Childcare

Whether you are moving from abroad or within the UK, finding good quality childcare for your children is vital.

This section should help you better understand some of the various childcare options, including the University’s award-winning Bright Beginnings Childcare Centre, in addition to providing information about available financial support.

Options

Childcare is not usually available free of charge in the UK.  The range and cost of childcare varies considerably, but it is generally expensive.  There are many types of childcare available in the UK:

  • Day nurseries: provides care for children from birth to four or five and beyond; they are often integrated with early education;
  • Child minders: usually look after children under 12 in the childminder’s home and collect school-aged children from a nearby school;
  • Pre-schools and playgroups: provides playtime and often early education to under-fives.  Sessions are organised on a not for profit basis so are generally a cheap childcare option;
  • Out-of-school or ‘kids’ clubs: offers children aged four to 12 a safe and stimulating environment in which they can play and learn outside of school hours.  This helps parents who have to drop off their children before school starts or are unable to collect their children directly after school.  Some after school clubs may charge a fee for their services and provision will vary between schools.

You can search for good quality childcare all over the UK using the Childcare website.  You can access reports on the quality of childcare from the government inspectorates Ofsted.

 

Bright Beginnings

The University has its own award-winning childcare centre, Bright Beginnings, which provides high quality childcare to staff members and students.

Bright Beginnings Childcare Centre is registered with Ofsted Early Years; the latest Ofsted inspection rated the centre as “outstanding”.

The centre can accommodate up to 168 children aged between 3 months and 5 years.  It also operates a Playscheme during the school holidays which is registered for 32 children aged between 3 and 11 years.

You can find further information on the Bright Beginnings website.

 

Help with costs

All three and four year-olds in England are entitled to 570 hours of free early education or childcare a year.  This is often taken as 15 hours each week for 38 weeks of the year.  Some two year-olds are also eligible; you can establish eligibility and to find out more on the Government website.

Child Benefit is a tax-free payment that you can claim for your child.  It is usually paid every four weeks and there are separate rates for each child.  The payment can be claimed by anyone who qualifies, whatever their income or savings.

The University also offers a salary sacrifice childcare voucher scheme, Kiddivouchers.  The scheme works through salary sacrifice, which means parents can opt to get childcare vouchers instead of part of their salary, so the vouchers are free of tax and national insurance.