How can I get help to find childcare near me?
Our Families Information Service provides free, impartial and confidential information. Use this service to find out about:
- childcare providers located close to where you live or work
- free childcare and early education places – following their third birthday, children are entitled to 15 hours’ free early learning a week. From September 2017 this will be increased up to 30 hours find out how the extended childcare offer will work by viewing our flyer listed in green below.
- eligible two year olds can take up their free childcare the term after their second birthday
- things to do – leisure activities for the whole family
- people to talk to – when you need support with family issues or are unhappy with your childcare provider.
- Out of school childcare - there is a legal duty on local authorities to ensure there is sufficient childcare, you can always search our childcare directory.
Supporting your Child’s Early Years Learning
Parents are key to children’s learning and development when preparing them for school. Literacy in the early years should be developed as early as possible, giving them the best start in life. You can explore a range of resources that will help you develop children’s skills.
What are the different types of childcare available?
The different types of childcare available in Derby include:
- childminders – who care for children from birth onwards, looking after them in their own home
- crèches – which usually care for children from birth to five years and are generally provided for parents attending courses or sports activities
- day nurseries – which usually care for children from birth to five years between 8.00am and 6.00pm each weekday. Some provide care before and after school and in the school holidays
- homecarers – who come to the child's home and are employed by the family
- pre-school playgroups – who care for children aged two and a half to five years old. Most pre-school playgroups offer part-time places with either morning or afternoon sessions and only run during term time.
- out of school care – such as before-school and after-school clubs and school holiday schemes.
The government's directgov website has more information on these different types of childcare. You can also visit this website to find out what help may be available with paying for childcare.
Help with choosing childcare
Most childcare providers are registered by Ofsted. Childminders and childcare staff have to be checked before they work with children and this includes completing a Disclosure and Barring Service check. Staff must hold suitable qualifications to care for children. Ofsted approves all childcare and inspects it.
Here are some ways to help you decide on a childcare provider...
- Research your options – contact the Families Information Service for help
- Chat to other parents about the childcare they use and how well it is working for them
- Visit a couple of childcare providers so you can compare what they are offering
- Take a list of questions with you when you visit the childcare provider and don’t be afraid to ask them
- Find out if your provider is registered with Ofsted and whether they have been inspected recently
- Think about what suits your child best; where they would learn and have fun
- Take your child with you to see how they react to the staff and surroundings
The Family and Childcare Trust have made a short video that might help you recognise the sort of things to look for.
What questions should I ask when visiting a childcare provider?
- is the atmosphere friendly?
- is it clean and well organised?
- are the staff meeting the children's needs and are the children talking and playing happily together?
Ask the manager...
- will there be a 'key person' - someone to watch your child's development and share ideas with you?
- what snacks and food are served? Is it a balanced healthy diet?
- about their approach to safety - how do they review safety and what equipment do they have to make sure your child is safe?
What should I do after I have chosen my childcare provider?
Once you have chosen your childcare provider make sure you ask them for a written contract clearly explaining what they will provide, what you need to provide and what the cost will be.
What if I cannot find a suitable childcare provider?
It is not always easy to find the right childcare provider for your child. Sometimes children have additional needs that require particular care, or parents work unusual working hours therefore childcare is needed outside of usual school hours. That is where our Brokerage service can help. Within the Families Information Team we have members of staff who can work individually with parents to help them find childcare when they are finding it difficult. If you feel that you need help in finding childcare, call us today on 01332 640758 or complete the below form.
You may also want to visit www.childcarechoices.gov.uk. This government webpage outlines a range of funding options which you may be entitled to. It also allows parents to sign up for updates and notifications on tax free childcare as well as other government childcare cost schemes.
Advice for settling your child into childcare
Stay with your child on their first visit. Then, if you can, start by leaving them for half an hour and build up to longer periods...
- Even when you are there, let the childminder or key worker take charge so your child gets used to them.
- When you leave, reassure your child that you will be coming back and then say goodbye rather than slipping away or looking sad - go with a smile and a wave.
- With older children, tell them when you will be back.
- Let your child take a special toy or blanket so they feel more comfortable.
- Always be happy about the day ahead: your child will pick up on your mood.
- It is usual to feel nervous, however, remember that babies and young children are never confused about who their parents are, and outside influences can be very positive.
What do I do if I am unhappy about the childcare provider I am using?
Occasionally, parents are not happy with the care their child receives from a childcare provider. If you are in this situation then you need to arrange a meeting to talk about your worries with the nursery staff or manager. As a parent you can assess the quality of childcare too.
If you are not happy with the staff's response then you need to write to your childcare provider giving as much information on your worries as possible. They will have a complaints procedure which they must share with you and this will set out the timescale in which they must respond to you.
If you are still unhappy with the response then you can contact Ofsted on 0300 123 1231. They may investigate your worries if they consider that the childcare provider is not providing good quality care.
The Families Information Service is able to offer support and guidance to parents that have concerns about their childcare provider.