Childcare and Early Years

Non-registered childcare - au pairs, nannies, babysitters and crèches

Not all child carers need to be registered with Ofsted.

Au pairs, nannies, babysitters and creches may provide informal care.

Au pairs

Au pairs are a single person who travels to the UK wishing to learn English and live as part of an English-speaking family. They can help in the home for an agreed number of hours a week providing childcare and domestic support.

Home Child carer

There are no legal requirements if someone wishes to work as a home child carer, unless they choose to join the voluntary element of the childcare register with OFSTED. Home child carers cannot offer the early years funded hours for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds.


Nannies provide childcare in your own home. They can look after children of any age and should provide fun and learning in a safe environment. Nannies can often work flexible hours and can be a suitable option if you work at times when other forms of childcare are not available. There are different types of nannies


The law does not set a minimum age at which children can be left alone. But parents can be prosecuted for wilful neglect if they leave a child unsupervised 'in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health.' You must make sure that the young person you have asked is capable and will provide adequate care for your child. Therefore the NSPCC (link opens in new window) does not recommend asking anyone under 16 to look after a young child.


A crèche provides occasional care for children under eight years of age. Some crèches are in permanent premises such as sports facilities or shopping centres and are limited to children of parents using the facility. The length of time the child spends in the creche will be restricted.

Other crèches run on a temporary basis and are set up to care for children while their parents are involved in activities such as a conference or exhibition.