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Paying for childcare

Childcare costs differ for each provider.  Visit the family information services directory to find your chosen provider and find out the costs.

You can also download the average costs of childcare in Warrington [pdf] document to give you an idea of the usual charges.

Help with childcare costs 

To qualify for help with childcare costs the childcare provider you use must be registered by Ofsted.

Registered childcare includes:

  • childminders
  • day nurseries
  • pre-school playgroups
  • holiday playschemes
  • before and after school care
  • some home child carers e.g. nannies, who are on Ofsted’s voluntary childcare register.

If you use an unregistered childcare provider, you will not be eligible for help with childcare costs. Unregistered providers are providers such as:

  • babysitters
  • friends or relatives
  • unregistered nannies

There are different kinds of help you can get with the cost of childcare:

Available to all three and four year old children from the first day of the new term following their third birthday.

This is a new initiative by the government.  It means that free nursery places are available to a limited number of two year old children from the first day of the new term following their second birthday.

The child would receive up to 15 hours free early years education per week at a private nursery, pre-school, maintained nursery school/class or accredited childminder in Warrington .

Childcare element of tax credits - Bringing up children can be costly and expensive and the cost of childcare can put parents off returning to work. It’s true that childcare isn’t cheap but if you are eligible the childcare element of working tax credit can help to cover some of the cost.

In most cases you have to work for 16 hours a week to qualify, and you must use registered childcare. This can include childminders, pre-schools, day nurseries or home childcarers (registered nannies) who look after your child in your home.  

Your employer can provide you with childcare vouchers which can be used towards the cost of your childcare. Childcare vouchers enable you to choose your own childcare provider. Your childcare provider must be registered.

You can receive up to the following amounts in childcare vouchers each month without having to pay tax or National Insurance on them.

  • £243 a month if you’re a basic rate taxpayer
  • £124 a month if you're a higher rate taxpayer
  • £97 a month if you are an additional rate taxpayer

The vouchers may be offered as a benefit on top of your ordinary pay or through a ‘salary sacrifice’ scheme where you permanently give up some ordinary pay in return for vouchers.

Full-time higher education students with children can apply for a childcare grant of:

  • Up to £148.75 a week for one child
  • Up to £255 a week for two or more children

The grant helps with childcare costs for children under 15, or under 17 if they have special educational needs.

If you’re studying and aged under 20 at the start of your course, Care to Learn can help pay for your childcare costs while you are learning.

Further information  

Visit the GOV.UK website for information on each of these types of support.