Day Nurseries

Reading Family Information Service

To find out more about Day Nurseries please see below. Visit our advice and guidance page Nursery Schools & Classes for details of other nurseries.

Last reviewed June 2022.

What is a Day Nursery?

Day Nurseries are able to offer childcare and early years education for children from birth to pre-school 5 year olds. Nurseries usually open Monday to Friday throughout the year from 8am to 6pm, sometimes longer, to fit in with a normal working day. Children can attend full- or part-time with some day nurseries taking babies from a few weeks old. Day nurseries vary in size from small home-based settings through to purpose built 200 place units. They offer a wide range of activities and combine both care and early years education. May also offer out of school care for children of school age. 

What are the different types of day nurseries?

There are different kinds of day nurseries - privately run, community, council or workplace however they must all be registered and regularly inspected by Ofsted. 

All settings must meet the 14 national standards relating to issues such as health and safety, equipment and the care and learning they provide. 

They must also comply with strict guidelines on staff/children ratios. In general, these ratios are one carer for every three 0-2 year olds, one carer for every four 2-3 year olds, and one carer for every eight 3-5 year olds. 

How much do day nurseries charge?

Nurseries can be expensive, the average cost of a partime (25 hours, under 2 years) place per week is £147 (Source: Coram Family and Childcare, Childcare survey 2022) however there is help available for childcare costs. Visit for more details.

Why choose a day nursery?

A day nursery is ideal if you are looking for 100% reliable childcare - your child's care will not fall to pieces if a member of staff is away ill. 

It is also good if you are looking for continuity of care. As a day nursery can provide a funded early years education place, available from the term after your child's third birthday, your child can remain in this care until they start school, and may even be able to extend this care to after school and school holidays. 

On starting a nursery, your child will have a key carer who will be responsible for them, and with whom they can build a relationship more easily. This is particularly important for babies. It is worth remembering that this key carer will probably change as your child reaches different stages of his development and education - for example, most nurseries have a baby room and various toddler rooms, split into different age groups which your child will move through during his time at nursery. 

How do I find out more about choosing a nursery?

Please see attached Choosing a Day Nursery and Choosing a Nursery School / Class leaflets.

Contact the Family Information Service - 0118 9373777 (option 2) email - 

Related Advice

Childcare Providers Childminders Childcare - Frequently Asked Questions Out Of School Care Pre-Schools Childcare Costs Childcare Contracts and Complaints

Page last reviewed: 17/08/2022

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