About childcare

Finding childcare

You can find childcare providers on the Bracknell Forest Local Directory. You can also submit a childcare enquiry form.

The council does not necessarily endorse or recommend the childcare providers, please read our disclaimer in full.

Find childcare providers

Help with childcare costs

For information about help with childcare costs, please visit Childcare Choices.

Visit Childcare Choices

How to choose childcare

Choosing childcare is one of the most important decisions you will make as a parent. There are many types of childcare provision so you can choose an arrangement that is most likely to suit your child’s personality, your parenting style and your family needs.

You may find it helpful to consider the following questions:

  • Are you and your child made to feel welcome and at ease?
  • Do the children look safe, calm and happy?
  • Does each child receive warm and individual attention?
  • Do the adults listen and respond sensitively to each child at the child’s level?
  • Is there a good variety of clean, safe and well-maintained toys, books and play equipment for the children to use?
  • Is there a wide range of stimulating and fun activities planned to help children learn and play?
  • Is there a quiet area available should your child wish to rest?
  • Is there outdoor play available? If not, how will access to outdoor play be provided?
  • How do children spend their time - what routines will they be expected to follow?
  • What types of food and drinks are provided, and when?
  • Are the premises clean, well-kept and safe?
  • Are there clear procedures for first aid, or emergency medical treatment?
  • What Early Years qualifications and training do the staff members hold?
  • What is the ratio of adults to children?
  • Will there be a regular time set aside for you to discuss the progress of your child?
  • Does every child have someone who will take special responsibility for them?
  • How is behaviour managed?
  • Will you be encouraged to stay with your child during the settling in stage?
  • Most of all, do you feel the setting will meet the needs of your child?

Funding childcare

Find out about funding options for childcare:

Types of childcare

The following types of childcare are available:

  • day nurseries
  • childminders
  • preschools
  • maintained nurseries
  • nannies
  • out of school provisions (before/after school clubs  and holiday clubs)
  • au pairs

For more information about the different types of childcare see the professional association for childcare and early years (PACEY) website.

What is registered childcare?

Registered childcare

In general registered childcare is:

  • by a paid childcare provider
  • for children under the age of 8
  • outside the child’s home
  • for more than 2 hours
  • registered with Ofsted

Registered childcare providers are inspected and regulated by Ofsted.

The following can only be claimed through registered providers:

  • tax free childcare
  • 30 hours free childcare
  • free childcare for 2 to 4 year olds

For more information about these schemes please visit Childcare Choices.

For more information about Early Years funded places see the free childcare page.

Non-registered childcare

The following do not have to be registered to provide childcare:

  • grandparents
  • aunts
  • uncles
  • siblings of the child (including half-brother or sister)
  • someone you are related to through marriage or civil partnership
  • a nanny or au pair (home childcare provider)

It is worth noting that you cannot use any early years funding entitlement towards payment of a non registered childcare provider. However, some nannies might be able to accept childcare vouchers/tax free childcare payments.

There are many exceptions and exemptions to Ofsted registration requirements. For more information, visit the GOV.UK guidance.

Inspecting early years and childcare

Early years

Ofsted inspect early years providers to judge the quality and standards of the care, learning and development of children – these standards are in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. More information can be found on the Ofsted website.


Ofsted inspect childcare providers to check that they meet all the requirements of registration, but do not make any judgements about the quality of their setting. 

Contact information

Family Information Service