Making a Choice
What the Government offers
Various schemes now require your Local Authority to pay for any child over the age of three for two-and-a-half hours a day for five days a week for thirty three weeks of the year. This tends to be for a nursery or pre-school place, but would cover child minding in special circumstances. Anyone receiving Working Family Tax Credits may find that more credits are available to help here. You need to ask.
The Benefits Agency has a good site, which can give fuller details:
Web site: Department for Work and Pensions
Longer cover than this (for example all weekdays) has to be paid for. At the age of five children move on into full time education at school.
Information regarding nursery and pre-school provision in the various Naval base Port areas, as well as for the remainder of the country can be found at:
Web site: ChildcareLink
What the Royal Navy offers...
Many parents feel that PRE SCHOOL EDUCATION is the key to a child starting off well in school before reaching the Government compulsory school age of five. In Naval Base Ports on Family Quarters Estates the Naval Under Fives scheme is popular, efficient and well organised. It is independent from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and charges fees like any other scheme but is set up for Naval families and dependents.
The Naval Base Ports & Air Stations have a number of childcare facilities, nurseries and early learning centres. These are either supported within the Dockyards or Base Establishments and have extended opening hours. All charge for their services, which are available to Naval and civil service personnel working in the base.
To find out more your first call should be to the local HIVE, as HIVEs have key local information for Service families, or call the RNCom HelpDesk who can also assist.
Web Site: HIVE Information Service
Web site: Naval Under Fives
Portsmouth Area -
All operate from 0730 - 1800hrs. There is usually a waiting list and priority is given to those serving at the relevant establishment.
Little Shipmates (HMS NELSON) - Phone: 02392 726106
Woodentops (HMS COLLINGWOOD) - Phone: 01329 332532
Merrytime (HMS SULTAN) - Phone: 02392 542229
Plymouth Area -
Open from 0700 - 1800hrs weekdays. Contact: Rogers Burrow
Daycare Nursery (HMS DRAKE) - Phone: 01752 555878
Clyde Area -
Open from 0700 - 1800hrs weekdays.
Clyde Nursery (HMS NEPTUNE) - Phone: 01436 821698
Open from 0715 - 1815hrs weekdays.
Helitots (HMS SEAHAWK) - Phone: 01326 574121 x 2662
Open from 0730 - 1730hrs weekdays.
Yeovilteenies (HMS HERON) - Phone: 01935 453731
Smaller establishments, Royal Marine and outlying units have nursery care from time to time or use local civilian services (see above). Army and RAF establishments do the same. In all cases a call to the local HIVE will give you full information.
If not in a base port area...
Web site: UK ChildcareLink
Phone: 0800 096 0296 - Government Childcarelink (free) number
Phone: 0800 028 3008 - For Northern Ireland
You can also ask at your local LIBRARY (or look at their notice board) or call your LOCAL AUTHORITY (all pre-school groups have to be registered and Ofsted inspected). All have leaflets and information to send that will be helpful.
Web site: Public Libraries
It is very likely that you will hear from friends and neighbours about a nearby PRE SCHOOL or notice one while walking to the shops. Being close by is very important. PRE SCHOOLS and all under five schemes are very popular so you may well have to go onto a waiting list. So it is good to get in early!
Child minding is done by a registered Child Minder who usually only takes care of a few children at a time (often just one or two) to let a parent have some free time or go to work. They are not educationalists but will be experienced at creative play and taking care of children. They charge a professional rate for this.
Nursery Schools or Play Schemes
In some ways these are little different to Pre-Schools. But often Nursery Schools or Play Schemes are less concerned to start education in any sort of formal way and more likely to focus on creative play, games, music and similar activities. But a lot comes down to the personal style of the people in charge. All Nursery Schools and Play Schemes will be registered with the Local Authority and liable to Ofsted inspection. Even if the set up is a simple 'Nursery' they still have a lot of rules and regulations to comply with to keep things safe.
Again to find out more your first call should be to the local HIVE, even if it is not Navy as they have the key local information for service families. If not call the RN Com HelpDesk who will give you a steer.
Web Site: HIVE Information Service
Alexandra House is a purpose built facility with an experienced and qualified team providing Nursery Day Care, Sessional Care and some short-term Residential care.
More Information: Alexandra House
Phone: 01752 781888
Crownhill Fort Road