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Looking for Childcare?

Think ahead

Many parents are lucky enough to find suitable childcare as soon as they need it, but it may take several months of searching to find somewhere that accommodates both your own and your child's needs.

Think about what you want and need from childcare and what kind of childcare would best suit your needs. For example, do you need childcare close to where you live or work? Do you need childcare early in the mornings or in the evening? Will you need additional childcare for school-age children around the school day and during school holidays?

Talk to other parents

Other parents' experiences of a childcare provider can be very useful. Remember, however, what works for one family may not be quite right for you!  And, although personal recommendations are helpful, you should also, always, take up references.

Community noticeboards

You may find details of local childcare providers on noticeboards at local schools, community centres, libraries, cafes and online. Always remember to check references!

Online forums

The Good Care Guide helps parents get impartial advice. It allows people in the UK to find, rate and review childcare and eldercare providers in their area – from the quality of staff to facilities, surroundings and value for money.

How to get help with costs

When considering your childcare options, remember that you may be able to get some financial assistance with paying for it. If you are a working parent you may get help through Working Tax Credit or employer-supported childcare, or if you are studying, there may be help available from Student Finance or your college or training provider.

Don't miss out on free childcare!


If your child is three or four years old, they can get 15 hours of free childcare and early learning for 38 weeks of the year in England. Some two-year-olds can also get free childcare and early learning, depending on their circumstances. 

Three year olds can take up a place the school term following their third birthday.

Child’s birthday

When you can claim

1 January to 31 March

the beginning of term on or after 1 April

1 April to 31 August

the beginning of term on or after 1 September

1 September to 31 December

the beginning of term on or after 1 January

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