Day nurseries

What is a day nursery?

Day nurseries provide care and education for children who are under school age, providing opportunities to play and learn with other children, often whilst their parents work or study.

What are the opening hours?

Most day nurseries tend to fit in with an average working day of 8am to 6pm, and care is usually provided all year round. Some day nurseries are beginning to offer more flexible hours in the evenings or weekends. Others may also provide before and after school care and school holiday care for school age children. However, you will need to check with the individual nursery for flexible opening hours and details of holiday closures such as bank holidays.

How much do day nurseries charge?

The rates vary, but most day nurseries cost from £25 to £50 per day. Some children will be able to claim the Nursery Education Fund (see below) which will pay for part of the costs. Parents claiming Working Tax Credit may be able to get up to 70% of their childcare costs paid. The fee will be agreed between you and the nursery. Remember to check what is included in the overall cost and agree before signing the contract.

Will the nursery be inspected?

Day nurseries must be registered with Ofsted. The childcare inspector will check that all the National Standards have been met. Following registration, Ofsted will inspect the nursery every three years. All inspection reports are available to parents on the Ofsted website.

Are there different types of day nurseries?

There are different kinds of nurseries. Some are private businesses. Others are community nurseries, run by not-for-profit organisations, and often partly funded by grants. Others are connected with particular organisations, such as colleges, universities or workplace nurseries.

Will my child be eligible for the Nursery Education Fund?

Day nurseries can also be registered as providers of early years education and are then eligible to receive the Nursery Education Fund for 3 and 4 year olds. Ask the nursery if they are registered to receive the Nursery Education Fund.

What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?

Schools and early years providers have to follow a structure of learning, development and care for children from birth to five years old. This is called the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and it enables your child to learn through a range of activities. All maintained/independent schools or registered early years providers in the private, voluntary and independent sectors caring for children from birth to five must use the EYFS. The EYFS ensures:

  • Children learn through play 
  • Providers work closely with parents 
  • You are kept up to date on your child’s progress 
  • The welfare, learning and all-round development of children with different backgrounds and levels of ability, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.

Are nurseries quality assured?

Childcare providers are encouraged to work towards an accredited Quality Assurance Award Scheme, allowing them to demonstrate a commitment to high quality childcare and continuous improvement. Local childcare providers are working towards a variety of Assurance Award Schemes, including:

  • Quality Counts (National Day Nurseries Association) 
  • The Effective Early Learning Programme (University College Worcester) 
  • Aiming for Quality (Pre-school Learning Alliance) 
  • Aiming High (Kids Clubs Network)

Some points to consider:

  • Visit the nursery with your child. 
  • Are you and your child welcomed? 
  • Is the environment bright and inviting? 
  • Do the premises and resources appear clean, well kept and safe? 
  • Are the children happy, confident and having fun? 
  • Is there plenty of room to move around, both inside and outside? 
  • Do the toys, books, equipment, activities, displays and staff show a positive attitude to children of both sexes and of all races, religions, cultures, and disabilities? 
  • A good nursery will offer a range of activities, including opportunities for social play (sharing, co-operation and taking turns), creative play (making models, painting, drawings, dance and music), physical play (climbing, making dens), imaginative play (dressing up, role play, pretending), exploratory play (discovering and investigating) and activities which promote the development of speaking, listening, mark-making, early reading and early mathematical skills. 
  • Do the adults and children communicate effectively? 
  • Do boys and girls have equal access to all types of play? 
  • Are you encouraged to settle in your child? 
  • Are you provided with any information about the services and policies? 
  • Will you be consulted on your child's welfare and development? 
  • Are the children prevented from leaving the premises undetected, are gates and fences kept secure? 
  • Do staff know how to reach you in an emergency? 
  • Do staff carry out regular fire drills and have their fire equipment maintained? 
  • Has the person showing you around answered your questions confidently? 
  • Take your time before you decide where to place your child, visit several nurseries several times if necessary.

How do I find a nursery?

You can search for nurseries in your area using the search page on this website.

Or you can contact the Bradford Families Information Service for a list of registered day nurseries closest to your home.

What if my child has Additional Needs?

Bradford Families Information Service can provide information on local support groups, activities and specialist services for your child.

If I have any concerns or worries what do I do?

Try to discuss any difficulties with the nursery as soon as they arise and work out a solution. There should be a complaints procedure which you could follow. For registered provision, if you are unable to resolve your difficulties and they relate to the quality of care being provided, you can contact Ofsted Complaints Line on 0845 601 4772.

Useful contacts

For information about registration and inspection of childcare settings
0845 601 4771

For more information about Working Tax Credits
Tax Credit Helpline: 0845 300 3900
Textphone: 0845 606 6668