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Birmingham City Council

Childcare Information for Parents

Overview

We can provide a wide range of information relating to families with children, including:

  • detailed information and advice on child care
  • nursery funding for three and four year olds

There is a range of different types of child care available in Birmingham:

  • Child Minders
  • Day Nurseries
  • Pre-School Play Groups
  • Nursery Schools
  • Nursery Classes
  • Out-of-School Clubs
  • Holiday Play Schemes
  • Home Child Carer

If you would like us to provide a list of child care providers, or are struggling to find suitable child care, complete the online enquiry form telling us what type of child care you are interested in, the area the child care is required, whether you require nursery education funding information and any other relevant details.

OFSTED publishes its inspection reports on registered child care providers. You can get more details about these providers from these reports.

We provide 2 leaflets to help parents know what to look for and what to ask when choosing a child care provider. These leaflets are Making Good Child Care Arrangements and A Guide to Child Care in Birmingham. You can view or download these leaflets at the bottom of the page.

Essential Information
  • Child minders
    Child minders care for children in the child minder’s home, providing learning and play opportunities through a wide range of planned and free activities. Some child minders will take children to and from school.

    Child care tax credits: Parents can claim Child Care Tax Credits for child minders.

    Free part-time early learning: Accredited child minders can provide free 15 hours entitlement to Early Learning.

    Home child carers
    Home Child Carers are employed by the parent / carer to provide care for children in the parent’s home. They can choose to register with OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education) on the Voluntary Child Care Register.

    Home Child Carers cannot provide free 15 hours entitlement to Early Learning.

    Child care tax credits: Parents can only claim Child Care Tax Credits for Home Child Carers that are on the OFSTED Voluntary Register.

    Au pairs
    An au pair is usually a single young person who has come to the UK from another country to study English and, whilst staying with families, help in the home for a maximum of five hours a day. They must have at least two full days off each week and be provided with meals, an allowance and their own room.

    An au pair is more suitable for providing after-school child care.

    Nannies
    Nannies are employed by the parent / carer to look after children in the parent’s home. A nanny can also choose to register with OFSTED on the Voluntary Child Care Register as a home child carer.

    You can complete the online enquiry form to request a fact sheet listing the Nanny Agencies.

    Nannies cannot provide the free 15 hours entitlement to Early Learning.

    Child care tax credits: Parents can only claim Child Care Tax Credits for nannies who are on the OFSTED Voluntary Register.

    Baby sitters
    A Baby Sitter provides child care on an occasional basis or regular evenings. Baby Sitters are not regulated by any organisation. It is the parent’s responsibility to ensure they are leaving their child with a suitable person.

  • Nurseries
    Nurseries provide care and education for children from as young as six weeks up to five years, with some providing out of school care for school aged children up to eight years old. All nurseries must register with OFSTED.

    Child care tax credits: Parents can claim Child Care Tax Credits for child care provided by a nursery.

    Free two year old funding is only available to families that meet a certain criteria. For further details contact the Early Year and Child Care Service on 0121 303 0267.

    Free part-time early learning: Nurseries can provide free 15 hours entitlement to Early Learning.

    Nursery schools and classes
    Nursery schools and classes provide entitlement to Early Learning during term time only. Children can attend from the September after their third birthday.

    Free part-time early learning: Nursery schools and classes provide free 15 hours entitlement to Early Learning. Children attending a nursery school or class are not entitled to part-time learning at other child care settings.

    Pre-school play groups
    Pre-School Play Groups provide part-time care and education for children from two and a half to five years. Some will accept two year olds. Sessions vary from 2½ to 6 hours and are held mostly during term time only. Pre-School Play Groups must be registered with OFSTED.

    Child care tax credits: Parents can claim Child Care Tax Credits for child care provided by a Pre-School Play Group.

    Free part-time early learning: Pre-Schools can provide free 15 hours entitlement to Early Learning.

