The families information service provides free and impartial information on childcare and early education to meet your needs.

If you need help with finding childcare we will be happy to help you.

Finding good quality childcare can be quite daunting. Once you have received your list of childcare providers from the families information service, there are lots of things to look out for and remember to ask when you start visiting. How do you know if your child will be happy? How do they cater for your child's needs? Do they provide feedback about how your child is doing? What if my child doesn't like it?

See the five steps to choosing childcare guide form the Family and Childcare Trust for more information on making the right choice for your child.

Types of childcare

Select an option below to find out more about that type of childcare.

A childminder provides care for children in the childminder's home.

If a childminder looks after children aged up to eight, they have to register with Ofsted and meet standards on suitability, safety of premises, insurance, record keeping and meet the requirements of the early years foundation stage. The number of children under eight that can be cared for at one time is limited to six. A childminder cannot look after more than three children under five, of which only one can be under one year. These numbers may be increased if the childminder works with an assistant and / or another registered childminder. If a childminder looks after children aged over eight years they can choose to register on the childcare register.

Childminders are free to set their own hours. Some are registered with Ofsted to provide overnight or weekend care; others may only offer out-of-school care. For many, normal working hours are Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. Childminders set their own charges.

Funded childminders

Once childminders are registered with Ofsted, they can take funded two, three and four year old children. Childminders graded as 'inadequate' or 'requires improvement', cannot take funded two year olds unless there is a sufficiency need in their local area and they are working with the local authority to improve their practice. More information on funding can be found on the early education places and funding page.

Search for childminders

You can search for childminders using the childcare map. 

Find childminders

Not all childcare providers advertise online. For a list of childminders in North Yorkshire and any further help, please contact the families information service.

A range of early years providers offer full and part-time care for children under five. Some also offer out-of-school care for older children.

All early years providers provide opportunities for your child to develop their social skills and to make progress in all aspects of learning and development. This provision is made both indoors and outdoors.

In day nurseries and pre-schools, the manager must hold at least a full and relevant level 3 qualification and at least half of all other staff must hold at least full and relevant level 2 qualifications. The manager should have at least two years experience working in an early years setting, or have at least two years other suitable experience. The provider must ensure there is a named deputy who, in their judgement, is capable and qualified to take charge in the manager's absence.

At least one person who has a current paediatric first aid certificate must be on the premises and available at all times when children are present, and must accompany children on outings.

There must be one member of staff for every three children under the age of two, one for every four children aged two to three, and one for every eight children aged three to five.

All staff are checked and cleared by the disclosure and barring service to work with young children.

Day nurseries

Day nurseries must be registered with Ofsted. Most day nurseries are open all year, generally from 8am to 6pm on weekdays. Most day nurseries offer funded early education places for eligible two and all three and four year olds. More information on funding can be found on the early education places and funding page.

Pre-school

Pre-school offer Ofsted-registered sessional care for children aged two to five. Some groups offer term-time sessions. They can be run by a committee of community volunteers or may have links with schools.

Sessions can last between two and half and four hours. Some pre-schools open morning and afternoon every weekday; others offer sessions on specific days. Many pre-schools offer funded early education places for eligible two and all three and four year olds. More information on funding can be found on the early education places and funding page.

Search for day nurseries and pre-schools

You can search for day nurseries and pre-schools using the childcare map.

Find day nurseries and pre-schools

Not all childcare providers advertise online. For a list of day nurseries and pre-schools in North Yorkshire and any further help, please contact the families information service.

Out-of-school clubs open before and after school and sometimes in the school holiday to provide creative and safe play for school aged children.

All childcare provision for children aged eight or under which is open for more than two hours a day must be registered with Ofsted. If the out of school club provision is run directly by the school, it will come under the school's registration and does not need to be registered separately.

Out-of-school clubs

Out of school provision normally opens before and after the school day and in some instances they may operate for a full day during the school holidays. As well as providing a safe place for older children while their parents are at work, they offer constructive activities.

Holiday playschemes

Holiday playschemes provide childcare during school holidays, sometimes activity-based, sometimes more general, often running in a variety of venues.

Some operate as part of an out-of-school club. These are often open during Easter and summer holidays. Others operate only for certain weeks during school holidays. Few open during the Christmas holiday. Opening hours vary. Some, particularly activity-based schemes such as football coaching, operate for sessions rather than full days. Others will operate for full days, or for the equivalent of a normal school day. Where they cater for children under eight, there must be one member of staff to every four children. Staffing ratios for older children are one member of staff to eight children.

