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Looking for information about childcare? Not sure where to use childcare or if you can receive financial help towards the cost of childcare? Take a look at the information below.

If you have any questions about childcare contact York Family Information Service using the details below.

T: 01904 554444 (Mon - Fri 10am - 4pm) 

Text Only: 07786 202241



Search for Ofsted Registered Childcare

Childcare can be searched for independently online or by contacting York Family Information Service. When using the online childcare search, enter a postcode to search a specific area and filter to search for a particular type of childcare provider..

Please note York Family Information Service provides information on childcare registered with Ofsted within the City of York Council area only. If you are looking for childcare outside of the City of York Council area please contact the local Family Information Service. You can find out which Family Information Service covers the area you are looking by using the Childcare and Family Information Service finder.

If you struggle to find childcare contact York Family Information Service. We,

  • Can send you a tailored list of childcare in the area you are looking including: location, contact info, fees, opening times, last Ofsted inspection outcome
  • Provide information on what experience and training providers have around supporting children with disabilities and additional needs
  • Vacancies and key details about how providers operate
  • Offer a FREE brokerage service if you are struggling to find childcare
  • Work alongside the Early Years and Childcare Services team and report back on childcare sufficiency issues across the city

We are here to talk you through every part of your journey and answer any questions you have.

The Department for Education's latest government guidance on choosing safe out-of-school-settings,is available on the government website, Information for parents choosing an after school club, community club or tuition.

Information is also available on Ofsted's role in regulating childcare.

Funded Childcare for 2 year olds

Find out how to apply and who is eligible to receive up to 15 hours funded childcare for 2 year olds. Contact York Family Information Service for a list of childcare eligible to offer funded places.

Funded Childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

All 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to receive up to 15 hours funded childcare. Some 3 and 4 year olds are eligible to receive a total of 30 hours childcare.

Choosing Childcare for Children with SEND

When it comes to childcare for a disabled child, a lot of the considerations are the same as for any other child. If your child has special educational needs or disabilities you may find you have more questions about how your child's needs can be met including what specific training has the childcare provider undertaken and your child's medical needs. Try and give yourself enough time to visit several possible options in your area to get a good idea of what could suit your child. It can be a good idea to take your child with you to see how staff work with them

If your child has special educational needs (SEN), speak to your provider who may be able to access some additional funding to support your child in their Early Years setting.

Parent's experiences and Childcare Provider's experiences

To help you learn of other people's experiences, we have gathered the experiences and view points of parents who have chosen childcare for their disabled child, and of provider's who provide childcare to children with special educational needs and disabilities. 

Read how two families accessed childcare for their children at two different settings in A parent's story

Find out what does a childcare provider do to support disabled children and how do they work together with you and your family in A provider's view

Top ten questions

Here are some suggested questions around SEND to ask when you visit. Add your own questions as well:

  1. Does the provider have a SENCO in place?
  2. Does the provider ensure that they attend regular training to update and refresh their skills and knowledge?
  3. How long have you been working with children? What experience do they have of supporting children with additional needs.
  4. Are they trained to give medication or use specific equipment?
  5. Where will my child rest?
  6. What kind of food and drink will you give? Can you support my child’s dietary needs?
  7. How would they approach your child’s disability with other children/parents?
  8. Will my child be with a regular group of children? How old are they?
  9. How will they communicate with you about your child’s progress and needs?
  10. What will be put in place to support the child's transition?

Coram Family and Childcare Trust guide

Coram Family and Childcare Trust have created a helpful guide to childcare for children with special education needs and disabilities in England.  The guide provides information on your childcare options; tips on choosing childcare; detailed information on the Education, Health and Care assessments and plans and the financial support available for parents of children with SEND. 


Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) A guide for parents and carers

Why do I need to know about EYFS?

  • The EYFS will be the stage your child is in when they attend a setting or a childminder’s home between birth and the age of five. It's also the stage that they are in until the end of reception year at school.
  • Children do best when parents and professionals work together.
  • It's important to remember that you know more about your own child than anyone else. Practitioners should be asking about your child and sharing information with you about your child’s progress.
  • Understanding what your child is doing when they are with others will help you to notice how well they are developing and learning.
  • The part you play in their learning and the choices you make will make a difference to their future.

What is the EYFS?

  • The EYFS is a stage of children’s development from birth to the end of their first year (reception) year in school.
  • The EYFS framework describes how early years practitioners should work with children and their families to support their development and learning.
  • It describes how your child should be kept safe and cared for and how all concerned can make sure that your child achieves the most that they can in their earliest years of life.
  • It's based on four important principles.

What are the EYFS principles?

Theme: A Unique Child
Principle: Every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
Theme: Positive Relationships
Principle: Children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/or a key person.
Theme: Enabling Environments
Principle: The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning.
Theme Learning and Development
Principle: Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of Learning and Development are equally important and interconnected.

