Childcare chooser charts

Choosing childcare can be hard. We've pulled together a comprehensive overview of the things you need to know to help you make a decision about the childcare that's right for you and your family at the moment. The information applies to children under 8 in England, and under 12 in Wales.

Home-based childcare in England

 

Registered childminder

Nanny

Au pair

Unregistered (e.g. grandparent)

Where is the care?

In the childminder's home.

In your home.

In your home.

In the carer's home or your home.

Is it registered and inspected?

Yes. By Ofsted in England.

It is against the law to care for children under 8 for payment or reward for more than two hours a day without being registered (or more than three hours if you are only looking after a friend's children).

Only if the nanny has chosen to register on the voluntary part of the Ofsted Childcare register.

Not usually.

No.

What training is required?

Those looking to register must be able to demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of how to implement the Early Years Foundation Stage. PACEY offers the Level 3 Award in Preparing to Work in Home Based Childcare which is the recognised pre-registration course.

Other training includes paediatric first aid, safeguarding and food hygiene.

In England, none is required if the nanny is not registered, but most trained nannies have at least a level 3 qualification.

Those nannies on the voluntary part of the Childcare Register must have a minimum of a level 2 childcare qualification and paediatric first aid.

None.

None.

Will the childcarer have an enhanced DBS check and first aid certificate?

Yes.

Yes, if the nanny is registered, or employed through an agency.

Not usually.

Only if you arrange these yourself.

What are the opening hours?

Many childminders work from 8am until 6pm, but some offer care outside these hours (including overnight and at weekends) if there is demand from local parents.

You'll decide! Normally 10-11 hours a day for a daily nanny and 11-12 for a live-in nanny. Sometimes a couple of evenings' babysitting too.

Up to 30 hours a week (or 35 hours for an 'au pair plus') including a couple of evenings' babysitting.

As arranged between you and your carer.

How many children may be cared for?

In England, a childminder can care for up to six children under 8. Of these no more than three can be under 5 and normally no more than one under 12 months.

A childminder can care for children over 8 but this must not have an adverse affect on the younger children.

Ratios are also dependant on the number of children the childminder has  of their own and their ages and the available space in the setting. 

Childminders employing assistants may care for more children.

No legal limit.

No legal limit, although an au pair shouldn't have sole charge of under-2s, and the Daycare Trust recommends so sole charge of under-4s.

No  limit.

How much will it cost?

Around £3.50 to £6.95 an hour, depending on where you live and whether meals, outings, nappies, etc. are included.

£20,000 to £40,000 a year for a full-time nanny (plus expenses, National Insurance & agency/payroll fees, pension), depending on area and whether nanny lives with you.

£70-£85 a week 'pocket money', or up to £110 for an 'au pair plus'. Board, expenses and fees mean the true cost is around double the weekly pay.

Sometimes provided free; sometimes charged at a similar rate to local childminders & nurseries.

Can I get help with payment, e.g. through vouchers, tax credits or the early year’s entitlement?

Yes.

Only if your nanny is registered on Ofsted's voluntary register

Not usually.

No.

Home-based childcare in Wales

 

Registered childminder

Nanny

Au pair

Unregistered (e.g. grandparent)

Where is the care?

In the childminder's home.

In your home.

In your home.

In the carer's home or your home.

Is it registered and inspected?

Yes. By CIW in Wales.

Any childminder caring for children under 12 for payment or reward for more than two hours a day must be registered with CIW.

Formal registration is not an option for nannies, however they can choose to join CIW’s Voluntary Approval Scheme

Not usually.

No.

What training is required?

In Wales, those looking to become a registered childminder must first attend a briefing session and complete the recognised pre-registration course ‘Understand how to set up a home based childcare service’. This is the CYPOP5 unit of the Level 3 Diploma in Children’s Care, Learning and Development (CCLD). Many childminders will hold, or be working towards,  a full level 3 qualification though this is not currently mandatory.

