If we are providing Stay & Play, Crèche and Playgroup activities these sessions can be found in our current Activities Diary click-here to view

For information on Day Nursery provision click on the Quick Link at the top of this page

For information on Childminders or help with paying for Childcare contact Norfolk Family Information Service (FIS) by calling 0344 800 8020 or click here

The different forms of childcare are described below:

Approved Child carers

  • Offers childcare in the child’s own home
  • Can be a particular benefit for parents who work unconventional hours, and for children with additional needs
  • Parents may benefit from tax credits



  • Are self employed and provide care for between one and six children under 8 years old, in the childminder’s own home
  • May care for additional children aged between 8 and 15 years old
  • May drop and pick up children from school or playgroup, and can provide flexible opening times for overnight and weekend care
  • Accredited childminders can offer Nursery Education Funded places



  • Provide short term on site care, often based in shopping centres, sport or learning facilities
  • Children are cared for while parents attend specific training, sport or leisure facilities
  • Most provide care for children aged 0-8 years


Day Nurseries

  • Are private providers offering care for children from 0-5 years
  • Children are cared for in age groups, and take part in a wide range of group activities
  • Have fixed opening times, and most are open all year round, excluding weekends
  • Accredited nurseries are eligible for Nursery Education Funding


Maintained Nursery Settings

  • Are based on school sites
  • Offer teacher supported learning though play, based around the Foundation Stage (Birth to 3) Curriculum, for 3 and 4 year olds prior to their entry to school
  • Open during term time only


Pre-Schools (Playgroups)

  • Provide sessional and wrap-around care, and learning through play for pre-school children
  • Offer an introduction to group play away from Parents or Carers
  • Some may offer Nursery Education Funded places


Free Early Leaning and Childcare for three and four year oldsYour child will be entitled to 15 hours a week over a minimum of 38 weeks a year, completely free of charge.

You can take the hours over three, four or five days a week, usually between Monday to Friday.

You can use your 15 hours in a combination of ways between the hours of 8am and 6pm this could help you return to work, take up training or get a better balance between work and family life.

Some childcare providers may offer set ‘sessions’ but others will offer greater flexibility

You can use two different providers to make the most of your entitlement if it suits your needs.

Talk to your provider about your ideal package of early leaning and childcare. If other parents want the same thing, your provider may be able to adapt to provide it.

How does it work?

Find a registered early learning and childcare provider that you want to use and talk to them directly about a free, flexible place for your child.

They will ask you to fill in a claim form, which they will use to claim the funding for your free place from the local authority.

Your child may be able to attend for more than 15 hours a week. Your childcare provider will charge you (at their hourly rate) for the additional time used.

When can my child have a free place?

If you child’s third birthday is on or between: Your free, flexible place starts from the following:
 1 January and 31 March 1 April
 1 April and 31 August 1 September
 1 September and 31 December 1 January




To be eligible your family must be in receipt of ONE of the following· Income Support Benefit

· Council Tax Benefit

· Attendance Allowance

· Child Tax Credit (above the basic family element )

· Housing benefit

· Working Tax Credit (at the higher level)

· Income based on Job Seekers Allowance

· Support under part VI of the Immigration & Asylum Act 1999

· Pension Credit

And also meet one of the following criteria:

Children with additional needs, including English as a second language

Children vulnerable due to circumstances within the family e.g. large family or teenage parent.

Parents with health issues or disabilities (and referred by a health visitor, doctor or other professional) Evidence must be provided to the children’s centre.

How can I benefit?

Your family could receive up to 15 hours per week of free early learning and childcare over a 38 week period. This is based on school term times but may be accessed throughout the year.

How do I apply?

Contact Acle Marshes Children’s Centre or contact the Family Information Service (FIS) at or by calling 0344 800 8020