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education & childcare

Day nurseries
For babies as young as 6 weeks childcare options are available from a wide range of day nurseries.  Day nurseries are usually open from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm all year, but hours do vary. Children can attend on a full or part-time basis.

Pre schools
Typically children can start at a pre-school from age 2 or 2 and a half (depending on the provider). Most offer sessions for around 3 hours in the morning, although some do also offer afternoons.  Pre-schools usually operate term-time only.  The number of sessions your child can attend is flexible to suit your needs (subject to availability) although some providers will set a minimum. 

Free Early Years Education for 2, 3 and 4 year olds
From the term after a child turns 2, families in receipt of benefits may be entitled to 15 hours free early years education. From the term after they turn 3 all children are entitled 15 hours of free early years education and some families may be entitled to up to 30 hours.  Funded places are provided during term-time until they start full-time school. This entitlement can be taken up at a nursery school, day nursery, playgroup, pre-school or childminder.  See our listings for local providers but please note that some don’t offer this free entitlement and set their own fees, so it’s important to check this out before making any arrangements.  Those settings who are in the free-entitlement scheme are allowed to charge for additional goods and services, such as lunch or trips. You can find a useful guide to the 30 hours free childcare here.  You can check your eligibility and apply for funding via the Government's Childcare Choices website. If you can’t find free places it is important that Hertfordshire County Council know this; your local Family Centre Service can help you pass on this information. 

Nursery schools
Children rising 4 (i.e. in the school year that they turn 4) can apply for a place at a state-run nursery school/class.  Many local nursery schools run either morning or afternoon sessions, five days a week during term-time. Applications are made directly to each individual school, usually in the Spring term prior to the starting date. You can apply for a place at any school but places are allocated by based on each school's admissions criteria, which will be published on their website. Some local private pre-schools and nurseries (also listed in our Pre-school and Nursery Schools sections) also cater for children in this age group and can offer more flexible sessions. Most of the schools are now offering sup to 30 hours of childcare in some form and this will be free for those eligible for the Government's 30 hours free childcare scheme. The format of the offering and number of places available varies by school and each has it's own eligibility criteria so you should discuss this option with each school.

Primary schools
Children rising 5 (i.e. in the school year that they turn 5) can start Primary School, but statutory school age is from the term after their fifth birthday. Primary Schools in Hertfordshire take children up to the age of 11 (Year 6). Some of the Primary Schools locally are split into separate Infant and Junior Schools - infant taking children from age 4-7, and Junior from age 7-11.  In addition to state-run Primary Schools, a number of Independent Schools are available in the area.

Secondary schools
From Year 7 onwards (the school year that the child turns 12) until the end of Year 11 (the school year that the child turns 16), they attend Secondary School. As well as state-run Secondary Schools there are also a number of Independent Schools locally.  There are a range of local options for Further education post 16.

Applying for state-run school
Applications for state-run Primary Schools and Secondary Schools should be made through Hertfordshire County Council the school year before your child is due to start.  More details on the school application process can also be found in our School Admissions and Appeals section or on the Hertfordshire County Council Website.

Applications to Nursery Schools are made directly through the school.

Hemel Hempstead's Children’s Centre can give advice and guidance on the application process for under fives.

Help with the cost of childcare
There is a range of assistance available to help with the cost of childcare. See the Herts County Council site for more details.  You can also find more information on the  The Daycare Trust website.

Tell Ofsted what you think about your child’s school     

Parent View gives parents the chance to tell Ofsted what you think about your child’s school – whether it’s doing a great job, or if you have any concerns. Parent View also lets you see what other parents think of any school in England - a useful source of information to make an informed choice about the best school for your child.

Parents can access Parent View on the Ofsted website at any time of the year, not just when a school is being inspected https://parentview.ofsted.gov.uk/