Childcare - information for parents

Renew your code!

If you are in receipt of the Extended Entitlement Childcare Offer for 3 and 4 year olds, then please check the dates on your letter. This year's summer term is late.

You need to make sure your start date is before 31 March and your end date is after 29 April.

If not, then you need to renew the code at Childcare Choices or by calling 0300 1234 097.


How can I get help to find childcare near me?

Our Families Information Service provides free, impartial and confidential information. Families Information Service can help you with finding:

  • 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
  • before and after school childcare - you can search our childcare directory. 

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.
  • 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.
  • Take your child with you to see how they react to the staff and surroundings.
  • Why not visit the Childcare Choices website to find out what help may be available for paying for the childcare.

The video below is helpful in finding out what to ask childcare providers.

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. 

Settling in

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 questions should I ask when visiting a childcare provider?

Ask yourself:

  • 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.

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.

Translations of the Family Information Services

Family Information Services Leaflet in Arabic

Family Information Services in Czech

Family Information Services in Latvian

Family Information Services in Polish

Family Information Services Leaflet in Punjabi

Family Information Services in Russian

Family Information Services in Slovak

Family Information Services in Urdu

Unhappy with the childcare?

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.


Contact details

Post address:
Families Information Service
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street
Phone: 01332 640758
Families Information Service
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street