It’s never too early to start thinking about nursery. In the UK, parents are typically expected to apply for a nursery place when their child is around three years old. However, there are some exceptions – for example, if you’re expecting twins or triplets, you may need to apply sooner.
In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about applying for a nursery in the UK, including when to apply, how old your child should be and the average cost of a nursery.
When to apply for a nursery
The recommended age for starting nursery is three years old. However, this isn’t set in stone – if your child is younger or older, they may still be able to attend nursery. There are many nurseries that can take younger children, from as young as 12 months old and can keep them through to pre-school.
If you’re considering applying for a nursery place, the first step is to find out when applications open in your area. This will vary depending on where you live, but it’s usually around six months before the start of the academic year (September).
In some cases, nurseries will be willing to accept applications and allow children to start part way through the term.
How old should my child be before starting nursery?
There is usually no minimum starting age for most nurseries, although some may have a lower limit if they don’t have the facilities to cater to babies around the age of one. Most children are around three years old when they start nursery, however, you should check with your chosen nursery as places may be limited depending on your child’s age.
The average cost of a nursery
Nurseries can be expensive, with the average cost of a full-time nursery placement for a child under 2 being £14,000 a year, or £250 a week which is on average £50 a day. This sounds a lot, but there are ways to reduce the cost, such as claiming childcare tax credits or using childcare vouchers.
The cost is reduced considerably once a child reaches 2, as they may in some cases qualify for 15 free hours a week.
The cost is reduced even more for children aged 3 and older, as they can be entitled to up to 30 hours free per week.
Childcare tax credits
In the UK, childcare tax credits are a government subsidy that helps parents pay for the cost of nursery. The amount of tax credits you receive depends on your income and the number of children you’re claiming for. You can claim up to £170 per week for each child, or up to £500 per week if you have more than one child.
Another way to reduce the cost of nursery is by using childcare vouchers. These are offered by employers and can be used to pay for registered childcare, including nurseries. The amount you can get depends on your salary, but it’s usually worth up to about £55 per week.
Applying for a nursery place in the UK can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By following our advice, you can make sure you apply at the right time and find a place that’s perfect for your child.
If you happen to live in South London, consider contacting Minnie and Mammas Daycare Nursery based in Mitcham.