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Quality Care

The key to working or studying as a parent is good quality reliable childcare, this leaflet is designed to help you assess what you should be looking for in childcare services both for you and your child.

Childcare Options

Childcare can be divided into two categories - group care or individual care.

Generally, group care is for more than three children together, with a number of adult carers, such as a nursery or playgroup. Individual care for one carer with a small group of children, for example: a childminder or nanny.

What do you need to think about?

To assess your own needs consider:

  • Whether you prefer a home or group environment for your child
  • The hours and flexibility you need
  • Would you prefer day care to be close to home, at home, close to work or study?
  • What provision is currently available and whether this meets your needs and those of your child.

Whatever form of care you choose you must plan ahead if you can. Ideally you should start considering your options as soon as you are sure childcare will be needed, and be prepared to visit several childcare providers.

Always prepare questions and think of any issues you may want to bring up before you make your choice. Make notes as you go along, this will be a useful reminder for you and also places the arrangement on an organised and professional footing from the start

What to look for in good quality childcare

  • The relationship between adult and child
  • The relationship between the children
  • The size of the group and the number of carers
  • The relevant training and experience of carers
  • The knowledge and understanding of children's developmental needs
  • The working partnership between parents and carers
  • The ability to structure and support the child's learning
  • The activities offered are appropriate for the age group and includes elements of imagination, challenge and adventure
  • The environment encourages respect for peoples individuality, awareness of the cultural diversity of society, and that practices are non-discriminatory
  • The children are involved in planning and choosing activities and projects.

Please remember it is not always appropriate for each type of childcare provider to have the same range of activities, e.g. it would be difficult for a childminder to set up his/her living room in the same way as a day nursery would set out a room. Take your time before you decide where to place your child, visit several times if necessary.

When you visit

  • Are you and your child made welcome?
  • Do the other children look happy?
  • Do they play and talk together or is any child alone looking sad and unnoticed?
  • Do the children talk to the adults?
  • Do the adults seem to enjoy being with the children?
  • Are there plenty of toys, books and play equipment, including dressing-up clothes and a home corner set out for the children's use?
  • Are natural materials such as sand, water, etc, used regularly?
  • Is the children's artwork displayed in a way that values the work and is it at child level?
  • Do activities take into account the children's age, cultural background and any special needs?
  • Do the toys, books, equipment, activities, displays and staff show a positive attitude to children of both sexes and of all races, religious cultures, and disabilities?
  • Is the menu varied, nutritional, and does it introduce children to food from different cultures?
  • Are the premises clean, well kept and safe?
  • Are you encouraged to settle in your child?
  • Will you be consulted on your child's welfare and development?
  • Has the day carer provided you with information about their service and policies?
  • Always agree a contract and have a copy of the agreement for yourself

Registration and Inspection

Tameside Council is committed to quality childcare for young children. Parents need to help and support day carers in this process by asking for high standards and choosing the provision that best meets their needs.

The following day care providers are required to be registered and regularly inspected by Ofsted.

  • Childminders
  • Private day nurseries
  • Childminders
  • Pre-school/playgroups
  • Crèches
  • Out of school schemes
  • Nannies who look after children from more than two families.

All registered day care providers will hold a registration certificate, issued by Ofsted, and should display it on their premises.

Providers of care who are required to register must meet specified standards relating to the suitability of carers, safety of premises and facilities, the care given to children, insurance and record keeping.

If you have any complaints or concerns regarding the quality of any day care provision contact Ofsted Tel. No. 0300 123 1231


Tameside Families Information Service adheres to the Council Complaints Policy. If you have any complaints or concerns about Tameside Families Information Service contact the Complaints Officer. Any complaints will be treated seriously and constructively.

For more information contact:

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Family Information Service (FIS)
St Peter’s Children’s Centre
Trafalgar Square
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0LL
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0161 342 4260
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