    Crèches
    Crèches provide occasional, usually sessional care for children under eight, while parents or carers take part in activities, e.g: at a gym, education or shopping. As long as the children stay for less than four hours and the parent / carer remains in the locality, the crèche does not have to register with OFSTED.

    Parents cannot claim Child Care Tax Credits for using a creche and crèches cannot provide free 15 hours entitlement to Early Learning.

    Parent and toddler groups
    Parent and toddler groups, also known as Stay and Plays, are groups that offer parents / carers the chance to socialise while their children play together. These groups do not need to register with OFSTED as the parents / carers stay with their children.

    Parents cannot claim Child Care Tax Credits for using a Parent and Toddler Group and Parent and toddler Groups cannot provide free 15 hours entitlement to Early Learning.

  • Out of school clubs
    Out of school clubs offer supervised play and care for school children outside of normal school hours.

    Out of school clubs can either be after school only, before school only or before and after school.

    Out of school clubs are OFSTED registered to take children up to the age of 8 but generally take children up to the age of 12 years.

    Clubs that only cater for children aged over 8 years can choose to register with OFSTED on the Voluntary Child Care Register. Clubs that are managed by the school are automatically registered under the school’s registration.

    Child care tax credits: Parents can claim Child Care Tax Credits for child care provided by a registered out of school club.

    Play centres
    Play Centres provide play opportunities for children aged 4 to 12 years after school and during school holidays. Most play centres are open access, which means that children are free to come and go as they please.

    Play centres usually run to 6.00 pm and some are open on Saturdays during term time. During school holidays the standard opening times are from 10.00 am – 4.00 pm.

    Child care tax credits: Parents can only claim Child Care Tax Credits for play centres that have registered with OFSTED to offer out of school care.

    Holiday schemes
    Holiday schemes offer care and play opportunities for children during school holidays. Holiday schemes usually run from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm but can often vary. Some schemes offer full day care (8.00 am to 6.00 pm) at an additional charge. Registration of holiday schemes varies depending on the age of the children, services offered and how long the scheme runs.

    Child care tax credits: Parents can only claim Child Care Tax Credits for holiday schemes that are registered with OFSTED

  • Child care providers will have a contract with the parent / carer which outlines the fees charged.

    There may also be an administrative / registration fee when your child starts and you should read the contract and check that it details what you are expected to pay before signing it.

    All registered child care providers must have a complaints policy. Most child care complaints are dealt with between the parent and the provider in this way.

    If this process has been followed and you are still concerned you may discuss the issue with the Early Years & Child Care Service on 0121 303 2605.

    OFSTED do not intervene in financial disputes with child care providers.

  • Children's Information and Advice Service (CIAS)
    0121 303 1888

    Child Tax Credit Helpline
    0845 300 3909




Frequently Asked Questions
    • It is advisable to employ a nanny who is registered on the voluntary part of the OFSTED Child Care Register (vOCR) in England. Nannies who choose to become registered have undergone relevant checks to ensure they are safe to work with children, will hold an appropriate first aid qualification and will have training in common core skills. In England, they will also hold a Public Liability Insurance certificate. For further information about the vOCR see OFSTED's website, www.ofsted.gov.uk.
    • A nursery school is a separate school that is only used by children under 5 years old. A nursery class is part of an existing primary school.
    • It is advisable to put your child’s name on the waiting list of the preferred nursery school / class before his or her 3rd birthday.

      For admission to a nursery school or nursery class you will need to contact the school / nursery class directly, who will tell you the criteria for a nursery place, provide you with an application form and information regarding the availability and allocation of places.

      Your child’s name should be on the waiting list no later than February before they are due to start nursery.

    • You will need to contact the nursery school or class directly regarding allocation of places.
    • If your child is not offered a place in your chosen nursery school or class, they usually keep a waiting list and will contact you should a place become available. If your child is refused a place in a nursery school or class appeals must be made directly to the school concerned.

      You may need to look for another place at an alternative nursery school or class or look at the option of using a voluntary or private provider e.g. day nurseries, pre-schools or an accredited childminder.