Childcare

What is a Childminder?

A childminder cares for children in his/her home for more than 2 hours a day and receives a reward for this service. This does not apply if the child is a close relative, i.e., a grandchild, niece or nephew. All childminders must be registered with Ofsted and meet all requirements set out in the Early Years Statutory Framework.   Visit the link below to access the parent’s guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage(EYFS) – https://www.foundationyears.org.uk/files/2014/08/EYFS_Parents_Guide-amended.pdf

Childminders can usually care for up to 6 children under that age of 8 at any one time. This will include their own children, of these only 3 may be under 5 years old. In addition, childminders may care for children aged 8 and over as long as this does not adversely affect the care of the under 8’s.

To find a childminder on the Wirral call 0800 085 8743 or email [email protected]

If you are not happy with your childminder, discuss any difficulties and follow the childminders complaints procedure. If you are still unable to resolve your difficulties and they relate to the quality of care, contact Ofsted on 0300 123 1231

What hours do childminders operate?

Because childminders are self-employed they can set their own operating hours – this tends to mean they can be more flexible. Most will usually operate between the hours of 8.00am and 6.00pm – although some childminders will work in early mornings, late evenings and weekends.

If you are not happy with your day nursery, discuss any difficulties with the manager and follow the childminders complaints procedure. If you are still unable to resolve your difficulties and they relate to the quality of care, contact Ofsted on 0300 123 1231

What does it Cost?

The amount childminders charge can vary greatly. There can be can be hourly, sessional or daily rate; usually there will be a mixture of these. This should always be discussed and agreed, along with term and conditions before any contract is signed. The contract should also include information regarding hours, illness, holidays, holiday pay, bank holidays, overtime, and length of notice needed to end that agreement.

You may be able to get help with the cost of childcare, visit https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/ or https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs to find out more information.

What is a Day Nursery?

Day nurseries offer both full and part-time care for children under the age of five – age ranges may vary from nursery to nursery.  Day nurseries must be registered with Ofsted and meet all requirements set out in the Early Years Statutory Framework. To access a parent’s guide to the Early years Foundation Stage visit- https://www.foundationyears.org.uk/files/2014/08/EYFS_Parents_Guide-amended.pdf

What hours do day nurseries operate?

Most nurseries are open all year round apart from bank holidays and Christmas. The hours of opening can vary with some being open 7.00am – 7.00pm, but most operate between the hours of 8.00am – 6.00pm.

Some will offer term time only and can be quite flexible in order to meet the needs of working parents.

What does it cost?

The cost of a nursery place on Wirral can vary; some settings will include food, infant formula and nappies in the cost.  Nurseries may offer a sibling discount and sometimes the price for a full weeks care can be cheaper than the daily rate.  You may be able to get help with the cost of childcare, visit https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/  to find out more information.

Many day nurseries offer free sessions for three and four year olds – this is called the free early year’s entitlement (FEYE). Some nurseries also offer free sessions for a limited number of eligible two year olds who have fulfilled the criteria for two year old funding. For more information visit https://www.wirral.gov.uk/early-years-and-childcare  or https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs

For a list of day nurseries on the Wirral visit https://www.wirral.gov.uk/early-years-and-childcare/find-nursery-or-childcare-provider

What is a pre-school/playgroup?

Playgroups and pre-schools are for children around the age of two years and six months to five years old (some care for children from two years). Children usually attend a session either in the morning or the afternoon for 2-3 hours.

All pre-schools must be registered with Ofsted and meet all requirements set out in the Early Years Statutory Framework.   Visit the link below to access the parent’s guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) –  https://www.foundationyears.org.uk/files/2014/08/EYFS_Parents_Guide-amended.pdf

If you are not happy about things at the pre-school, discuss any difficulties with the manger and follow the settings complaints procedure. If you are still unable to resolve your difficulties and they relate to the quality of care, contact Ofsted on 0300 123 1231

What hours do pre-schools operate?

Pre-schools are open during school term times.  Opening times may vary for each pre-school.

You can obtain a list of pre-schools at https://www.wirral.gov.uk/early-years-and-childcare/find-nursery-or-childcare-provider

What does it Cost?

Many pre-schools offer free sessions for three and four year olds – this is called the free early years entitlement (FEYE), for more information visit https://www.wirral.gov.uk/early-years-and-childcare/free-childcare-three-and-four-year-olds   .

Some pre-schools also offer free sessions for a limited number of eligible 2 year olds who have fulfilled the criteria for 2 year old funding. For more information please visit. https://www.wirral.gov.uk/early-years-and-childcare/free-childcare-two-year-olds

If it is required some pre-schools will offer wrap around care at an extra cost. Ensure you are fully aware of are extra costs before starting at the setting.

What is an out of school club?

An Out of School Club is a childcare facility that offers sessional care – usually before and after school hours. They offer your child a safe, stimulating place in which to play or take part in activities and crafts. They often offer holiday care too. The clubs are not open access so the children must be registered with the group and be collected by parents/carers.

Most out of school clubs that provide wraparound care are registered with and inspected by Ofsted, and have to implement the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) if caring for children of five years or younger.

You will be asked to complete a registration form giving details of your child, any illnesses or allergies, where you can be contacted etc, and any information that will help your child to settle. You should be given information about the group.

If you are not happy about things at the club, discuss any difficulties with the manger and follow the clubs complaints procedure. If you are still unable to resolve your difficulties and they relate to the quality of care, contact: Ofsted on 0300 123 1231

What hours does an out of school club operate?

There are usually three services available:

Before school /breakfast clubs are open in the morning before school starts – children can have their breakfast there

After school clubs are open in the afternoons and after school until 6pm

Holiday clubs are open during most school holidays between about 8am and 6pm

What does it Cost

Costs can vary according to the individual provider.

How do I know My Child Will Be Safe and Secure

Firstly, you know your child best; look for a childcare setting you feel will be the most suitable for your child!

All childcare providers must be registered with the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) before they can begin to care for children. This involves carrying out rigorous checks to ensure that they and anyone living in the household (Childminders) or working at the setting, has not committed any offence that would make them unsuitable to be involved in caring for or being around children. There is also a registration visit to the setting. This is carried out by an Ofsted Inspector – this is to ensure that the manager or potential person (Childminders) is a suitable person to care for children and that the environment is safe, secure and suitable for the care of children. The childcare provider is then inspected regularly to ensure that children are safe, well cared for and taking part in activities that contribute to their development and learning.

Key Points To consider when choosing childcare:

  • When you visit the childcare provider with your child, are you made to feel welcome.
  • Ask to view Ofsted registration certificate and last inspection report if applicable, a settings first inspection happen within 30 months of registering with OFSTED.
  • If children are there – are they happy, settled and busy?
  • Is the childminder or staff interacting effectively with the children?
  • Is there a wide range of resources and equipment?
  • Does the venue look safe and secure?
  • Is public liability insurance in place – (Legal requirement)
  • Ask about daily routine – does this involve visits into the community – shops, library etc.
  • Discuss any particular issues or concerns i.e. pets, allergies, medical needs.
  • Ask what emergency plans are in place?
  • Do the activities provided by the childcare provider take into account the children’s ages, cultural background and any special needs?
  • How many staff have first aid certificates?

For further information contact 0800 0858743

Useful Web links

Latest from Ofsted: https://www.gov.uk/government/latest?departments%5B%5D=ofsted

Funding: https://www.wirral.gov.uk/early-years-and-childcare

Ofsted Inspection reports – https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/

Foundation Years – https://www.foundationyears.org.uk/