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Early education - private providers and childminders

Private providers are Ofsted registered and could be privately owned, part of the voluntary sector, an independent school or a childminder either registered by Ofsted or an Ofsted registered childminding agency. Working within statutory guidance, private providers will decide their own application and admission process and will decide how they deliver hours and sessions funded by early education funding.


Childminders are self-employed child carers who deliver early education and childcare to children aged 0 to 5 and of school age, from the childminder's own home. Childminders can offer flexible care including school or nursery wrap around care. 

Day nursery

Day nurseries provide full or part time education and childcare for pre school children aged 0 to 5 years. Day nurseries are normally open whole year round and for longer days to meet the needs of working families.

Independent school

A fee paying preparatory school. These may take children from nursery age through to sixth form, normally term time only.

Sessional pre-school

Pre schools provide part time early education and childcare for children between 2 to 5 years, normally term time only.

How do I access early education with a private provider or childminder?

Step one Identify providers in your area who may be suitable - ask friends or families for recommendations, or you can use our childcare search (opens a new window)
Step two Contact the provider to enquire about availability of places and how they offer early education funding including any additional hours or charges.
Step three The provider will take you through their own admissions and application process.