Types of childcare

To help you decide which type of childcare will best meet your needs, detailed below are the different types of Ofsted registered childcare available in Halton along with a brief description of the type of service they offer.

Day Nurseries (0-5 year olds)

Day Nurseries provide full day care for children aged from birth to 5 years old. Opening hours are usually weekdays 8am-6pm, although some may be open longer. Children can attend full or part time. All Day Nurseries in Halton offer the Free Early Years Entitlement for 2, 3 and 4 year olds.

Two Year Olds​​

Some 2-year-olds are also eligible for up to 15 hours per week of free early education  and childcare but parents/carers need to meet certain criteria

If you would like to apply for the 2 year old funding please fill in the referral form​ as fully as possible.  Please include your National Insurance Number and your own date of birth, as this information is needed to check your eligibility. For more information please download our free childcare for 2 year old criteria​ or contact us.​

Pre-schools and Playgroups (2-5 year olds)

Pre-schools and playgroups provide part time play and early learning for children aged 2 years to 5 years.

Sessions are usually 2½ - 3 hours.  The majority are open for morning and afternoon sessions, however, a few do only open for either morning or afternoons.  All open term time only and are therefore able to offer the Free Early Years Entitlement over 38 weeks.

A number of pre-schools in Halton also offer a lunch club, which enables parents to use their free entitlement for part of the day and pay for any additional hours at a considerably lower rate than a day nursery. 


Childminders (0-11 year olds, generally, but may take older)

childminders can care for up to six children aged under 8 years of age - usually no more than one under 1 year old and two between the ages of 1-5 years old.  They can also care for a number of children over the age of 8.  If they work with another childminder or have an assistant, they can care for more.

Childminders in Halton offer a flexible service to suit parents’ needs, in particular, with regards to early starts and late finishes.  They provide a breakfast, after school and holiday care service. 

Opening hours for Halton childminders generally range between 8am-6pm, however, many start as early as 6am and work until 8pm each day.

Some childminders in Halton offer weekend, bank holiday and overnight care as and when required.  They may also offer a drop-off/pick-up service from local schools and pre-schools.

Out of School Clubs (5-11 year olds, generally, but may take older)

After School Clubs may be based on school premises but can also be based in other buildings such as community centres, day nurseries, church halls, or Children’s Centres and are open 3-6pm.

After School Clubs usually collect from more than one school. (FIS can give details on which After School Clubs pick up from which schools). Some After School Clubs may also offer a Breakfast Club and Holiday Club.

Breakfast Clubs (5-11 year olds, generally, but may take older children)

Breakfast Clubs provide a healthy meal and a safe place for children to wait until school starts. Usually you can drop your child off between 7:30am (or 8am) and the child will be cared for until lessons start. Many Breakfast Clubs offer a drop-off service to a few local schools.

Holiday Clubs (5-11 year olds, generally, but may take younger and/or older)

Holiday Clubs may be based on school sites or in other premises e.g. community centres, day nurseries, church halls, etc. They offer a wide range of play activities during school holidays. Their opening hours are usually 8am-6pm during each school holiday (although some may not open during Christmas and New Year).

Maintained Nursery Schools and Classes

A place in a nursery school or class is for children from the age of 3 years. Halton has three maintained Nursery Schools and ten schools with nursery classes.  Each school currently administers their own admissions; therefore you will need to contact the school direct regarding places.

Other types of childcare who are exempt from registration with Ofsted include:

  • Parent and Toddler Groups
  • Nannies
  • Babysitters
  • Crèches
  • Home childcarers (can voluntarily register with Ofsted)

These groups are exempt from registration for a variety of reasons; therefore, the Families Information Service may only be able to provide you with limited details.

Further information please contact the Families Information Service who can give you free impartial advice regarding the childcare which is most suitable for your needs.