leisure activity
- In-house childcare
A nanny provides childcare in the child's own home and is employed by the child's family. Nannies look after children of all ages and can work flexible hours. Nannies do not have to meet any legal requirements to work with children so it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that they are satisfied with the person they employ. Parents may wish to contact the Criminals Records Bureau (CRB) to carry out their own police check on the prospective nanny. Au pairs and babysitters fall into a similar category as nannies. Employing a nanny means that you are responsible for paying the nanny's salary and deducting Tax and National Insurance contributions. HMRC operates an Employers Helpline for these sorts of issues (Telephone 08457 143 143).
Children aged 5-12 yrs can access a range of play and leisure activities after school and during the holidays. There are many play centres (sometimes called play projects or kid's clubs) in Westminster where qualified playworkers provide children with sports, arts, music and other activities. A play centre must register with Ofsted as an out of school childcare provider if it provides activities for children under 8 years for more than 2 hours a day for more than 5 days a year. To view the National Standards for out of school childcare please visit the Ofsted website
Opening times for play centres vary. They are usually open between 3.00pm and 6.00pm during term time, and 8.00am - 6.00pm during the school holidays.
The staff that work in play centres are usually called playworkers. Normally there is a Co-ordinator and a Deputy Co-ordinator who are qualified in playwork and aged 21 or over. There must be a staffing ratio of 1 playworker to every 8 children, and at least 2 workers on the premises at all times.
Advantages of using an out of school club:
- Often provided on, or close to, school premises
- Children can play with their friends from school
- Children can attend the same childcare provision the whole year round
- Provides outdoor play and exercise
- Many will offer outings and trips
For more information please download the Out of School Hours Care leaflet below.
Parent and toddler groups do not need to register with Ofsted because parents attend with their children. Parent and toddler groups usually operate in church halls, schools and community centres. They run for a couple of hours on one or two days per week. Parent and toddler groups offer a great opportunity for parents and children to socialise. The cost of attending a session is minimal, usually just covering the cost of refreshments.
Children's Centres typically offer activities for parents and their children under 5 years to find out what activities are taking place at your local Children's Centre click here.
Pre-schools that are open for more than 2 hours a day have to be registered with Ofsted and inspected annually. Most pre-schools operate for 2.5 hours per session with a session in the morning and one in the afternoon, Monday to Friday during term time. Children can attend pre-schools from the age of 2.5 to school age. Pre-schools are based in places such as primary schools, community centres and church halls. The staffing ratios for pre-schools are 1:4 for children aged 2 years and 1:8 for children aged 3-5 years.
Some pre-schools in Westminster can offer a funded early education place for 3 and 4 year olds if available. A place is 5 sessions of 3 hours per week during term time.
Search for pre-schools
Advantages of using pre-schools:
- Children can learn through play in a stimulating setting under the supervision of qualified staff
- Children can play and socialise with other children
- Pre-schools deliver the foundation stage curriculum
- Prepares children for school
- Opportunities for outdoor play
For more information please download the Pre-schools & Playgroups leaflet below.
A day nursery provides daycare and early years education for children under 5 years old. Day nurseries are registered with Ofsted and are inspected annually. Most day nurseries open between 7.30am and 6.00pm Monday to Friday all year with the exception of public holidays. The cost of a day nursery in Westminster is usually between £220 and £300 per child per week, depending on the individual provider and age of the child. Part-time places are also available and cost usually around £14 a session. These are usually open twice a day with one session in the morning and another in the afternoon. Sessions vary but usually run from 8.00am - 1.00pm and 1.00pm - 5.00pm. Some day nurseries also offer early education places for 3 and 4 year olds if a place is available. An early education place is 5 sessions of 3 hours per week totalling 15 hours during term time.
The number of places that a private day nursery can provide depends on the premises. The staff to child ratio is 1:8 for children aged 3-5; 1:4 for children aged 2 years and 1:3 for children aged under 2 years.
Search for details of day nurseries in your area including opening times, costs and the ages of children they are registered for.
Advantages of using a Day Nursery:
- Children can mix with other children
- Geared towards the needs of children with working parents
- Qualified staff
- Delivery of the foundation stage curriculum
- Open all year
- Provides outdoor play
- May participate in outings
For more information please download the Nurseries leaflet below.
The Family Information Service (FIS) holds a database of all registered childcare in Westminster, and also has details of most providers of services that do not need to be registered. The FIS can provide you with lists of all your nearest childcare with details of their location, costs, opening times, and school collection arrangements. Search for childcare providers in your area by childcare type i.e. childminders or childcare on non domestic premises.
- Choosing Childcare - Information about types of childcare and useful tips
- Childminders - Guide to finding a suitible childminder
- Nurseries - Guide to choosing nurseries
- Out of School Hours Care - Information about afterschool care and activities
- Parent and Toddler Groups - Information about what parent and toddler groups have to offer.
- Pre-schools & Playgroups - Guide to pre-schools & playgroups
- Questions to ask Childcare Providers - Not sure what to ask childcare providers? Here are some suggestions use these to find suitable childcare for your child
- Parks and playgrounds - Guide to all parks and playgrounds suitable to children in the City.
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