The different types of childcare

Childminders

Childminders provide care for children in the childminder’s own home. They can offer free childcare and education to eligible 2, 3 and 4 year olds.

Having your child cared for in a home environment can be more flexible than other forms of childcare. They can also provide care before and after school and in school holidays.

Some children may benefit from a smaller group that a childminding service offers.

Ratios

A maximum of 6 children under the age of 8. Of these 6 children:

  • a maximum of 3 may be young children*
  • only one child under the age of one.
  • A child is a young child up until 1st September following their fifth birthday.

Exceptions:

  • caring for sibling babies
  • caring for their own baby
  • or to maintain continuity of care.

They must show that the individual needs of the children are being met.

If a childminder employs an assistant or works with another childminder.

As in the above ratios each childminder or assistant may care for the same number of children. With the parents’ permission children can be in the sole care of assistants for 2 hours at most in a single day.

Preschool Playgroups

Preschool Playgroups provide part-time care for children in sessions from 3 hours to 5 hours long, either mornings or afternoons, for children aged between 2 and 4 years old. Preschools can also be called playgroups or Montessori's. They are usually only open during school term-time.

Ratios

For children aged two: 

  • there must be at least one member of staff for every four children
  • at least one member of staff must hold a full and relevant level 3 qualification
  • at least half of all other staff must hold a full and relevant level 2 qualification

For children aged three and over:

  • there must be at least one member of staff for every eight children
  • at least one member of staff must hold a full and relevant level 3 qualification
  • at least half of all other staff must hold a full and relevant level 2 qualification

Day Nurseries

For babies and children aged 0 to 5 years. Opening hours can be from 7am to 7pm. Your child may attend full or part-time sessions all year round.

Ratios 

For children aged under two: 

  • there must be at least one member of staff for every three children
  • at least one member of staff must hold a full and relevant level 3 qualification, and must be experienced in working with children under two
  • at least half of all other staff must hold a full and relevant level 2 qualification
  • at least half of all staff must have received training that specifically addresses the care of babies

If there is an under two year olds’ room, the staff in charge of that room must have suitable experience of working with under twos.

For children aged two and over: 

  • there must be at least one member of staff for every four children
  • at least one member of staff must hold a full and relevant level 3 qualification
  • at least half of all other staff must hold a full and relevant level 2 qualification 

Nursery School Classes

Children in Hounslow are able to attend a Nursery School class the September after they are 3 years old. For information on when you need to apply and how visit Nursery admissions

Ratios

The early years’ provision in each class or group of pupils must be led by a ‘school teacher’. The term 'school teacher' does not apply to teaching assistants, higher-level teaching assistants or other support staff.

At least one other member of staff must hold a full and relevant level 3 qualification.

There must be at least one member of staff for every 13 children.

A teacher must be present with the children at all times except during non-contact time, breaks and for short term absence. During the teacher’s non-contact time and, wherever possible during short-term teacher absence, one of the remaining members of staff should meet the following:

  • they must be assisting or supporting the work of a teacher;
  • they must be subject to the direction and supervision of a qualified teacher in accordance with arrangements made by the head teacher;
  • the head teacher must be satisfied that they have the skills, expertise and experience necessary

There is no requirement for maintained schools to adjust their adult: child ratios at times when the teacher is not present with the children. The requirement that there must be at least one member of staff for every thirteen children remains the same at all times during the school day regardless of whether the teacher is present.

The size of a group or class should not normally exceed 26. If it does, the EYFS guidance advises that it is good practice to assign an additional teacher to the class. An additional teacher should always be assigned where the group size exceeds 30.

Before and After School Care

Before and after school care provide a safe place for children before or after school lessons. If they are not based at the school, they will take your child there in time for registration and be there to pick your child at the end of the day. This service can be provided by childminders too.

Ratios

  • Where the provision is solely before/after school care for children who normally attend Reception class (or older) during the school day, there must be sufficient staff as for a class of 30 children.
  • It is for providers to determine how many staff are needed to ensure the safety and welfare of children is met, bearing in mind the type(s) of activity and the age and needs of the children.
  • It is also for providers to determine what qualifications, if any, the manager and/or staff should have

Holiday Playschemes

Holiday playschemes are based in schools, youth clubs, and community halls and play centres, and provide activities for your child during the school holidays. They are usually open from 8am to 6pm.

Ratios

  • Where the provision is solely holiday provision for children who normally attend Reception class (or older) during the school day, there must be sufficient staff as for a class of 30 children.
  • It is for providers to determine how many staff are needed to ensure the safety and welfare of children is met, bearing in mind the type(s) of activity and the age and needs of the children.
  • It is also for providers to determine what qualifications, if any, the manager and/or staff should have

Nannies

Nannies come to your home, and will often fit in with non-typical working hours. They may choose to register with Ofsted. Costs vary widely and you may have to pay your nanny’s tax and national insurance. Read more on Nannies…

Crèches

Creches do not have to register with Ofsted if they:

  • care for children under the age of eight for four hours or less each day
  • the care is for the convenience of parents who plan to stay on the premises or within the immediate area.

Ofsted interprets immediate area as - ‘premises where care is provided and where parents can be summoned immediately’ such as:

  • crèches in a college where parents are taking part in adult learning classes
  • in a sports centre where parents are playing sports
  • in a purpose built shopping centre in enclosed premises.

Ratios

  • 1 member of staff for every 3 children under 2 years of age
  • 1 member of staff must hold a full and relevant level 3 qualification.
  • At least half of all other staff must hold a full and relevant level 2 qualification
  • At least half the staff must have received specific training in the care of babies

The member of staff in charge of the babies’ room must have suitable experience of working with children under two years.

  • 1 member of staff for every 4 children aged 2 years.  
  • There must be at least one member of staff for every four children
  • At least one member of staff must hold a full and relevant level 3 qualification
  • At least half of all other staff must hold a full and relevant level 2 qualification.

Childminder Agencies

Childminder agencies recruit, train and support childminders registered with them.   They are the ones that will register with Ofsted and receive an inspection grading and not the individual childminder. When Ofsted do carry out an inspection of the agency, it may include a spot check of some childminders registered with the agency.

Agencies will provide the following support to any childminder registering with them:

  • ensure a suitability, including, their capacity to deliver the statutory requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
  • support training and development
  • help parents find a suitable childminder
  • improve the quality of provision
  • monitor the standard of care provided

Please note agencies can charge a fee to childminders or parents who use their services.

We currently have no Agencies registered within the London Borough of Hounslow.