Blogs > Useful Information / Life in the UK

Childcare Options within the UK

  • September 04, 2019

Relocating to the UK, can be a long and complex process, especially when you have children. In this guide, we take you through the different childcare options available in the UK to help you think about which option suits your family’s needs and budget.

A Childminder

A childminder is an individual registered to look after children in their own home. When speaking with a childminder, check they are registered with one of the following:

  • Ofsted (England
  • Care Inspectorate (Scotland)
  • Care and Social Services Inspectorate (Wales)
  • Health and Social Services Trust (Northern Ireland)

A childminder is self-employed, so, you will not need to worry about paying their tax or national insurance contributions. Most childminders work flexible hours, they can pick or drop your children off to school or playgroup and ensure they get breakfast/lunch/dinner.

Unfortunately, if your childminder is unwell or is on holiday, you will need to make alternative arrangements.

For a child under two, 25 hours of childcare will cost you an average of £221 a week. However, this price will increase the closer you get to London.

Day Nurseries

If your child is between ages six weeks and five years, they can attend a day nursery. Each nursery differs and they may be run privately or by local authorities. Day nurseries are typically open weekdays from 8am to 6pm and are typically, more expensive than childminders.

For a child under two, the cost of 50 hours of childcare at a day nursery will cost you £242 per week. This price will inflate the closer you get to London.

A Nanny

If you do not think the above two options work for your family, you may want to consider getting a Nanny. A Nanny is someone who will look after your child in the comfort of your own home. You can have a daily nanny, a live-in nanny or a part-time nanny.

The advantage of a nanny is that your child will be cared for in an environment they are comfortable with. However, a disadvantage is that you will be their employer, so, you will be responsible for paying their income tax and national insurance contributions. If your nanny earns over £192 a week (£833 a month) before tax, then you will also need to pay their pension.

A full-time nanny will cost you around £400-750 a week including their tax and national insurance contributions.

Au Pair

An Au Pair is an individual who lives with you and learns the local language and culture whilst providing around 30 hours childcare and help around the family home.

An Au Pair is paid ‘pocket money’ of around £70-85 per week plus a room and food. This option is much lower than other childcare options.

Au Pair’s are treated like a member of the family and so, you will not need to pay their tax or national insurance contributions.

Playgroup or Pre-School

If your child is aged between three and five years old, you may want them to attend playgroup. A playgroup typically offers three-hour morning or afternoon sessions during school term-term.

Playgroup can be a low-cost option if you just need care for a couple of hours each day.

Unfortunately, you will need to find alternative childcare during the school holidays and or the rest of the working day.

For a three-hour session, it will cost you around £5-15 depending on where you live in the UK.

Nursery School

If your child is three to five years old, then they can also attend nursery school. Often there is a nursery attached to a primary school. A nursery school will be open during school hours in term time and your child will be taught by qualified teachers.

If the nursery is attached to a primary school, it will be free for your child to attend.

After School Club

If your child is older than five and you work after school hours, you may want to consider sending them to an after-school club. The average cost of this in the UK is £57 a week which is nearly £2,200 a year during term time.

Relocation to the UK

If you are an international doctor and you need support with relocating to the UK and joining the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you on your journey to the UK today.

Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 35 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS!

References (2019). Childcare options. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Sep. 2019]. (2019). Average childcare costs. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Sep. 2019].


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