There are lots of different types of childcare to choose from. Some families use informal childcare, such as other family members, friends or neighbours. However you may also find that you need to make more formal childcare arrangements. Some childcare settings provide specialist services for disabled children, however all childcare should welcome and include disabled children.
The above video from the Coram Family and Childcare Trust, may offer some tips about what to look out for when searching for an early years provider for your child.
On the following links you can access information about registered early years providers in Westminster:
If you have any queries about early years provision in the borough, please contact a member of the Family Information Service team:
Tel: 07971 625922 / Email: email@example.com
For further information about the different types of early years provision, have a look at the sections below:
These provide early education and childcare for children from as early as 3 months to 5 years. Day nurseries tend to open from Monday to Friday, and from 8am to 6pm, but some are open even longer hours, and these usually operate all year round, except for bank holidays.
These may be inspected by Ofsted, or by the Independent School Inspectorate (ISI).
Pre-schools, Nursery Schools, and Community Nurseries
These offer early education and care for children normally between the ages of three and five, but sometimes, these also offer places to children from the age of 2.
These can be run by voluntary parent-led committees and charities, or by individual or limited companies and tend to follow school term-times, so are not open during the school holidays. Some are only open from 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday.
As always, it is best to check with the nursery school or class you’re interested in to find out about available places and their admissions policy.
These facilities are run by the local authority (LA) and places are funded through the Early Years Funding scheme. Maintained nurseries schools usually provide early education and childcare to children from 3- to 5-year-old, however, some accept children from the age of 2.
Maintained nursery schools may also offer childcare before and after school. These follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and are registered with and inspected by Ofsted.
Nursery classes within a maintained school or academy
These provide early education and childcare to children from 3- to 5-year-old, however, some may accept children from the age of 2. Families normally would have to apply to the nursery in a similar way to you would for a school place. If your application is successful, you will either be allocated a morning or an afternoon place. You could use your 15 hours of nursery education funding to access the place.
Many nursery classes within primary schools also offer the extended entitlement of 30 hours for eligible working families. For those accepting 2-year-old children, these are normally through the early education and childcare entitlement of 15 hours for eligible families.
As nursery classes are part of the wider school they are inspected under the school's Ofsted, or under the Independent School Inspectorate (ISI) in the case of some private or independent schools.
Childminders are trained, self-employed carers largely based in their own homes. They are normally registered with Ofsted or with a childminder agency and both the childminder and their home are regularly checked. They also have to had regular DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks.
A childminder will normally be able to look after up to six children under eight-years-old including their own, but only three of them can be under the age of five.
Childminders are perfect if your working day doesn’t fit the 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday pattern or if you have children of different ages and you want them to be looked after together. You may also want your child to be cared for in a home environment by just one person.
A home carer or nanny would be someone that looks after your children in your own home. Because they are looking after children in your own home they are not required to be registered with Ofsted but some choose to go on a voluntary register. If you go through an agency you may need to pay a finders fee.
If you arrange a nanny or home childcarer directly you become their employer. This means you become responsible for recruiting an appropriate person; carrying out a criminal record check; ensuring they are trained; agreeing terms and conditions and taking care of their pay including tax and National Insurance Contributions.
A babysitter is someone who temporarily cares for children on behalf of their parents or guardians. Babysitters are generally responsible for planning activities (games, sports, art) or supervising play dates. However, some babysitters will have other responsibilities such as cooking, feeding, transportation and helping with homework. Above all, a babysitter is responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the children whilst in the care of the babysitter.
The majority of babysitting jobs are considered as part-time jobs, paid by the hour, by either specific occasion or regularly scheduled (every day from 3pm - 6pm or every Saturday night, for example). Salaries for babysitters range widely depending on hours, experience and location. You can find a babysitter by using a specialist agency (which will more than likely charge you a fee) or by advertising yourself. Babysitting agencies will often be listed on the internet.
Five essential tips for choosing a babysitter
- Interview the sitter
- Ask for at least two references and follow up with the referees yourself
- Follow your instincts. Don't use them if you have doubts
- Ask friends, family and colleagues if they can recommend any babysitters or agencies that they regularly use
- Will the sitter be prepared to act in the case of an emergency (first aid and infant CPR)?
"The Family Information Service (FIS) have not vetted any agency and inclusion on this website does not constitute a recommendation. Babysitters are not registered with Ofsted; however, they can be registered on the voluntary Ofsted Childcare Register if they meet the requirements. More information is available at www.ofsted.gov.uk Parents must take care to check credentials.
Please note that the City of Westminster Council takes no responsibility for content of external websites”.
Some clubs are open before and after school and all day during school holidays. They offer a quiet space for catching up with homework as well as plenty of fun activities for children. Clubs tend to be for primary school children, but some do offer care for children up to the age of 14 (and up to 16 for children with special educational needs). Most breakfast, after school and holiday play schemes are linked to local schools.
Schools now offer a variety of activities on top of the normal school day such as music, art, sport or additional study support.
Early education and childcare settings locations:
Last Updated 30/03/2023