Choosing the right child care provider for your child can be quite confusing as there are lots of different options available. Childcare and early education is brilliant for children but it also gives parents/carers to flexibility to work or study.
- Childminders: Self employed childcarers who are based within their own home. They care for small groups of children and are inspected by Ofsted exactly the same as any other childcare provider.
- Home carers: Usually based within the family home and are employed by the parents/carer.
- Day nursery: A group based setting filled with learning and play for children 0 – 5.
- Nursey schools and classes: Usually based within a school grounds and offers sessions for children aged 3 – 5 years term time only.
- Pre-schools and playgroups: Usually for children aged 2 -5 years, offering morning or afternoon sessions during the school term.
- Out of school clubs: Are childcare ‘out of school’, offering care before school, after school and during the school holidays.
The Childcare Act (2006) requires North East Lincolnshire (NEL) Council, like all other local authorities in England, to ensure there is sufficient childcare for parents and carers who are working, studying or training. It also highlights the need for local authorities to pay particular attention to the childcare needs of specific target groups, for instance:
• Low-income families;
• Black and minority ethnic families;
• Gypsy, Roma and traveller communities;
• Families with disabled children or disabled parents;
• Families living in rural or inaccessible areas;
• Armed Forces families.
The duties in the act (section 6) require the council to shape and support the development of childcare provision in NEL in order to make it flexible, sustainable and responsive to the needs of the community. This role is described as a ‘market management’ function, whereby the local authority supports the sector to meet the needs of parents, children and young people, along with other stakeholders.
The council also has a duty to undertake a refresh of the full detailed Childcare Sufficiency Assessment (CSA) on an annual basis; however Section 75 of the Childcare and Families Bill 2012-13 recommends that Section 11 of the Childcare Act 2006 (duty of local authority in England to assess sufficiency of childcare provision) is repealed. This Bill has now reached Royal Assent, and whilst there is currently no responsibility to undertake a full assessment, however we have a requirement to complete an annual refresh to allow the local authority to monitor sufficiency.