Other training includes paediatric first aid, safeguarding and food hygiene

In Wales, no training is legally required but most trained nannies have at least a level 3 qualification and those who are on the Voluntary Approval Scheme with CIW will have completed recognised units/training.

 

 

None.

None.

Will the childcarer have an enhanced DBS check and first aid certificate?

Yes.

Only if you arrange this yourself or the nanny is part of CIW’s Voluntary Approval Scheme

Only if you arrange these yourself.

Only if you arrange these yourself.

What are the opening hours?

Many childminders work from 8am until 6pm, but some offer care outside these hours (including overnight and at weekends) if there is demand from local parents.

You'll decide! Normally 10-11 hours a day for a daily nanny and 11-12 for a live-in nanny. Sometimes a couple of evenings' babysitting too.

Up to 30 hours a week (or 35 hours for an 'au pair plus') including a couple of evenings' babysitting.

As arranged between you and your carer.

How many children may be cared for?

In Wales, standard registration for childminders is for 10 children under 12, of which no more than six can be under 8. Of these six no more than three can be under 5. Of these three no more than two can be under 18 months.

The number of children a childminder will be registered for will take into account his/her own children. There may be flexibility for siblings. Children under 5 who attend school on a full time basis can be counted as an over-5 for ratio purposes.

No legal limit.

No legal limit.

No limit.

How much will it cost?

Around £3.50 to £6.95 an hour, depending on where you live and whether meals, outings, nappies, etc. are included. 

This may include free funded childcare of up to 12.5 hours a week provided term time for eligible children aged 2 depending on the individual setting and in a very small number of childminder settings may also include free funded education of up to 15 hours a week provided term time for eligible children aged 3 and 4.

£20,000 to £40,000 a year for a full-time nanny (plus expenses, National Insurance and agency/payroll fees, pension), depending on area and whether nanny lives with you.

£70-£85 a week 'pocket money', or up to £110 for an 'au pair plus'. Board, expenses and fees mean the true cost is around double the weekly pay.

Sometimes provided free; sometimes charged at a similar rate to local childminders & nurseries.

Can I get help with payment, e.g. through vouchers, tax credits or the early year’s entitlement?

Yes.

Only if your nanny is on the Voluntary Approval Scheme.

Not usually.

No.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group-based childcare in England

 

Daycare nursery

Preschool/playgroup

Out-of-school club

Is the care registered and inspected?

Yes.

Yes.

Yes, if caring for under-8s for more than two hours per day. 

What training is required?

The manager / person in charge must have a minimum of a relevant Level 3 qualification.

At least one member of staff must hold a full and relevant level 3 qualification and at least half all other staff must hold a full and relevant level 2 qualification.

Other training includes paediatric first aid, safeguarding and food hygiene.

The manager / person in charge must have a minimum of a relevant Level 3 qualification.

At least one member of staff must hold a full and relevant level 3 qualification and at least half all other staff must hold a full and relevant level 2 qualification.

Other training includes paediatric first aid, safeguarding and food hygiene.

It is up to the providers to determine what qualifications, if any the staff or manager should have.

Will staff have an enhanced DBS check and first aid certificate?

Yes.

Yes, if registered.

Yes, if registered.

What are the opening hours?

Usually 8am to 6pm, 50 or 51 weeks a year. Some nurseries may open earlier and close later if there is local demand.

Times vary from two to three 3 hours a day to a full day. Term time only.

8am to 6pm (excluding school hours) is usual. They can incude breakfast clubs, after school clubs and holiday clubs.

What is the ratio of adults to children?

1:3 for under-2s

1:4 for 2 year-olds

1:8 for children aged 3-7 years or 1:13 where a person with qualified teacher status, early years teacher status or early years professional status is working directly with children.

As for nurseries.

Where the provision is for children who normally attend reception class or older there must be sufficient staff as for a class of 30. It is for providers to determine how many staff are needed, bearing in mind the types of activity and ages and needs of children. 

