Childcare and Early Years

Hillingdon Families' Information Service is the best place to get information about registered childcare providers in your area. They hold lists of registered childminders, nurseries, out-of-school and holiday clubs, pre-schools and children's leisure activities. 

Whether you're looking at childminders, early years centres, nurseries, playgroups or out-of-school clubs, the choice of childcare is yours and there is a suitable option for every family. There are a number of schemes to  help pay for childcare and further details can be found here

There are also many options for activities you can attend with your child at local children’s centres and libraries in Hillingdon.

Ofsted is responsible for regulating the quality of childcare provision and the registration, investigation, inspections and enforcement of early learning and childcare provision.

Their role also includes:

  • making sure that a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is carried out on anyone who provides childcare
  • staff are qualified to work with children
  • premises are inspected to make sure that all health and safety and welfare issues are addressed

Ofsted provides information about how they regulate childcare providers, how parents/carers can use that information when choosing childcare and what to do if you have a concern about a provider.

Read Ofsted's factsheet for parents and carers using childcare services

Things to look at when visiting possible childcare options

  1. Are the children calm, safe and happy?
  2. Do children play and talk together?
  3. Are the staff listening to children and answering them carefully?
  4. Are the staff friendly and proud of their work?
  5. Are the staff joining in with what the children are doing?
  6. Are there lots of fun activities planned to help children learn and play?
  7. Can children plan some of these themselves?
  8. Are there plenty of clean toys and equipment for children to use?
  9. Is the premises clean, well kept and safe for children with a fun outside play area (or will children go to parks and other places regularly)?
  10. Do parents have plenty of chances to say what they want for their child(ren)?

If there are other things you want to know, do not be afraid to ask. Good childcare staff expect you to ask questions and will be happy to answer them.

Search for childcare here

If you are unable to find childcare, Hillingdon Family Information Service will look for up to 3 available childcare providers that can offer a service to meet your individual requirements. You can complete their online form here

The SEND Local offer in Hillingdon provides information for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their parents/carers. It allows families to see what they can expect from a range of local agencies and how to access them.

For parents/carers of children who may have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), the following questions may be useful when choosing the right childcare provider: 

  1. What experience do you have of supporting children with additional needs?
  2. Do you have any specific qualifications for supporting children with SEND?
  3. Are your staff trained to give medication or to use specific equipment?
  4. Can I look around the building to see the rooms and outside play areas?
  5. Where will my child rest?
  6. Can you support my child’s dietary needs?
  7. What will my child be doing throughout day?
  8. How do you make your setting inclusive for children with SEND?
  9. How would you ensure inclusive interactions?
  10. Will my child be with a regular group of children? How old are they?
  11. How will you communicate with me about my child’s progress and needs?
  12. How does the setting manage during an emergency?

Education funding for children with SEND

There is different funding available to early years settings to use to support children with special educational needs and/or a disability. Further details are available from Hillingdon Local Authority here

Children’s Centres aim to support local families and carers with children aged 0 to 5 years through parent support and child development, within a caring and nurturing environment.  They offer a range of service and access to information in each children's centre, including: 

  • adult learning
  • antenatal and parenting courses  
  • parenting well-being support  
  • attention and listening support 
  • infant feeding support poster (PDF) [106KB]
  • antenatal breastfeeding workshops leaflet (PDF) [1MB]
  • Brush for Life 
  • home learning information  
  • speech and language support  
  • P3 (support and guidance with a range of issues, such housing, money and finance, health and welfare).
  • parent/carer and baby and toddler groups  
  • support and groups for families and children with additional needs or disabilities

They also host a range of partner organisations, including: Midwifery Team, Health Visiting Team, Hillingdon Adult and Community Learning, P3, Speech and Language Team, Occupational Therapy Team, IAPT, Child Development Centre, Perinatal Mental Health Team and Dieticians, The Richmond Fellowship.

All centres are able to offer advice on general parenting, such as toilet training, safer sleep advice, dental care, behaviour management and support for families with children with additional needs.  We can also support parent's general wellbeing. 

Find out more about their offer in our A to Z guide of children's centre services (PDF) [161KB]

If you are a Hillingdon resident please register with your local children’s centre here

It's never too early to start reading. Reading together increases literacy skills and helps to build a strong and loving relationship between you and your child. Research proves that children who enjoy reading do better at school in all subjects.

Hillingdon libraries have a wide range of activities to support throughout your parenting journey.