For details of out-of-school clubs and holiday playschemes in your area, contact the families information service helpline.

Search for out-of-school clubs and holiday playschemes

You can search for out-of-school clubs and holiday playschemes using the childcare map. 

Find out-of-school clubs and holiday playschemes

Not all childcare providers advertise online. For a list of out-of-school clubs and holiday playschemes in North Yorkshire and any further help, please contact the families information service.

Parent and toddler groups, or stay and play groups, offer a chance for parents and their young children to meet and socialise.

With parents present, children are able to make friends, play together and join in activities. As parents stay with their children, groups are not required to register with Ofsted. The groups are usually run by parents and / or volunteers and generally meet in community centres, village halls, church halls and children's centres, usually once a week for about two hours. Many operate only during school term time. There is usually a small charge, typically £1 to £2.50 per family, towards the costs of hall-hire, equipment and refreshments.

You can search for childcare groups using the community directory.

Launch our community directory

Crèches

Crèches offer convenient and safe care for children, generally for a short period, while their parents are doing something else on the same premises - shopping, attending a meeting or taking part in a course, for example.

Crèches do not usually need to register with Ofsted, although some do in order to offer care for longer periods. Staff will be subject to an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Crèches can be supplied by organisations running activities for adults, such as children's centres, leisure centres and colleges. Some companies provide crèche services for organisations running one-off activities, such as conferences.

Search for parent and toddler groups and crèches

You can search for parent and toddler groups and crèches using the childcare map. 

Find parent and toddler groups and crèches

Not all childcare providers advertise online. For a list of parent and toddler groups and crèches in North Yorkshire and any further help, please contact the families information service.

Independent schools can offer nursery provision catering for children from the age of three.

An independent school does not depend on national or local government for funding. It is financed by tuition fees, gifts and endowments. It is governed by an elected board of directors and inspected by the Independent Schools Inspection Service. It can also opt to be inspected by Ofsted.

Costs are usually per term and vary from school to school. Help may be available through scholarships and bursaries. Some nursery units in independent schools offer the three and four-year-old funded places.

Independent schools tend to offer an education that meets specific parental concerns and requirements. It is advisable to visit the school to see what is on offer in terms of academic tuition, pastoral care and extra-curricular activity.

Search for independent school nurseries

You can search for independent school nurseries using the childcare map. 

Find independent school nurseries

Not all childcare providers advertise online. For a list of independent school nurseries in North Yorkshire and any further help, please contact the families information service.

Maintained nurseries are funded by the government through the local authority.

They meet the requirements of the early years foundation stage for children aged between three and five. They can be nursery schools or nursery classes attached to an infant or primary school and are inspected by Ofsted. Places are often in great demand, and it is advisable for parents to register their child with the school well in advance of their third birthday.

Maintained nurseries employ qualified teaching staff. Where nursery classes are attached to infant or primary schools, a place in nursery is not a guarantee of an automatic place in the infant or primary school.

Maintained nurseries operate only in school term-time, opening between 9am and 3.30pm for full or half-day sessions. Some infant and primary schools also offer out-of-school care. Maintained schools cannot charge parents for education, but there may be a charge for out-of-school care.

For a list of maintained nursery schools and classes in your area and further help, contact the families information service helpline

A home childcarer, or nanny, is a person over 18 who cares for children in the parental home.

Home childcarers can register on the voluntary part of the Ofsted childcare register. Those who do will have had an enhanced disclosure and barring service check, hold paediatric first aid and basic childcare training. Parents employing an Ofsted-registered home childcarer may be able to claim the childcare element of Working Families Tax Credit.

The working hours are a matter for agreement between the childcarer and the employing parent. Some home childcarers will offer a "live-in" service, where the parent will provide accommodation in addition to a salary.

The service provided by a home childcarer or nanny is a matter of negotiation between the employing parent(s) and the childcarer. The parent may wish to know:

  • how much experience the carer has;
  • whether they are registered with Ofsted;
  • what relevant qualifications they have; and
  • what references they can provide.

There should be a contract to cover terms and conditions of employment.

Not all childcare providers advertise on the internet. To find out more about the services of home childcarers, and for a list of nanny agencies and any further help, contact the families information service helpline.

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