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Childcare & Family Support

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Choosing high quality childcare affects every member of the family – adults as well as children.  Daily routines have to be planned around childcare, and your budget has to allow for paying any fees, transportation and other costs.  Above all you have to adjust to sharing the care of your child with other people who will have their own ideas about good behaviour and the best way to look after young children.

The Warrington Families Information Service provides information on all types of Ofsted registered childcare in Warrington. Playgroups, day nurseries, childminders, private nursery schools and privately-run out of school clubs for children under eight must be registered with Ofsted to confirm that they meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. They are then inspected on an ongoing basis. 

You may want to look for childcare quite early on as some providers have waiting lists and you need plenty of time to find the best setting for you and your family. 

We also have a family advisor who can support families who may be finding it difficult accessing suitable childcare to meet their needs or the needs of their children.  Please contact us on 01925 443131 or

Types of childcare

Regulated by Ofsted:

Not regulated by Ofsted:

  • Nannies
  • Au pairs
  • Babysitters

Things to consider when choosing childcare

To help you choose childcare, visit with your child while the other children are there.  Think about what's important to you and your child, this list may help you:

  • Are you made welcome?
  • Are the children happy, settled and busy, and do they appear to be enjoying the activities?
  • Are staff talking and listening to children and answering them carefully and sensitively?
  • Are staff friendly and proud of their work?
  • Do staff make sure that the children are playing safely?
  • Are staff joining in with what the children are doing?
  • Are there plenty of clean toys, books and equipment for the children to use?
  • Are the play activities child-led?
  • Do the activities take into account the children’s ages, cultural background and any special needs?
  • Are the premises, toys and equipment clean, well kept, secure and safe for children?
  • Are there lots of fun activities planned to help children learn and play?
  • Are the children’s achievements celebrated through sensitive displays of their work?
  • Are all children valued and respected?
  • Do children have access to outdoor play?
  • Where relevant, is information available about the Early Years Foundation Stage?
  • Are you provided with any information about services and policies, e.g. fire drills, medical emergencies? Find out how many staff are qualified in first aid, and how they would contact you in an emergency.
  • If it's a childminder, do they have public liability insurance?  Discuss any particular concerns such as pets and allergies.  Ask how they ensure all the children in their care are treated equally. 
  • If your child is young and needs a rest during the day, ask where the sleeping area is and at what times the children sleep.
  • Ask if they provide snacks and drinks and are meals healthy and balanced.
  • Ask for contact details of other parents whose children are, or have been, at the setting so that you can follow up any references.
  • Do parents have plenty of chances to say what they want for their children? Are you encouraged to share your knowledge of your child with the staff?
  • What are the procedures for a mutual sharing of information about your child?

Imagine how it would feel if you were your child.  Go more than once if you’re not sure.  You should feel comfortable about your decision.  Remember, you know your child best.

And make sure they are registered - Ask to see their Ofsted registration and inspection certificate.

If you are looking for childcare for your child who has additional needs or disabilities, download the inclusion checklist.  You can save this to your phone or print it off and take it with you to any childcare settings you visit.

Information for childcare providers

If you're a childcare provider, take a look at the information for providers section.

2 year old Funded Early Education

Two year old funded childcare places are available to a limited number of two year old children from the first day of the new term following their second birthday.

The child would receive up to 15 hours early education per week at a private nursery, pre-school, maintained nursery school/class or accredited childminder in Warrington.

To check your eligibilty to the 2yr funding, please click on this link

Certain criteria does apply and at the moment the Universal Credit eligibility criteria for the two-year-old offer and EYPP are currently subject to consultation.  For further information please contact the Families Information Service on 01925 443131 or your registered childcare provider.

For a full list of providers approved to deliver the 2yr funding please click on the following link - Approved providers 

3 & 4 year old Funded Early Education

3 & 4 year old Funded Early Education

Three and four year olds are entitled to 15 hours of early education over a minimum of 38 weeks to a maximum of 570 hours over a year. This applies until they reach compulsory school age (the term following their fifth birthday).

This funding is payable to all 3 and 4 year old children regardless of parental income, from the term after the child’s third birthday.

When to apply

Child born between

Can receive the funded hours from

1 September 2014 to 31 December 2014

January 2018 (spring)

1 January 2015 to 31 March 2015

April 2018 (summer)

1 April 2015 to August 2015

September 2018 (autumn)

To access this funding your childcare provider must be registered to deliver the early year’s education.

The Funded places can be accessed at nursery classes/schools, private nurseries, playgroups, preschools or with an accredited childminder. The level of flexibility that is offered will depend on a provider's individual circumstances.

 The following conditions apply:-

  • 15 hour entitlement over a minimum of two days
  • A minimum of 2.5 hours and a maximum of 10 hours can be accessed in any 1 day
  • A maximum of two providers at any one time
  • Cannot be accessed before 7 am or after 7 pm
  • Sessions accessed in no less than half hour blocks

 30 hours Extended Entitlement for 3 & 4 year olds

From September 2017 it is expected that the majority of working parents of three and four year olds will be eligible for an additional 15 hours of childcare per week. You may have seen or heard it referred to as 30 hours free childcare.

The eligibility criteria are as follows;

  •  Both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family) and each parent earns a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national living wage, and less than £100,000 per year.

Working will include employed and self-employed people. Parents do not necessarily have to actually work 16 hours a week, but their earnings must reflect at least 16 hours of work at the national living wage. This includes parents on zero contract hours who meet the criteria

  • Both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave
    • Both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay
    • One parent is employed and the other parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring
    • One parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits.

You can find further information and advice on th new Childcare Choices website here Childcare Choices brings together all the government childcare offers in one place for the first time. The new Childcare Choices website makes it easy to find out what’s on offer. 

Use the Childcare Calculator at to see what offers are available to support you and your family.

To find out more about the new and existing offers, and how they can help you, go to the Childcare Choices website today at

If you are still having problems finding out your eligibility, you can contact Childcare Service Customer Interaction Service on 0300 123 4097.

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