How much will it cost?

Around £3.50 to £6.50 per child per hour, depending on where you live and what's included.

Up to 15 hours a week provided free during term time for children aged 3 & 4, & some aged 2.

Fees vary depending on who runs the club, what's provided and whether the care is subsidised.  This can be from free or low cost to rates in line with other forms of childcare.

Can I get help with payment, e.g. through vouchers, tax credits or the early year’s entitlement?

 

Yes.

 

Yes, if registered.

Yes, if registered (under 8s only)

 

Group-based childcare in Wales

 

Daycare nursery

Preschool/playgroup

Crèche

Out-of-school club

Is the care registered and inspected?

Yes.

Yes if operating for over two hours.

Yes, if the care is provided for under-12s for seven or more days in any calendar year.

Yes, if providing childcare for under-12s for more than two hours per day.

What training is required?

The manager / person in charge must have a minimum of a relevant Level 3 qualification.

At least 80% of the non-supervisory staff must have at least a relevant level 2 qualification. At least 50% of these must have a relevant level 3 qualification.

Other training includes paediatric first aid, safeguarding, food hygiene and playwork (as appropriate).

If it's a registered setting the manager / person in charge must have a minimum of a relevant Level 3 qualification.

At least 50% of the non-supervisory staff must have a relevant level 2 qualification with at least 50% having a relevant level 3 qualification.

Other training includes paediatric first aid, safeguarding, food hygiene and playwork (as appropriate).

If the setting is registered, the manager/person in charge must have a minimum of a relevant Level 3 qualification.

At least 50% of the non-supervisory staff must have a relevant level 2 qualification with at least 50% having a relevant level 3 qualification.

Other training includes paediatric first aid, food hygiene, safeguarding, and playwork (as appropriate).

 

If the setting is registered the manager/person in charge must have a minimum of a relevant Level 3 qualification.

At least 50% of the non-supervisory staff must have a relevant level 2 qualification with at least 50% having a relevant level 3 qualification.

Other training includes paediatric first aid, food hygiene, safeguarding, and playwork (as appropriate).

Will staff have an enhanced DBS check and first aid certificate?

Yes.

Yes, if registered.

Yes, if registered.

Yes, if registered.

What are the opening hours?

Usually 8am to 6pm, 50 or 51 weeks a year. Some nurseries may open earlier and close later if there is local demand.

Times vary from two to three hours a day to a full day. Term time only.

To fit in with the service the crèche is supporting (conference, gym, shopping centre, college, etc.,).

8am to 6pm (excluding school hours) is usual. They can incude breakfast clubs, after school clubs and holiday clubs.

What is the ratio of adults to children?

1:3 for under-2s, 1:4 for 2-year-olds, 1:8 for children aged 3-7 years, 1:10 for 8-11 year olds. 

For full daycare settings with 20+ children, the manager must be supernumerary and not included in ratio calculations.

As for nurseries.

As for nurseries.

As for nurseries.

How much will it cost?

Around £3.50 to £6.50 per child per hour, depending on where you live and what's included.

This may include free funded education of up to 15 hours a week provided during term time for eligible children aged 3 & 4, and some aged 2 depending on the individual setting.

Around £3.50 to £6.50 per child per hour, depending on where you live and what's included.

This may include free funded education of up to 15 hours a week provided during term time for eligible children aged 3 & 4, and some aged 2 depending on the individual setting.

Fees vary depending on who runs the crèche and whether the care is subsidised.  This can be from free or low cost to rates in line with other forms of childcare.

Fees vary depending on who runs the club, what's provided and whether the care is subsidised.  This can be from free or low cost to rates in line with other forms of childcare.

Can I get help with payment, e.g. through vouchers, tax credits or the early year’s entitlement?

Yes.

Yes, if registered.

Yes, if registered.

Yes, if registered.