Choosing the type of childcare that will suit your family is an important decision and will be based on what is available to you, your working pattern, your child's needs and the cost.
There are two types of childcare, registered and unregistered.
Childcare in England is registered and inspected by Ofsted. Childcare that is registered falls under one of three registers:
- Early Years Register (EYR) - this covers childcare for children up to the age of five until 31 August following their fifth birthday.
- Compulsory Ofsted Register (OCR) - this covers childcare for children aged five to seven inclusive (unless exempt).
- Voluntary Ofsted Register (vOCR) - this covers children aged eight and over, and care for children of any age that is activity based or provided in the child's own home.
Only childcare that is registered can qualify for help with costs. All three and four year old children and some two year olds are entitled to at least 15 hours free early education a week.