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Childcare and Early Education

The Family Information Service provides information, advice and guidance about the full range of childcare options to suit you, your family and your work pattern. It holds a database of registered and non-registered providers, including childminders, nurseries, pre-schools, out of school clubs and holiday play schemes in the local area. This information is sent to it by Ofsted and updated regularly to ensure that it is accurate and up to date. It also provides a brokerage service for parents who are finding it difficult to find childcare that meets their needs.

A head start for children

High quality childcare and early education give children a head start in primary school. Research shows that it improves their educational, emotional and social development.

Children with experience of good quality childcare and early education do better in Key Stage 1 (KS1) national assessments in English and mathematics at age seven.

Children who attend a good quality setting are more likely to be more independent, better able to concentrate and more sociable at the start of primary school.

The benefits of part-time attendance are just as good as full-time attendance.

All three and four-year-olds are entitled to a free part-time early education place. This means that each week your child will be provided with 15 hours of free early education. Some two-year-olds are eligible for free early education of 15 hours per week. 

Benefits for parents

There are lots of different, good quality childcare arrangements on offer which you can mix and match to suit your daily schedule, working hours, study or training. You can use the free early education places available for three and four-year-olds to take a break, even if you are not working or training.

Who provides childcare?

Childcare decisions can seem daunting and expensive. Even if you are not yet ready to leave your child in childcare, it makes sense to start thinking about it now. There are so many different kinds of family, each with different needs and demands on their time and income. These pages will help you to work out which is the best arrangement for you.

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