Now that you have read Options in pre-school providers, you can make a list of the individual providers that seem a possibility for your child. Check whether they are 'approved' by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED). You can then claim tax credits and/or childcare payments and free education for three and four year olds. Also the Early Years Foundation Curriculum will be in place. You can also read the OFSTED inspection reports to check that the pre-school provider offers good provision for your child.
If you choose a setting that is not 'approved', such as some Montessori nurseries, remember that the curriculum may be different and you may not be able to claim the tax credits, or childcare payments.
Nannies and childcarers working in the child's home are not normally inspected by OFSTED. However, nannies and other home-based childcarers can apply to the Childcare Approval Scheme and will have to meet basic criteria before being approved. Employing an approved carer under the scheme may enable you to take advantage of tax and National Insurance credits. Financial help from the government for childcare costs is not provided if you have a relative providing the childcare.
Parents may wish to consider options in pre-school providers that reflect their views on ethics, faith and same sex parenting to name but a few of the possible personal concerns that they may have. Consequently, they may also wish to choose a pre-school provider in an area where appropriate primary and secondary schools are located as well.
Useful sources of information for choosing a pre-school provider in an area where appropriate primary and secondary schools are located
The best source of information to meet specific personal preferences will be found in most cases from local authorities, community groups and voluntary organisations that reflect that interest, and local pre-school providers. Parents may also find information from these sites helpful.
Schoolsfinder (provides profiles for all schools in England).
Edubase (provides lists of all types of state schools in your selected area(s).
Teachernet. Faithschools (provides a general picture of the number and type of faith schools)
Mumsnet-Education (provides information for parents on all matters and contains useful reports from parents of their own personal experiences of all types of school and often of named providers. Parents can also ask questions about educational provision as they choose and other members frequently give useful information in their replies)
DIVA-Gay friendly schools (provides information about local authorities and some individual schools which are considered to be supportive of the children of gay parents)
Passing Twice (provides an informal network for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who stammer)
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