What can parents and carers do?

Parents and carers are their children’s first teachers. When they are with you learning can happen at any time and anywhere, for example through:

  • Being generous with praise and cuddles
  • Reading things together
  • Playing games, singing nursery rhymes
  • Talking about what you can see in the park or on the street
  • Counting the stairs as you go up or down

Why are the years from birth to five so special?

The years from birth to five see the greatest growth and learning for all children.

  • Good health
  • To be happy
  • To feel safe
  • To be successful

Early learning is the key to your child’s future and families make the greatest difference at this stage.

Financial Support for your Childcare Costs

There are lots of different ways of reducing the cost of childcare.Free and impartial information on the different options for parents and carers is provided by York Family Information Service More information on reducing the cost of childcare is also available on the Government's Childcare Choices website.  There are options for toddlers, teens and for parents who are studying.

2 year olds

Some 2 year olds are eligible to receive up to 15 hours funded childcare, the term after they turn 2 years old. There are different eligibility criteria such as if your child is adopted, has SEN or if the family is in receipt of certain benefits. Visit the childcare for 2 year olds page for further information and to find out if you could apply.

3 and 4 year olds

All 3 and 4 year olds are eligible to received up to 15 hours funded childcare. This is a universal Funded Entitlement (FE) offer.

Some 3 and 4 year olds are also eligible to receive:

  • Up to 30 hours funded childcare 
  • Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP).
  • Disability Access Fund (DAF)

Visit the childcare for 3 and 4 year olds page for further information.

Tax free, tax credits and support whilst you study

Please note to receive support with childcare costs, childcare must be at:

  • an Ofsted registered provider
  • at a school

Working Tax Credits for Childcare

  • For working families, in the UK
  • Must have children under 16 (or under 17 if disabled). Support received up to 01 September following the child's 16th birthday.
  • 70% of childcare costs, up to a cap
  • If you cannot make a new claim for Tax Credits, you may be able to apply for Universal Credit instead.

Universal Credits for childcare

  • For working families claiming Universal Credit, in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales
  • No minimum hours required
  • With children under 17. Support received up to 01 September following the child's 16th birthday.
  • 85% of eligible childcare costs, up to a cap
  • If you receive universal credits but are unemployed you may still be able to receive some support if you require childcare whilst accessing a short term course to help you find work via  the Flexible Support Fund. Please speak to your Work Coach for further information.

Tax Free Childcare

  • For working families, including the self-employed, in the UK
  • Earning under £100k and at least £139 per week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage) each
  • Who aren't receiving Tax Credits, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers
  • With children aged 0-11 (or 0-16 if disabled)
  • For every £8 you pay into an online account, the government will add an extra £2, up to £2,000 per child per year

Support with childcare whilst you study

  • Weekly payments from Care to Learn if you’re at school or sixth-form college
  • Help through your college if you’re in further education
  • A weekly grant if you’re in full-time higher education

For more information about any of the above visit the Government's Childcare Choices

Tax Credits, Child Benefit and Guardian's allowance

The Government website has guidance and information on other ways to receive financial support with childcare and you can use their tax credits calculator to work out an estimate on how much tax credits you could receive.

Other Options

Shared Parental Leave

You and your partner may be able to get Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) if you’re having a baby or adopting a child. You can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between you. You need to share the pay and leave in the first year after your child is born or placed with your family. You can use SPL to take leave in blocks separated by periods of work, or take it all in one go. You can also choose to be off work together or to stagger the leave and pay.

To find out more about Shared Parental Leave visit the website.

Through your employer

Flexible Working

There is no absolute right to work part time. However, you have the right to ask to work flexibly in your current job, and your employer has a duty to consider your request seriously, if you are:

- an employee who has worked for your employer for 26 weeks and has a child under 17 (or a disabled child under 18 who gets Disability Living Allowance)

- an employee who has worked for your employer for 26 weeks and cares for a disabled adult.

The right to request is available to both men and women, and covers the hours an employee works, the times s/he is required to work and the place of work (i.e. home or a workplace). It is important to understand that a change granted under the right to request is permanent - if you want a temporary change only this must be specifically negotiated with your employer.

Even if you do not have the right to request (for example, you have not worked for your employer for long enough), you can still ask to change your pattern of work, and sex discrimination law may apply if you are turned down.

For more information about flexible working contact York Family Information Service 01904 554444. You can also contact Working Families on 0800 013 0313 for advice on your rights at work

Family and Childcare Trust

The Family and Childcare Trust is a national charity working for families to get high quality and affordable childcare. They have a fantastic website that has loads of information on all the different ways of reducing your childcare bill. website

Information about various ways to get help with your childcare bill.

