Choosing childcare

Choosing the right childcare is really important. We can help you make the right choice by giving you information about your options.

Our Childcare Directory has details of the different types of childcare available in your specific area of Barnsley.

If your child has a disability, you may wish to use childcare for short breaks

If you're a parent returning to work, we have a pilot scheme for childcare tasters; just get in touch for more information.

Questions to ask your childcare provider 

  • How many other children are in your care?
  • How do you deal with unacceptable behaviour?
  • How do you ensure the children in your care are treated with equal concern?
  • What training or experience do your staff have?
  • What plans do you have in place to deal with emergencies?
  • Are there any extras to pay such as overtime, sickness or holidays?
  • What happens if my child is ill - will you contact me?
  • Will you care for a sick child? 
  • What background checks are made on your staff and how will I know my child is safe?

If you need help with finding available childcare to suit your individual needs, we'll be glad to give you advice.

When you've chosen the right childcare

Your chosen childcare setting will draw up a legally binding document with you, which you both need to agree, sign, date and keep a copy.

This contract should include: the hours of childcare you've agreed; fees; overtime rates; fees for non-attendance; meals provided; notice required to end the contract; and clarity about what you'll get as part of the service, for example nappies.

What you'll pay for childcare

Free childcare is available for eligible two year olds, and all three and four year olds are entitled to 15 hours of free early learning for 38 weeks, spread over a minimum of three days a week.

The cost of childcare can vary.  Some settings give a discount for brothers and sisters attending the same setting. You can negotiate the charge of childcare with the setting you've chosen. 

If you're claiming working tax credit, you may be able to get up to 80% of your childcare costs back in tax credit. 

Some settings are registered to offer Nursery Education Funded places. These are free places for all children the term after their 3rd birthday.  Your child can attend a three hour session five days a week, or a five hour session three days a week. Some pilot nurseries/schools are more flexible in the way they offer the 15 hours a week. For a list of providers who offer Nursery Education Funding, please get in touch

Working in childcare

If you are considering a career in childcare, take a look at our Childcare Career Choices booklet to find out when the next information session is.