Caring for Your Family

Finding Childcare

There are many different types of childcare in Bradford. A person or organisation that offers a childcare service is called a ‘provider’. At the end of this section, there is guidance on finding the right kind of provider for you.

When choosing childcare, it is important to use a provider who is registered and inspected by Ofsted.

Here is a summary of the main types of childcare.

  • Day nurseries
  • Pre-schools (or playgroups)
  • Child minders
  • Out of school clubs
  • Playschemes
  • Creches

All 3 and 4 year olds can get up to 15 free hours per week of play and early learning. Some can get up to 30 free hours. Some 2 year olds can get up to 15 hours as well. For more information look here.

Family Hubs

To find childcare providers in your area, use the Family Hubs website, run by Bradford Council.

You can also find out about:

  • if places are available
  • opening hours
  • costs + help with costs
  • any specialist care your child needs with special educational needs or disabilities (also called SEND)

If you would like support finding childcare or want to know more, phone : 01274 435703.

For advice about childcare visit the childcare and early education pages. 

If your child needs special care (SEND), find out about what activities and support are available on the Local Offer website.

If you can’t find the information you need here, use the Family Hub postcode checker to find support in your area, and contact your local Family Hub during office hours.

There are four Family Hubs in the Bradford district. Find out what Family Hubs are and what they offer

Day nurseries

Day nurseries care for children aged from 0 – 5 years old. 

They usually offer care from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday, for most of the year.

Pre-schools – or playgroups

Pre-schools or playgroups are for children aged 2 to 5 years. Usually, children go there part time eg mornings or afternoons, or a mixture. Some pre-schools can offer extra hours.

For more information visit the Early Years Alliance website


Registered childminders are self-employed professionals. They offer childcare in their own homes.

They usually care for small numbers of children.

Childminders can often be flexible, to fit your schedule.

Out of school clubs

Out of school clubs offer childcare for school age children :

  • before school
  • after school
  • in school holidays

Most out of school providers offer one or more of these types.

Some providers can offer a ‘pick up and drop off ‘ service to schools.

Providers must be registered with Ofsted, if they are caring for children under 8 years old for more than 2 hours a day.


Playschemes usually offer care for children during school holidays. 

They are in schools or community centres.


Crèches provide short term or occasional care, to support parents doing a particular activity in the same venue.

For example, some education centres or leisure centres may offer a crèche so that you can go to a class at the centre, while your child is in the crèche there.

How to choose childcare

Choosing the right childcare provider for your child is an important decision.

The Money Advice Service website has a really helpful guide to the different types of childcare. You can compare them and find the type that is right for you:

You should visit the childcare providers you are interested in.

This will help you get a feeling for the environment, the manager and the staff and you can ask questions.

During your visit, you should find out:

  • do children play together well, do they seem happy?
  • do the staff seem friendly and caring?
  • is it clean?
  • is there a good outdoor play space?
  • is food included in the cost and can they provide for special diets?
  • do you need to provide your own baby formula and nappies?

There are lots of policies that childcare providers must follow, to be safe and legal.

For example, all staff must have been checked for a criminal record.

Also, nearly all types of childcare providers must be registered with Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills).

Ofsted is a government department which inspects childcare, schools and other children’s services regularly, to check the standard of care.

You can find the Ofsted report for any childcare provider on the Ofsted website.

You can search using your postcode.

Using family or friends for childcare

If you are working and struggling to afford childcare, there are other options you can consider, that are legal.

For example, a relative would be allowed to look after your child.

If you ask a friend or group of friends to look after your child, there are rules you may need to follow.

If your child is under 8, and your friend is looking after them for more than 2 hours a day, they must be registered as a childminder with Ofsted by law.

Related Information