The Education Network for Waltham Forest
Supported by Waltham Forest

Opening a pre-school or day nursery

Early Years Foundation Stage


Pre-schools usually offer 3 hour sessions during term time. Children often attend for morning or afternoon sessions. Children can also bring in a packed lunch and stay through the lunch break in order to run two sessions together. A full day at pre-school would be the same length as a school day - between the hours of 8.30am and 3.30pm. Most pre-schools have the same term dates as local schools. Pre-schools usually take children from the age of 2, and they can attend until compulsory school age (if parents defer a reception place). The ratio for two-year-olds is 1 adult to 4 children. The ratio for three-to-five-year-olds is 1 adult to 8 children.


Day Nurseries

Day nurseries provide care and education for children from as young as six weeks to compulsory school-aged children. There are different types of day nurseries e.g. privately run, community, council or workplace, but they must all be registered and regularly inspected by Ofsted and have to comply with strict guidelines on staff/children ratios. Opening hours will tend to fit in with an average working day of 8am to 6pm, and care is usually provided all year round.


Support available

The Early Years Foundation Stage section of The Hub outlines all of the requirements that pre-schools and day nurseries need to be aware of to comply with their legal obligations. Once you are familiar with these requirements, you can e-mail the Education Business Support team who will direct you to the most appropriate officer to provide support, advice and guidance in their area of work.

a) Learning, Development & Assessment Requirements

  • Early Years Improvement Consultant (0-4 years)

b) Safeguarding & Welfare Requirements

  • Education Business Consultant
    Advice on employment, health & safety (non-premises related), equality, data protection, safeguarding/duty of care, legal status of organisation, accounting/finance and business planning, information on the type of childcare we need and where it is needed.
  • Premises Advisor
    Advice on meeting the 'Managing Health & Safety in a Childcare Premises' requirements (document available on The Hub), building regulations and planning requirements.

We strongly recommend that you contact the Education Business Support team at your earliest convenience to benefit from this service. Each of the officers/services above will provide you with a written report, free of charge, stating all of the requirements for their respective area and the actions required where these are not being met. This will assist you in ensuring that any business and action plans that you have in place to set up your childcare provision are robust and cover all the required areas. This will ultimately assist in ensuring the quality and success of your provision.

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Last updated: 
Friday, 15 July, 2016
Last updated: 15 July 2016 by Barry Fong