Childcare and Early Years Education 0-5 years
Choices in the UK
There are a number of choices for childcare for 0-5 including nurseries, nannies or au pairs and childminders.
Nurseries – these can be on a base or in civilian communities and places can often be in short supply – you are advised to get your name on any waiting lists as early as possible.
Nannies may be qualified but Au pairs are not necessarily and you should investigate each option carefully. Both can live in – if you are in SFA you will need to inform DIO that you have someone living in.
Childminders – should be registered and inspected, often providing care in their own homes. In different locations there are different inspectorates and sites to help:
- England – Ofsted
- Scotland – The Care Inspectorate
- Wales – Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW)
- NI – Health and Social Care Trust
- Overseas British Forces Early Years Service (BFEYS) or SSAFA
A HiVE will often have information on local providers – especially those on base.
Across the UK, these are sites that can help you to find childcare:
England – Family and Childcare Trust
Scotland – Scottish Family Information Centre
Wales – gov.wales children and families pages
Northern Ireland – family support Northern Ireland
Free Early Years education
Is available across the UK for three and four year olds and in some cases for two years olds. The following sites will explain what is on offer and any eligibility criteria:
Scotland – mygov.scot Scottish Government pages on help paying for childcare.
Wales – gov.wales/help-paying-childcare Welsh Government pages on help paying for childcare.
NI – familysupportni.gov.uk childcare support and advice in Northern Ireland.
The information includes details of MOD provision overseas which mirrors, where possible in MOD provided settings, entitlement in England i.e. parents with children aged 3 or 4 can access 15 or 30 hours free childcare (depending on eligibility).
Where no MOD nursery provision is available, parents can claim a reimbursement for 15 or 30 hours by means of the Overseas Nursery Authority (previously called Overseas Nursery Allowance). Serving Personnel will need to access DIN reference number 2020DIN01-046 on defnet.
This leaflet about the entitlement to free childcare includes details of MOD funding for childcare overseas and differences across the devolved nations.
If you are moving home from overseas you will need to get a new code to access free childcare and there is also guidance available on this. Parents returning from overseas will need to contact childcarechoices.gov.uk to obtain a new code and there is an HMRC helpline if you experience any difficulties– 0300 123 4097