Average childcare costs

Childcare costs can take up a large chunk of your family’s income. If you’re planning to return to work, it’s essential to budget carefully and claim all the help that’s available.

How much does childcare cost?

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

  • £138 a week part-time (25 hours)
  • £263 a week full-time (50 hours).

The average cost for families using an after-school club for five days is £62 a week.

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

Source: Childminder and nursery costs from Family and Childcare Trust, 2020

The tables below give you an idea of how much different childcare might cost 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 two)

£118 a week

£164 a week

Day nursery (25 hours for a child under two)

£138 a week

£180 a week

Part-time nanny (25 hours)

£250 – £400 a week, including tax and National Insurance contributions

'Pocket money’ of around £70 – £85 a week, plus room and board

Source: Childminder and nursery costs from Family and Childcare Trust, 2021 part-time nanny guideline wages from Nannyplus.co.uk and au pair pocket money rates from the GOV.UK website.

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 two)

£228 a week

£303 per week

Day nursery (50 hours for a child under two)

£263 a week

£321 a week

Live-in nanny (50 hours)

£400 – £650 a week, plus:

  • tax
  • National Insurance
  • room and board

£433 a week, plus:

  • tax
  • National Insurance
  • room and board

Daily nanny (50 hours)

£500 – 800 a week, plus:

  • tax
  • National Insurance
  • room and board

£616 a week, plus:

  • tax
  • National Insurance
  • room and board

Source: Childminder and nursery costs from and part-time nanny guideline wages from Nannyplus

Informal or free childcare

Type of childcare
How much does it cost?

£5 – £10 per three-hour session

Depends on your household income - some play sessions can be free.

Free if it’s part of the state school system.

Can be free, but if you intend to pay a family member for childcare, you might not qualify for help with childcare costs.

Technically free, but you’ll need to factor in loss of income, and you 

Average price of an after-school club

The average cost is £62 a week in the UK, which is nearly £3,224 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.

Type of childcare
After-school club
Childminder to 6pm

Great Britain

£62.13

£71.06

England

£62.56

£71.55

Scotland

£62.86

£69.91

Wales

£54.13

£63.65

Source: Childminder and nursery costs from Family and Childcare Trust, 2021

Holiday childcare costs

In 2021 the average price of holiday childcare was £138 per week in the UK.

Nation
Average Holiday Childcare Prices

England

£139.60

Scotland

£123.22

Wales

£129.77

UK

£138.06

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

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 many things to consider. One is the impact on your income and career, and childcare costs both now and in the future.

To find out how childcare costs affect your income, try our free and easy-to-use Budget Planner

There’s help available when you have a baby – including benefits and grants from the government and your employer.

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

Here are some sites that could help you debate the pros and cons:

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