Average childcare costs

Parents now pay an average of over £6,600 per year, for just a part-time nursery place, so it takes up a large chunk of the family budget. In areas like London, costs can be much higher. If you’re planning to return to work, it’s essential to budget carefully for your childcare costs and claim all the help that’s available.

How much does childcare cost?

The UK, the average cost of sending a child under two to nursery is:

  • £127 per week - part time (25 hours)
  • £242 per week - full time (50 hours).

The average cost for families using an after-school club for five days is £59 per week.

But there is help you can get with childcare costs, for example with tax free childcare you can get up to £2,000.

Find more information on our Help with childcare costs page.

The tables below give you an idea of how much different childcare might cost on average if your children are too young to qualify for free early years education (England only).

Part-time childcare costs

Type of childcare How much does it cost? (UK average) How much does it cost? (inner London average)
Registered childminder (25 hours for a child under 2) £113 per week £159 per week
Day nursery (25 hours for a child under 2) £127 per week £174 per week
Part-time nanny (25 hours) £250-£400 per week including tax and NI contributions  
Au pair ‘Pocket money’ of around £70-£85 per week plus room and board  

Source: Childminder and nursery costs from Family and Childcare Trust, 2019; part-time nanny guideline wages from Nannyplus.co.uk; au pair pocket money rates from GOV.UK

Find the right childcare option for you with our Guide to childcare options

Full-time childcare costs

Type of childcare How much does it cost? (UK average) How much does it cost? (inner London average)
Registered childminder (50 hours for a child under 2) £221 per week £303 per week
Day nursery (50 hours for a child under 2) £242 per week £330 per week
Live-in nanny (50 hours) £434 - £718 per week plus:
  • tax
  • National Insurance
  • room and board
£433 per week plus:
  • tax
  • National Insurance
  • room and board
Daily nanny (50 hours) £500-800 per week plus:
  • tax
  • National Insurance
  • room and board
£616 per week plus:
  • tax
  • National Insurance
  • room and board

Source: Childminder and nursery costs from Family and Childcare Trust, 2019; part-time nanny guideline wages from Nannyplus.co.uk.

Find the right childcare option for you with our guide to childcare options

Informal or free childcare

Type of childcare How much does it cost?
Playgroup or pre-school £5-£10 per 3-hour session
Sure Start Children’s Centre Depends on your household income - some play sessions can be free
Nursery school Free if it’s part of the state school system
Family arrangement Can be free, but if you intend to pay a family member for childcare, you might not qualify for help with childcare costs.
Shared childcare arrangement Technically free, but you’ll need to factor in loss of income, and you won’t get any government help.

Source: Netmums playgroup/pre-school costs

Find the right childcare option for you with our Guide to childcare options

Average price of an after-school club

The average cost is £57 in the UK, which is nearly £2,200 a year during term time.

The table below shows the weekly price for an after-school club and a childminder for five to 11 year olds during term time.

  After School Club Childminder to 6pm
UK £57.36 £65.70
England £58.17 £65.64
Scotland £54.17 £68.44
Wales £48.77 £63.14

Source: Childminder and nursery costs from Family and Childcare Trust, 2019

Holiday childcare costs

In 2018 the average price of holiday childcare was £133 per week in the UK.

Nation Average Holiday Childcare Prices
England £134.66
Scotland £124.44
Wales £124.85
UK £133.34

Source: Childminder and nursery costs from Family and Childcare Trust, holiday survey 2018

Stay-at-home parent

Whether you choose to work full time or part time or be a stay at home parent is a very personal decision.

There are a wide range of aspects to consider. One is the impact on income and costs both now and in the future.

Use our Budget planner to find out how childcare costs affect your income.

There’s help available when you have a baby, including benefits and grants from the government and your employer. Find out what you can claim.

Taking time off from a career can impact your future employment options and earning potential.

Here are some sites that could help you debate the pros and cons, Netmums, Babycentre, Mumsnetopens in new window.

Find out what help you could access in our Help with childcare costs guide

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