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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
Or you can contact the Bradford Families Information Service for a list of registered day nurseries closest to your home.
Bradford Families Information Service can provide information on local support groups, activities and specialist services for your child.
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.
0845 601 4771
Tax Credit Helpline: 0845 300 3900
Textphone: 0845 606 6668