Childcare in UK

Hello everyone!!! One of the most important question we are asked every day is

‘Is Childcare expensive in UK?’

‘If so then how much will it cost roughly?’

‘Are we eligible for any govt fund regarding Childcare with TIER 2 visa?’

‘Is it possible to go on with the expenses of childcare with one person’s income?’

These are very important and very basic questions when someone is moving to UK with family and kids leaving all the support systems at home. And if someone is moving to UK alone with kids and for any circumstances if their other half can’t join them then the thoughts of maintaining the family in a foreign land can scare the hell out of them. Don’t worry my dears. The point of this post is to give you a rough idea about child care.

First thing first. Is childcare expensive in UK?

Well I don’t want to sugarcoat it…..it is a bit expensive. There are few forms of childcare services available.

1. Day care nurseries and pre-school:
These are childcare services where they usually accomodate kids from 6 months to 5 years. The younger the kid the difficult to get the place and more expensive as they has to maintain a certain child and carer ratio and for older kids it is 1:8 while for younger kids it’s even 1:3. There are usually a hospital day care nursery in every NHS hospital. The timing is usually from 7.00 to 7.30 am to 6.00 to 6.30 pm. The cost is usually £800-£1200 per month for full time nursery place. When you are moving with kids try to look through the internet about the nurseries in that area and check there Ofsted rating. I myself looked for nursery places for my daughter and ask for brochures while I was in Bangladesh. The only disadvantage is they don’t have any out of hours services so it is difficult to do on calls when you are only relying on nurseries.

2. Nannies:
These are usually ladies who can look after your kids while you are away. They can stay with your kid at your home or can take them to their home. There are different agencies and website from where you can book nannies; e.g. childcare.co.uksitters.co.uk. The cost is usually £8 to £15 per hour depending on the area. But before you book any nanny be careful and always check their proof of identification, proof of address and references to avoid any fraud.

3. Au pairs:
hese are ladies who stays with you at your home. You have to provide food and accomodation to them. If you are lucky to get a good au pair they can become like a family member. There are different au pair agenies. Or you can look for Au pairs through the above mentioned website. They usually cost around £600 per month on top of food and accomodation. They are good option for people who are coming alone and their partner can’t join them for any unavoidable circumstances.

4. Childminders:
These are usually ladies who keeps few number of kids in there home. It is kind of informal setting than nurseries. They are also Ofsted registered so you can see there rating etc. They also do school drop offs and pick ups and keep older school going kids too. They are also quite cheaper £5-£10 per hour.

5. Holiday clubs, breakfast and afterschool clubs: 
These are options for school going children as school time is usually from 9 am to 3.30 pm. These are also quite cheap and usually situated in the school premises. The payment is usually one off during term (3 month period) and kids really enjoy it!

Next question are we eligable for any govt. help regarding Childcare?

The truth is in TIER 2 visa you are not allowed for any public fund. You can get 15 hours of free childcare once your child is 3 years old until they are 5 years old. Also you can apply for childcare vouchers which is part of your salary before tax cut. You can get upto £243 (around £90 more from the salary) from a childcare voucher and can use them to pay the nursery fees, childminder, school clubs.

The final question is it possible to survive with one person’s income if you have kids?

Well of course possible. If you do on calls your salary will be around £3000 after tax cut. And with our on calls it is around £2200. I am giving a rough estimation to cover both SHO grade and SpR grade. But it is variable based on your basic salary. And if u live in hospital accommodation or small towns away from big cities your living cost will be less as well as childcare cost. But one thing you have to keep in mind that you will not be able to save money in first few years if you have kids and may have some delay in career progression compared to others and have to accept these facts; as motherhood is never easy.

Thanks for reading this long post. I hope I could give you all a rough idea. If you have any questions or queries plz feel free to ask us and we will be more than happy to help you. Cheers.


Dr. Mahjabeen Rahman Rini
MBBS (DMC), MRCP (UK)

Trust Grade SpR (Elderly Care Medicine) at Russells Hall Hospital

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