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Universal childcare information
Good quality childcare and early education is not only good for children; it gives parents more freedom to work, study or train for a job too. But juggling work with bringing up children is not easy. Choosing childcare and early education is a big step for you and your child. There are lots of differences between types of childcare, early education or pre-school services and also between individual childminders, nurseries, nursery classes or out-of-school clubs. Try and give yourself enough time to visit several possible options in your area to get a good idea of what could suit your child. It can be a good idea to take your child with you to see how staff interact with him or her.

Additional information for children with SEND
There is a wide range of childcare provision that is available to parents to access for their children including nurseries and childminders. Some children’s centres and schools also have childcare provision. 2-year-olds for whom Disability Living Allowance is paid are entitled to free early education. All early years settings that offer the free 15 hour entitlement for 2, 3, and 4 year olds will offer childcare for all children, regardless of special educational need or disability (SEND). All early years settings have a special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) that can be contacted to discuss your child’s needs prior to attending the early years setting and who co-ordinates the provision for children with SEND once they start to attend the setting.  All setting SENCOs have access to the Sefton SEN and Inclusion Service – Early Years team and School Readiness Team who support the SENCOs and other staff members in the setting in order to meet the needs of children with SEND who attend the early years setting.

Are you looking for advice to help you choose the right childcare?

Click on the links below for advice and guidance to help you choose the right childcare:

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Are you looking for a list of childcare providers available in your area?

30 hours free childcare for working parents

From September 2017 an additional 15 hours of free childcare is available for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds.

Is my child eligible? 

The additional 15 hours of free childcare is for families where both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone-parent family), and each parent earns the equivalent of 16 hours a week at the national minimum or living wage, and earns less than £100,000 a year.

The additional 15 hours childcare will only be available if you continue to meet the above criteria.

Who provides this childcare? 

Participating schools with nursery provision, day nurseries, out of school clubs, childminders and playgroups.  It will be possible for your child to access up to two providers to access their entitlement.  A combination of hours can be negotiated with your childcare provider.

To see if you are eligible and apply online, please visit:

Alternatively, you can contact the Families Information Service on 0345 140 0845 or email

Interested in setting up a new childcare business or as a childminder?

Sefton Council offers advice and support to set up a new day nursery, pre-school playgroup, out of school provision or as a registered childminder.

This would include advice on completing registration applications and guidance on meeting Ofsted requirements, such as support in the preparation for Ofsted inspection, advice on staff ratios and qualifications, EYFS, statutory safeguarding and welfare requirements.

For more information please visit the "Setting up a new childcare business" page on Sefton Council website.

For more detailed information on becoming a regsitered childminder please visit our childminding page.

Alternatively, you can contact Sefton Families Information Service on 0345 140 0845 or email