Choosing a Nursery

Choosing a Nursery

Private. Voluntary and Independent 

Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) nurseries often take children from babies up to school age. These settings are registered by Ofsted and may operate term time or all year round. PVI settings vary in size and the number of places that they can offer but all must follow legal ratios of staff to children. PVI’s are usually able to offer a range of flexible care options including full time, part time, morning and afternoon sessions, with some operating between 7am and 7pm.   

School/ Maintained Nurseries  

These settings are registered by Ofsted and are overseen by a headteacher and Early Years Lead who is a qualified teacher. They provide places for 3- and 4-year-olds and some also offer places for 2-year-olds. Places are usually sessional within school hours; however, some maintained nurseries offer wrap around provision outside of these hours. As with private provider’s, school nurseries vary in size. They are subject to legal rules on staff: child ratios. Although parents may choose a school nursery because they would like their child to go on to reception in the school this is not guaranteed, and parents and carers must apply for a school place. The school’s admissions criteria will always be followed. 

What to look for:

It is important to visit a nursery to see if the provision will meet your child and family’s needs. Some things that you may want to look at or ask about during a visit to an Early Years setting includes: 

  • Can the setting meet your individual childcare needs including the days and session times you require? 
  • Do you feel welcome in the setting? 
  • Do the children at the setting look settled and involved in what they are doing? 
  • Are staff engaging with children, talking, engaging, and listening to them.  
  • Are there lots of engaging opportunities to explore, play and learn both indoors and outdoors?  
  • Are there lots of resources, books and play equipment? 
  • Are the premises clean, well-kept, and safe for children? 
  • Are the children able to move freely between activities and are they able to make their own choices? 
  • Are different cultures positively represented in the toys, books and displays? 
  • Are girls and boys encouraged to take part in all activities? 
  • What is the settings approach to supporting children’s Personal, Social, Emotional development. How do they support children when they need support managing their behaviour.  
  • How will the provision meet any special needs your child may have? Think about equipment, access, skills, experience, and training of staff. 
  • What are the settings arrangements for involving parents, how will they share information with you?  
  • Ask to see their registration and insurance certificates. 
  • How much does the provider charge, what is included and how often do you pay? 
  • What are the arrangements for children who are eligible for funded hours. Are they offer hours flexibly and can you access additional paid hours if you need this?  
  • Is there a waiting list? If so, when will you be informed of a start date? 
  • What are the arrangements for lunch and snacks?  

Find a childcare provider 

Last Updated on Tuesday, April 2, 2024

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