Registered childcare providers
All registered providers offering childcare will have been issued a certificate from OFSTED providing details of the number of children, age range and qualifications of the staff or provider. Anyone who works with children and young people will have had a police check (DBS check), and the nursery settings and childminders have regular inspections from OFSTED. The borough's early years development officers ensure that standards are being maintained. They should also have available their policies on key issues such as health and safety, and child protection.
Providing the childcare provider is registered with OFSTED, including the voluntary register, parents and carers can get financial help with those costs through tax credits.
When considering what childcare options are available to you, you need to take into account the age of your child and how many hours of care you need. You can search by going to your local Family Service Directory.
Childminder Plus programme
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead's Children and Young People Disability Service co-ordinates the Childminder Plus service to offer respite and support to local families with children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities as part of the short break programme For further information, please contact the service on 01628 685878 or email [email protected]. Information on the Childminder Plus programme can be found on the Local Offer website, which brings together information about services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
Unregistered day care
Playgroups for children under 8 years, which meet for less than two hours per day, do not have to be registered - for example, a creche. Other types of unregistered care include mother's helps, au pairs, agency nannies and babysitters, where help may be provided at the child's home.
Au pairs/nannies (home childcarers) now have the opportunity to register with OFSTED on the voluntary register, the requirements are different from those of a childminder. However this will enable the parent or carer to get financial help through tax credits.
Parent and toddler groups are not registered, as a parent or carer should stay with the group and take part in the activities. If the parents are away for longer than two hours then the care setting must be registered with OFSTED.
Parent and toddler groups
A parent and toddler group is a great place for parents, carers and their children to gather together and join in simple activities. They can provide company and support to adults and give children the opportunity to play alongside and with others. Parents and carers remain with and are responsible for their children throughout the session.
Early education takes place before and after children reach statutory school age. Children aged 3 to 5 years are in the Foundation Stage, which enables children to learn through first hand experience whilst placing great importance on their personal, social and emotional development. Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education and http://www.qca.org.uk/.
After School Clubs, Out of school Care, and Holiday schemes
Safe care for children is also provided as Out of School Clubs or Breakfast Clubs on school premises, or at community centres. These are also registered by OFSTED. Some also operate holiday childcare clubs for children aged 4-12. They are staffed to ensure children can be safely looked after, catering for working parents who need to drop off children early or collect late. Call Family Information Service (FIS) for a list of out of school provision, or visit the local Family Services Directory.
Choosing a babysitter? What should a parent be aware of when choosing a babysitter? A babysitter should be aged at least 16. Parents and carers must note that by law they are responsible for their child up to the age of 16. Click on the following link for information from the NSPCC about leaving a responsible 14 year old home alone, or even at home with younger children. http://www.nspcc.org.uk/.
There is no law which states the minimum age that a child can be left alone but it is an offence to leave a child alone when doing so puts the child at risk. The NSPCC recommend that most children under 13 should not be left for more than a short period and that no child under 16 should be left overnight. They suggest that parents consider the following before deciding to leave a child alone:
The age of the child
The child's level of maturity and understanding
The place where the child will be left
How long the child will be left alone, and how often
Whether or not there are any other children in the household
The NSPCC also list the following key points:
Leave a contact number and address
Instruct the child not to open the door to strangers
Make sure they can cope in the event of a fire or emergency
Leave a list of trusted people, such as neighbours, or relatives to contact
Make sure that any dangers are removed - matches, chemicals and medicines, or tools
Make sure the child/children are confident to be left
Be back on time and never leave children alone overnight.
Childcare Sufficiency Report