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Early Years and ChildcareView all services

Early Education and Childcare Provision in Liverpool

Good quality childcare can benefit both parents and children. Some families use informal childcare, such as other family members, friends or neighbours however you may find you need to make more formal childcare arrangements. Some childcare settings provide specialist services for disabled children, however, all childcare should welcome and include disabled children.

A bird with balloons and teddy bear in a tub

Early education and childcare regulation

It is important that childcare is of good quality and meets certain standards. In England, childcare is registered with and regulated by OFSTED.

Types of Early education and childcare provision

  • Childminders - offer full and part-time care, play and learning opportunities for children, usually in the child-minder's own home. Childminders are self-employed and may be flexible in the hours they work, offering early mornings, evenings and weekend care. 
  • Day nurseries - are primarily for children under 5 to play and learn in a group environment, offering full and part-time places. All children aged 3 and 4 years are entitled to a free nursery place, some 2 year olds can also access free nursery places.
  • Pre-schools - sometimes known as playgroups, offer part-time care and education for children usually between 2 and 5 years. Session time vary but are generally available during term time only (38 weeks of the year).
  • School Nurseries - offer part-time early education for children between 2 and 5 years. Sessions may be morning, afternoon or a full school day and are available for 38 weeks of the year.
  • Out of school care - After school clubs and other out-of-school care (sometimes called kids clubs) provide childcare and other activities for school-age children before and after the school day and during the school holidays. Often these are based on school sites, but they may also be in community centres, churches, nurseries or linked to a children's centre. 
  • Holiday playschemes - operate during the school holidays for school age children, to provide a safe and stimulating environment for children to play and have fun. Some offer part-time or full-time care. 

Help with childcare costs

Many parents also say that childcare is too expensive. There may be help available to meet the costs, for example direct payments can be used to pay for childcare following an assessment. Help may also be available through the tax credit system.

To find out what support and funding may be available :-

Across Liverpool children's centres offer a range of services which aim to serve children and their families until primary school

Each centre offers integrated services (health, education, family support and childcare), outreach to parents, a base for childminders, and links with Jobcentre Plus and schools.

Finding childcare

Choosing the right childcare service is important for you and your child. You need to be confident that your child is safe, secure and happy. You can search this website to find Ofsted-registered childcare providers in your local area by clicking the buttons at the top of this page.

Your local health visitor and/or social worker may know of other suitable services. It is also worth asking other parents at support groups which childcare services they use.

If you struggle to find appropriate childcare, we offer a Childcare Brokerage Support Service. 

Childcare and the law - things you need to know

All childcare providers are required by law to make reasonable adjustments to the way they provide a service, to ensure all children can access activities and facilities.

The law also says that:

  • a provider can't treat disabled children less favourably than other children
  • People can't be directly discriminated against or harassed because they have an association with a disabled person.

Whether you are looking for nurseries, childminders or out of school clubs, these pages will point you in the right direction. We can provide information on childcare costs, free early education places, information for young carers and support for disabled children and young people. See the Useful Information section, related links or call us on 0800 085 2022.  We can also answer any questions you may have about your childcare options.