Childcare Brokerage Service

If for any reason you need additional support with finding childcare then York Family Information Service may be able to help. Because we work with childcare providers every day, we can often help broker a solution.

This could be:

  • looking at and discussing with you different childcare options and possibly contacting providers on your behalf;
  • if the provider needs training or support to provide the best possible care for your child we will work with others to see what can be done.

Choosing childcare that is right for you and your child is a very important, personal choice. York Family Information Service is completely impartial and never recommends one provider over another. We can not guarantee to find a solution to your childcare needs but we explore all options available to us.

You can contact York Family Information Service in a variety of ways:

Telephone: 01904 554444


Social Media: You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest family based 'need to know' information for York!

Website: Complete the contact us form

Childcare outside City of York Council area

If you are looking for childcare outside of York you can use the Family and Childcare Trust Childcare Finder. This website links together all of the Family Information Services in England to make it quick and easy to find childcare wherever you live.

Making Childcare Choices

Good quality childcare and early education is not only good for children; it gives parents more freedom to work, study or train for a job too. But juggling work and bringing up children isn't easy. If you're struggling with this, you're not alone.

All childcare providers are registered with Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills) if they operate more than 2 hours per day. This means that they are inspected against a set of national standards. You can access a copy of a childcare providers latest report through the Ofsted website. You can also ask a provider if you want to see a copy of their latest inspection report.

For more information relating to childcare and how to reduce your costs, you can also visit Childcare Choices.

There are lots of different options to consider when choosing childcare. It's up to you as a mum, dad or carer to choose what you feel is right for your family and child. When choosing childcare, try and give yourself enough time to visit several possible options to get a good idea of what may suit your child. It can be a good idea to take your child with you to see how they interact with staff and their reactions to the setting. Try to go when children are there so you can see if they are settled, confident and involved in a variety of activities.

What’s right for you and your child?

If you would like your child to be settled in one location all day with other children of their own age and a skilled team of carers then day nurseries or playgroups may be the right solution.

If you would like to have your child looked after by someone else or in your own home, then a childminder or home-based child carer might be better, especially if you have a baby or a toddler under two. Many places that offer childcare have a waiting list, so it’s a good idea to start looking some time before you actually need it. Make a shortlist of places to visit by calling around first and asking a few questions, such as:

  • Are there any age restrictions?
  • Would your child have one main person looking after them?
  • What sort of activities will your child do in a day?
  • What hours can your child go there?
  • How much does it cost?
Your next step

Visit at least two or three places. Ask questions about what happens during the day, what the children get to eat and how they are disciplined. Don’t be afraid to visit a second time if you want to be sure it’s right for you and your child.

Once you have made your decision, make sure you are happy with all the details of the arrangement. In some cases you will be given an agreement to sign and asked to secure the place by paying a deposit or retainer fee.

  • TIP: Visit when other children are there so you can watch them play and see how they are being looked after.

Which childcare provider?


Childminders are trained, self-employed carers largely based in their own homes. They are registered with Ofsted and both the childminder and their home are regularly checked. A childminder can look after up to six children under eight-years-old including their own, but only three of them can be under the age of five. Childminders are perfect if your working day doesn’t fit the 9-5, Monday to Friday pattern or if you have children of different ages and you want them to be looked after together. You may also want your child to be cared for in a home environment by just one person. Further information about childminders is available in our childminders - a guide for parents page.


Day nurseries

Offer childcare and, in some cases, early education. They are for children between the ages of six weeks and five years and many offer out-of-school care for five to 11-year-olds. Opening times tend to coincide with a standard working day, 8am to 6pm on weekdays.

Nursery schools and classes Nursery schools

Offer early education and are for children between the ages of three and five. They are open during school hours, normally only in term time for full or half-day sessions. Nurseries are free if part of a state education system (excluding meals and trips) but private ones charge. It is best to check with the centre you’re interested in.

  • TIP: When you visit, look for projects and drawings up on the walls. Are there stimulating toys and books for the children to enjoy?
Pre-school and playgroups

Organised by community or voluntary groups, often with the help of parents, these usually offer early education places. They give your child access to different toys, equipment and activities and ensure they mix with other children. Sessions last between two-and-a-half to four hours and take place either every day or several days a week, during term time. They are for children aged between two and five years.

Out-of-school care

Some clubs are open before and after school and all day during school holidays. They offer a quiet space for catching up with homework as well as plenty of fun activities for children between the ages of three to 14-years-old (and up to 16 for children with special needs). Many breakfast, after school and holiday play schemes are linked to schools. Some of which offer a variety of activities on top of the normal school day such as music, art, sport or additional study support.

