Caring for Your Family

Finding Childcare

Finding childcare

There are 7 different types of childcare in Bradford. Here is a summary of the main types. 
At the end, there is some guidance on finding the right kind of childcare for you.

  • Children’s centres
  • Day nurseries
  • Child minders
  • Out of school clubs
  • Playgroups
  • Playschemes
  • Creches

Use the Family Hubs Website, run by Bradford Council, to find childcare providers in your area. 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) 
Children’s centres

There are lots of children’s centres across Bradford district.

They are mostly run by Bradford Council. 

They offer services for families with babies and young children.

Children’s centres run free groups and activities to support you and your child e.g.

  • parenting classes
  • play sessions
  • health & wellbeing groups
  • baby massage

Many children’s centres have family support workers who can help you with difficulties, for example, problems with money or housing.

Many (but not all) of the children’s centres in Bradford also offer childcare. 

This costs about £45 a day. You can usually get help to pay for this, if you need it. See Help With Childcare Costs.

Children’s centres are a really good place to meet other parents. 

You can make friends and get support.

You can attend any children’s centre you like but it is a good idea to use your local one.

Most centres have their own website, but you can contact them all by phone too.

Find your local Children’s Centre – use Google + your postcode: Children’s Centres near BD_     

Or get in touch with your Family Hub.

Day nurseries

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

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


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 run before and after school. 

They are suitable for parents who have commitments eg work.

The clubs allow you to take your children to school, or pick them up before and after normal school times.

Many offer meals, such as breakfast or evening meal.


Playgroups are organised in the local area to care for children aged 3 – 5, for up to 4 hours per day.

They are usually in local venues, such as schools or community centres.


Playschemes usually only 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