Childcare for School age Children

Childcare for school age children

When considering childcare options for school age children, takes the hassle out of searching, whether you’re looking for a nursery that offers before and after school clubs or a childcare provider such as a childminder or nanny offering more flexible hours to tie in with the demands of your job or family life, take a few moments to register your needs, creating a profile that childcare providers can view. The process is quick and simple, childcare providers who are actively seeking children to care for will contact you and you too can get in touch with providers who meet your criteria. The process couldn’t be easier.

What you need to know

Before you start, there are two types of childcare you will be considering. Registered and unregistered. Childcare provided in England is regulated and inspected by OFSTED. If you are looking for registered childcare, then there will be a further three categories under which registration is recorded. Only registered childcare is eligible for help towards costs.

1. The Early Years Register or EYS, provides registration for providers who care for children under five years of age and up until the 31st of August following their fifth birthday.

2. The Compulsory Ofsted Register or OCR, provides registration for childcare providers who offer care for children age five to seven inclusive, unless they are exempt from registration (for example coaching clubs offering language, chess, football etc… some holiday clubs and others in some circumstances).

3. The Voluntary Ofsted Register or vOCR, provides registration for childcare providers such as nannies or in-home childcare providers, care for children aged over eight and activity based care for children of any age.

If you choose to use a registered form of childcare, you may then be able to apply for help towards the cost of childcare. This may be in the form of childcare vouchers or free entitlement such as the current nursery school grant allowing all children fifteen hours free nursery care (and some childminders who are registered providers) for three and four year olds.

Care provided by friends and family

You may decide to take advantage of help offered to you by friends and family, many families do this in conjunction with the use of registered childcare. Grandparents, aunties, uncles, neighbours and close friends can give you peace of mind and come to the rescue in difficult childcare situations.

Keep in mind that if your family member is a registered childcare provider, you cannot apply for funding to pay them unless they are registered and caring for other children in addition to yours, in addition to this, the care cannot be provided in your home.


Childminders are self-employed childcare providers who look after children within their own homes. This means that in many cases, the care can be flexible, tailored to your needs and a contract will be drawn up to cater to your requirements and agreed in advance by both parties. If your children are under eight years old, your childminder will need to be registered with OFSTED.

Childminders usually work with small groups of children, meaning flexibility and smaller ratios meaning more individual care for your child. Childminders can often accommodate siblings and drop offs and collections by arrangement, if they decide to hire an assistant, they will be able to accommodate more children and have greater flexibility in terms of care, activities, ratios and so on.

registration requirements. Your childminder will have a report about the care they provide and this can be seen at the setting and also by doing an online search for your childminder through the OFSTED website.

Childminders usually charge an hourly rate with many offering sibling discounts as an incentive. Rates may be negotiable depending on circumstances however, most will indicate the rate that they expect to charge. Rates vary across the country so using a search platform such as will give you the opportunity to compare rates locally and search for childminders who have available spaces. Be sure to discuss all aspects of the agreement such as rates, hours, holiday pay, and sickness/absence on your part and the childminders own leave, ensuring that these agreements are noted in the contract.


Nannies can be a very cost effective and hassle free option when considering your childcare needs. A nanny will either work on a live-in or daily basis and may also be able to offer more flexibility such as long hours with the care provided in your own home, before and after school. After school activities and outings are taken care of if you need a nanny who drives and you will also have peace of mind through the half terms and summer holidays as your childcare needs will be taken care of as usual with some nannies happy to provide wrap around care during school holidays.

Nannies are employed directly by parents to look after their children at home. Nannies do not necessarily have to be qualified, experience can take the place of qualifications in some cases although it is always worth ensuring that first aid qualifications are in place, you may include this as part of the job offer if the Nanny does not have training and would be happy to undertake CPR instruction.

Nannies may wish to join the voluntary element of the childcare register, this means that they will be in a position to accept childcare vouchers from parents, they will then need the appropriate insurance and training in place, meaning they will be enhancing their own careers and as parents you will have the peace of mind and financial advantage of childcare vouchers from your employer if available.

Parents will need to ensure that references, qualifications and any other evidence is verified before offering the job. If using an agency, you will still need to check the references and paper work yourself to ensure that you are happy. With that in mind, it may not be much of an advantage to pay out huge sums of money to agencies who will simply be repeating the process that you will need to do yourself. Online search facilities such as offer the ideal tool for searching for and hiring your ideal nanny.

Keep in mind that you will also need to pay your nanny as agreed and provide regular payslips. Annual leave and sickness will be other considerations, so it is worth making sure that you have cover in place if your nanny is prevented from arriving on time if at all. Carefully consider the hours, duties and pay for additional hours if required, note these within the terms of the contract and ensure that a trial period is offered before the job is made permanent. You will also need to ensure that tax and other statutory contributions are made on your nanny’s behalf.

Extended school services

Some schools offer extended services that run on beyond the normal school hours. This includes services such as before and after school clubs, homework clubs, learning support sessions and other similar school based offerings. It is worth checking whether your child’s school offers an extended service as this can often be more cost effective than paying for private childcare. You will still need to pay a fee but this will not be as costly as a childminder or nanny. You will however, need to find alternative childcare during the school holidays and over the summer as extended services usually only run before and after school during term time.

While there is no one model for what extended services should be, they are specifically designed to improve achievement standards, allowing children to grow and succeed where education is at the heart of the environment.

Overall, the service is provided to meet the needs of the child and to enable families to balance the commitments to work and life before and after school. Some parents may be entitled to help with the cost of accessing extended services so do enquire about such help via your school or family information service.

Holiday clubs and play schemes

Holiday clubs and play schemes are run by many schools and local organisations during the school holidays. Holiday clubs and play schemes offer a fun, entertaining and active alternative to home based childcare. Many parents opt for this type of service in order to keep their children occupied for school hours or less, so that they do not need to take time off from work to care for their children when school is out.

Some clubs are run by the local authority, others by the school or local organisations as mentioned above. The costs will vary depending on the hours, activities, days and length of your booking. Many offer sibling discounts or discounts for block bookings. If the club is offering care for children under eight and for more than two hours a day (providing it is not solely activity based) then they will need to be OFSTED registered so you may therefore be able to apply for help with the costs. These clubs and schemes usually fill up quickly so book ahead.

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