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What Kind Of Pre-School Education Is There?

You can make a number of different choices for children who are over 3 years old. There is a range of registered childcare providers:

Nursery schools may be private or state-funded. State-funded nursery schools must have at least 1 qualified teacher for every 20 children.

Nursery classes in state-funded primary schools usually offer 5 half-day sessions a week. There has to be at least 1 qualified teacher and 1 qualified nursery assistant for every 26 children.

Day nurseries can be run by local authorities, voluntary or community organisations, private companies or employers. Privately-run day nurseries usually offer full-time care and some are open in school holidays. There has to be at least 1 adult for every 8 children and at least half the staff must have a qualification recognised by the local authority.

Pre-school playgroups are often run by community or church groups or volunteers. They usually offer half-day sessions. There has to be 1 adult for every 8 children and at least half of the adults must be qualified leaders or assistants.

Accredited childminders may work as part of a network that offers pre-school education. Since they need to be registered, they are inspected regularly by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED).

Sure Start Children’s Centres can provide early education and full daycare for children under 5. They are open a minimum of 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, 48 weeks a year.

Reception classes are offered by some state-funded primary schools. Some take children for half-days at first, building up to full-time attendance. By law, there can be no more than 30 children in the class. Most have assistants as well as qualified teachers.