- Day nurseries - Often nurseries offer provision suitable to full time working parents across the hours of 7am-7pm. Your child will be cared for within a group of other children.
- Preschools - similar to day nurseries however with more limited hours. Preschools will often offer morning or afternoon sessions and conform to school hours (9-3pm). Many primary schools now have preschools attached to them, so be sure to check your local school.
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- Employing a nanny - This is someone who is employed to care for your child within your home. You might consider looking into private nanny agencies or using childcare websites.
- Childminders - A person who works from their own home where your child would be cared for. Childminders often care for a small group of children at the same time.
Funding opportunities for childcare (ages 2 - 5)
Funding for 2 year olds
Your 2 year old can get 570 hours free early education a year from the term after they turn 2, if they:
- have an education, health and care plan
- get disability living allowance.
Read the full criteria
Free childcare for 3 - 4 year olds
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15 hours free early education for all 3 and 4 year olds
All 3 and 4 year olds can get 15 hours free early education (570 hours per year). You can use these from the term after your child turns 3.
Use your 15 free hours with a school nursery, childminder, day nursery or pre-school. Contact them about place availability and when your child can start.
30 hours free childcare for some 3 and 4 year olds
Some 3 and 4 year olds can get an extra 15 hours childcare. This is known as 30 hours free childcare. If your child is aged 3 - 4 years old, you may be eligible for 30 hours free childcare funding if you (and your partner, if you have one) are:
- in work
- on sick leave or annual leave
- on parental, maternity paternity or adoption leave
If you’re on parental leave, you cannot apply for the child you’re on leave for.
If you are not currently working
You may still be eligible if your partner is working, and you get one of the following:
- Incapacity Benefit
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance.
Read more about 30 hours childcare on gov.uk
You can only use your free hours with a registered childcare provider, and the free hours stop when your child starts reception class, meaning that 30 hours childcare can't be used to pay for wraparound care.
Some childminders or nannies that are registered childcare providers will accept free childcare hours, however, not all of them will. Keep this in mind when looking for a suitable childcare provider.
You might be able to get other help with paying for childcare, such as tax credits or support if you are studying. Read more about help paying for childcare.
For children of school age who attend school full time, you may want some hours of childcare before and after the school day, to enable you to work and give you time to commute. This is called wraparound care.
Many primary schools will have their own breakfast and afterschool clubs that are run on the school premises. Check your school's website for more information.
It’s important to consider that some schools may not be able to offer what you need depending on your child’s special education needs or disability. You may need to look further than your child’s school or at different options.
Wraparound care can also be provided by some nannies who are willing to work part-time hours, or childminders in your local area. Keep in mind that some childminders and nannies only serve specific schools, and may not be willing to travel too far.
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For children and young people of any age, you may occasionally want someone who can care for your child for an evening or a day.
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- You can hire a personal assistant or nanny for your child, from providers like Snap Care, who specialise in working with children with additional needs.
- Find a childminder who can stay with your child in your own home. The Hertfordshire Directory has information on lots of local childminders, and the option to search for childcare providers who will work with children with additional needs. All providers on the Directory are Ofsted registered.
Choosing the right provider
Whatever childcare option you choose however it's important to check whether they are a registered childcare provider, hold up to date Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) certificates, and have the appropriate first aid skills and accreditation.
- Always ask to see their Disclosure and Disbarring Certificate (DBS) and take a copy of this for your records.
- We always recommend visiting the childcare provider, to see how the staff interact with children.
- Ask the provider for an Ofsted report, if available. Ofsted inspects providers regularly to make sure every staff member is suitable to work with children.
- When you visit, you may want to ask about:
- if your child has a physical need, that the building has the right facilities for their need
- are staff trained to work with children with their particular learning needs
- settling in periods
- daily routine
- fee payment arrangements
- staff turnover
- communication between parents and staff
- contents of any contract that's been signed.
Email email@example.com if you have any queries.
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Short breaks offer disabled children and young people the chance to spend time out with others socialising and doing fun activities, giving their families a break and providing them with the confidence their child is well supported by a trained worker.
You can get up to 40 hours of activities, if your child:
- is aged between 5 - 19
- receives a middle or higher rate disability living allowance (DLA) or personal independence payment (PIP)
- has a letter from your GP, your school’s special educational needs co-coordinator or another professional, confirming that your need means you require access to targeted services for disabled children and young people.
Go to our Short Breaks information.