Home Childcarer

A home childcarer is a person who provides care for children in the parents own home. Parents can also share a nanny with another family. Nannies and au pairs are the most common examples of home childcarers. Home childcarers do not need to register with Ofsted but can choose to register on the voluntary part of the Childcare Register. Home childcarers can often provide quite flexible childcare, fitting in with unusual working hours, or they may even live-in. Some may also agree to do additional jobs around the house, such as cleaning or cooking. Further information about employing a nanny including what financial support you can receive and questions to ask is available in our Home childcare and nannies - a guide for parents.


Provide occasional care for children under eight.


A babysitter is someone who looks after your children in your own home for short periods of time. Most parents need to use a babysitter at some stage whether it is to enjoy some free social time in the evening or to attend an appointment during the day. Babysitters are not regulated so it's completely up to parents to ensure they are happy and comfortable with who they use as a babysitter. Some Ofsted registered childminders offer this service, so if you are looking for an Ofsted registered provider who offers babysitting, get in touch.

Top Tips for Choosing Childcare

What to look for

Choosing childcare and early education is a big step for you and your child. There are lots of differences between types of childcare, early education or pre-school services and also between individual childminders, nurseries, nursery classes or out-of-school clubs.

Try and give yourself enough time to visit several possible options in your area to get a good idea of what could suit your child. It can be a good idea to take your child with you to see how staff talk to him or her. Try to go when children are there so you can see if they are calm, happy and busy.

Here are some suggested questions to ask when you visit. Add your own questions as well:

  1. How long have you been working with children?
  2. How have you learned your job? Any qualifications?
  3. Do you enjoy being with children and why?
  4. Can I look around the building to see the rooms and outside play areas?
  5. Where will my child rest?
  6. What kind of food and drink will you give?
  7. What will my child do all day?
  8. How do you encourage good behaviour?
  9. Will my child be with a regular group of children? How old are they?
  10. How will you make sure I know how my child is getting on?

Quality Pointers

When you visit possible childcare options, look for these Quality Pointers.

You could add your own as well:

1 . Are the children calm, safe and happy?

2 . Do children play and talk together?

3 . Are the staff listening to the children and answering them carefully?

4 . Are the staff friendly and proud of their work?

5 . Are the staff joining in with what the children are doing?

6 . Are there lots of activities planned to help children learn and play?

7. Can the children plan some of these themselves?

8. Are there plenty of clean toys and equipment for children to use?

9. Are the premises clean, well-kept and safe for children with a fun outside play area (or will children go to parks and other places regularly)?

10. Do parents have plenty of chances to say what they want for their children?

If there are other things you want to know, do not be afraid to ask.

What to expect

Key Person

When your child starts at any Ofsted Registered childcare provider they will be appointed a key person, who will be responsible for supporting their needs and planning their activities. The key person will keep a daily record of your child’s progress, which will be shared with you on a regular basis. You can chat to your child's keyworker or if they are not available, the manager of the childcare setting your child attends to discuss any worries or concerns you have about your child's development and to talk through what support the childcare provider can provide to help meet your child's needs.  As childminders tend to operate on their own they would be the key contact for this type of information.

All childcare and early or pre-school education services should have:

Trained or experienced staff

Working with children is a skilled and demanding job. Training gives people skills and confidence. It helps staff to deliver a top quality service to your family. Many excellent childcare staff don’t have formal qualifications but lots of experience and enthusiasm.

Staff need:
  • To respond to your child as an individual
  • To plan activities and play to help your child learn
  • To help your child be safe and secure
  • To communicate well with your child and with you
  • To respect your family’s culture, religion or language
  • To be enthusiastic about their important job
Safe and clean premises

Children deserve comfortable, well-equipped premises which are carefully looked after. Children should be able to see toys, books and fun equipment and reach some of it themselves. Fresh, healthy food and snacks should be available. Equipment for children with disabilities is likely to be popular with all the children. When children are asked what they like best about childcare, they often talk about their friends and the garden or outside space.

Your child should be in a place which is:
  • Bright and cheerful
  • Clean
  • Friendly for children with some child-sized equipment
Fun activities planned each day…

When children feel safe and happy they are learning all the time. All children learn at different rates and so activities need to be planned with the needs of each child in mind. Childcare staff should plan the day’s activities before children arrive. Children enjoy making friends with other children. This is much easier if children attend the childcare service regularly and know who and what to expect each day. Make sure the childcare you choose provides plenty of encouragement for your child whatever his/her age, gender or abilities. This is because children pick up ideas about stereotyping from a very young age.

A big welcome for you and your child…

When you visit your childcare service, you and your child should feel welcome. Staff should find time to listen to you when you want to ask questions. They should answer any questions you have about the childcare service or about your child.

Think about how your childcare service will:
  • Include you in planning your child’s care
  • Help your child’s routine- sleep, food, any special needs
  • Fit in with your ideas on discipline, sweets, toilet training
  • Encourage your child to feel happy and confident whatever his/her ability, race, culture, language or gender
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