The different types of childcare available in Derby include: 

  • Childminders – who care for children from birth onwards, looking after them in their own home and offer an all year round service
  • 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 8am and 6pm each weekday and are open all year round. Some provide care before and after school and in the school holidays
  • Home carers/Nannies – who come to the child's home and are employed by the family
  • Pre-school playgroups – which mainly care for children aged two to five years old. Some pre-school playgroups offer part-time places with either morning or afternoon sessions, and other offer longer sessions such as 9.00am to 3.00pm. Pre-schools playgroups 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.

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?

View information about how Ofsted regulates childcare providers. It sets out how you might like to use the information available to you when choosing childcare and what to do if you have a concern about your provider.

The government has issued a Keeping Children Safe guide for parent carers to help them choose out-of-school settings for their children. An out-of-school setting can mean many things, from places like community and youth centres, sports clubs or providing one to one coaching at a playing field or local park as well as childcare.

The Keeping Children Safe guide contains:

  • questions you may wish to ask a provider
  • examples of the types of good answers you should expect to hear back, and
  • ‘red flags’ (danger signs) you may wish to look out for when choosing a provider.

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

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

You may be entitled to receive these NI credits if you are a grandparent, or other family member, who cares for a child under 12, usually whilst their parent (or main carer) is working. These are called Specified Adult Childcare credits.

As a parent who gets Child Benefit for a child under 12, you automatically get NI credits towards your state pension. You no longer need the NI credits when you return to work. You can choose to transfer the credits to a grandparent or another relative who's caring for your child.

To claim Specified Adult Childcare credits you must be:

  • a grandparent or other family member caring for a child under 12
  • under state pension age
  • living in the UK

The parent or main carer of the child you're caring for must:

  • be entitled to Child Benefit
  • have a qualifying NI year
  • agree to your application

Find out more about eligibility and how to apply on GOV.UK