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Childcare & Family Support

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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

Funded Childcare places for 2 years olds

Warrington Borough Council is able to fund a limited number of children to attend nursery for 15 hours per week, term time only.

What is it?

The two year old Early Education entitlement is a new initiative by the government.  It means that nursery places are available to a limited number of two year old children from the first day of the new term following their second birthday.

When is my child entitled to a funded place

If your childs 2nd birthday falls between: He/She will become entitled to a free place from:
1 January - 31 March 1st April
1 April - 31 August 1st September
1 September - 31 December 1st January

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

The provider must be registered with Warrington Borough Council - please see the link for the providers who are registered to deliver the funding.

Who can get a place?

Children may be eligible for 15 hours per week of early years education from the term after their second birthday.  Not every child is entitled to receive a funded place. You will need to meet one or more of the following criteria for your child to be eligible for a free place.

    • Income Support
    • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
    • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
    • Universal Credit - if you and your partner have a combined income from work of less than £15,400 a year after tax
    • tax credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax
    • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
    • support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
    • the Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

    A child may also get free early education and childcare if any of the following apply:

    • they’re looked after by a local council
    • they have a current statement of special education needs (SEN) or an education, health and care (EHC) plan
    • they get Disability Living Allowance
    • they’ve left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order
    left care through special guardianship or an adoption or residence order.

Children are also eligible if they or their family are receiving support or services from Children’s Targeted Service social work teams.

Additional criteria

  • Children are also eligible if they or their family are receiving support or services from children's targeted services social work teams
  • A professional who is working with a family can also nominate a child who requires additional support with their development in areas including speech and language, behavioural/emotional issues, development delay or physical development.

What the two year funding offer covers

Up to 15 hours per week early years education up to a maximum entitlement of 570 hours over a year, at a provision registered to deliver two year funding with Warrington Borough Council.

How to apply

To see if you’re eligible for two year old funding please follow the steps below:

  • You will need to visit Click on the ‘register’ button and enter all of the required information.
  • It will then notify you of the decision; a red cross indicates that you aren’t entitled to funding at this time and a green tick will indicate that you are entitled.
  • If you are entitled you should receive a code that starts with ‘TYFF877’.
  • It’s important that you keep a record of this code, as it is proof of your entitlement to funding and you will need to quote/show this code to your chosen setting.
  • Contact the childcare provider of your choice to arrange a visit.
  • You will need to take a copy of the e-mail from the Citizen Portal which contains your reference code starting with ‘TYFF877’ to the childcare provider as confirmation that a funded place has been offered to your child. In addition, a copy of your child’s birth certificate will also be required for identification as well as a letter as proof of address.

If you have been declined, please be aware that you are able to re-apply at any time via the Citizen Portal on the above link should your circumstances change in the future. Please contact us on 01925 443131 if you require any assistance or further information

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.

Early Years Strategy 2017 - 2020

This Early Years Strategy 2017-2020 continues the work achieved in the previous strategy (2014-17). It is an overarching strategy that encompasses Warrington’s statutory duties under the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Childcare Act 2006. It champions the vision for improving outcomes for our youngest children.

For the full report please click here


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