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Childcare and wraparound support

Choosing a childcare setting for your child is a very personal choice, but to help you with your decision we have laid out some key facts below.

Visiting a Setting

Before choosing a setting, it is recommended that you visit a range of providers to ensure you find one that is right for you and your child.

Try to arrange a visit when the setting is open, so you can see how the staff interact with the children and whether the children are settled and happy.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, a setting should be proud of their setting and happy to show you around and tell you all about the service they provide.

Take someone with you if you can. It’s good to get a partner or a friend’s opinion and they may notice things that you haven’t.

If your child has an additional need, ask how the setting can support them and ask about their experience.

Ask for a trial session before you make up your mind. 

Example Questions to Ask Your Setting

What activities will my child be doing each day?

  • A setting should have a range of activities available for the different ages and abilities of the children.

What information will be shared with me about my child?

  • A Diary, Verbal Handover, Learning Journal etc.

Are meals provided and can I see an example of a menu?

  • Do you cater for allergies?
  • Can you provide a vegetarian/vegan menu?

Do the children play outside/go on outings?

  • What is the number of staff to children on outings?

What happens if my child is poorly?

  • Do you have a medicine policy?

How do you manage behaviour?

  • How is good behaviour encouraged?

Where do the children sleep?

  • Do you provide sheets/blankets?
  • Can the children have their comforters to sleep?

What hours do they offer and how much will it cost?

  • Opening hours may differ in each setting
  • What does the cost include? (snacks, drinks, nappies, wet wipes etc)

Do they charge for holidays/sick days?

  • A lot of settings charge for a session booked, whether the child attends or not.

Do they have a settling in period?

  • This is an agreed amount of time to help your child settle.
  • These are usually short/frequent sessions to allow your child time to adjust.

Legal Requirements

Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills)

Most early years setting will need to be registered with Ofsted. Ofsted will routinely inspect settings to ensure they are delivering high levels of quality childcare. For more information, visit the Ofsted website

Enhanced DBS

All staff coming into contact with the children should have an Enhanced DBS. This is a Criminal Records Check to show that they are suitable to work with children. 

First Aid

Childcare settings should have at least one person on the premises that is Paediatric First Aid trained at all times. They should have an accessible first aid box and reporting system for accidents and incidents.

Policies and procedures 

Childcare settings should have policies and procedures in place that show how they run their setting including a:

  • Safeguarding Policy
  • Medicine Policy
  • Behaviour Policy
  • plus procedures for events like fire and emergency  

Other Questions

Can I see your Ofsted registration certificate and inspection report?

These should be made readily available for parents to see. 

How many children can one member of staff look after?

This will depend on the age of the children, but the legal requirement is:

  • 1 adult for 3 children under 2-years-old
  • 1 adult for 5 children aged 2-years-old
  • 1 adult for 8 children aged 3 and 4 years old. This can change to 13 children if the staff member is a nursery teacher

Do you have insurance?

All childcare settings should have public liability insurance and be able to show their certificate. 

Are all the staff trained and to what level?


Ensure you know how much the setting charges and whether there are any additional charges for items such as:

  • food
  • nappies
  • outings etc

Do they accept different childcare funding options?

Find out about the different types of childcare, funding options and help to find childcare

Need help?

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