Childcare is available in Torbay through a variety of providers including childminders, pre-schools and out of school care such as breakfast clubs, afterschool clubs and holiday play schemes. Here you will find information on different types available.

The law does not state at what age children can be left alone. However, parents can be prosecuted for willful neglect if they leave a child unsupervised "in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health" (Children and Young Persons Act 1993)

In addition, the law does not state an age when children are legally allowed to babysit. Where a babysitter is under the age of 16, parents remain legally responsible for ensuring their child comes to no harm.

For this reason, the NSPCC  Opens in a new window does not recommend asking anyone under 16 to look after a child and advises the following when choosing a babysitter:

  • Follow your instincts, if in doubt don't use them
  • Ask for at least two references and contact the referees yourself
  • Choose a babysitter over 16 years old
  • Listen to your child and talk to your child about any issue of babysitting that they are unhappy about
  • If your child is unhappy about your use of a particular babysitter find someone else
  • Only use registered childminders, a list of local registered childminders can be found online

Search for a childminder

Babysitters are not registered with Ofsted which means the Family Information Service does not hold lists for this type of childcare. However, we do hold lists of registered childminders, this includes childminders that may be willing to do some evening or weekend babysitting.

For details of registered childminders in your local area contact Torbay Family Information Service on 0800 328 5974 or:

Search for childcare

Parents may also wish to find a sitter by asking a friend or a relative with children for a recommendation or by searching the web for babysitting agencies. If you use a babysitting agency you should be clear about how they vet their sitters, for example, ask whether they interview them, take up references and complete a Disclosure and Barring Service  Opens in a new window  check.

Further advice on good practices when leaving children alone can be obtained by looking at the RoSPA  Opens in a new window or NSPCC  Opens in a new window websites (search for babysitting) or by ringing the NSPCC helpline on 0800 800 5000.

Breakfast clubs are usually based on a school site and offer activities and breakfast before the start of the school day.

  • Ofsted registration: Inspected as part of the school’s registration
  • Age range: School age children
  • Opening hours: Usually from 8:00am until school starts
  • Cost: Varies between schools. Ask your child’s school for details

After school clubs can be based on a school site or run by a private business or voluntary organisation. They offer activities for children once school has finished. Some clubs will pick up from schools nearby if they are not already on a school site.

  • Ofsted registration: Must be registered if caring for children in reception class, otherwise they may choose to register through Ofsted’s Voluntary Childcare Register. If they are on a school site they will be inspected as part of the school’s registration
  • Age range: Usually 5 years to 11 years but some may take children over the age of 11
  • Opening hours: After school until around 6:00pm
  • Cost: Varies between providers

Childminders are self employed and work from their own homes providing childcare. Childminders attend a range of different activities such as outdoor environments, childminding groups and children’s centres.

  • Ofsted registration: Must be registered, to check their latest inspection report contact the Family Information Service
  • Age range: All ages, depending on their registration
  • Opening hours: Most work from 8:00am until 6:00pm but they are usually flexible, offering hours outside of these times. Some childminders provide evening or weekend care. Childminders can also pick up and drop off at other childcare provision and schools
  • Cost: Costs vary between each provider, most charge an hourly rate and this is usually around £3.50

If a childminders has been judged Good or Outstanding by Ofsted then they can provide 15 hours funded early education for 2, 3 and 4 year olds.

Holiday schemes are open during school holidays and offer activities and trips. They can be based on a school site or run by a private business or voluntary organisation.

  • Ofsted registration: Must be registered if caring for children in reception class, otherwise they may choose to register through Ofsted’s Voluntary Childcare Register.
  • Age range: Usually 5 years to 11 years but some may take children over the age of 11
  • Cost: Costs vary depending on the activities available and the sessions needed
Pre-schools are often located in places such as community centres and church halls and are run by voluntary groups or committees. Pre-schools can offer 15 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds.
  • Ofsted registration: Must be registered, check their latest inspection report
  • Age range: From 2 years to 5 years, some don’t take children until they are 3 years
  • Opening hours: Sessions are usually offered during term-time and can be morning and/or afternoon with similar opening hours to the school day
  • Cost: Costs vary between each provider. It is usually around £3.50 per hour.