It totally depends on the area you live in, go and visit a few nurseries and childminders. I agree with the PP about the Ofsted reports, the remarks and comments are a better indicator, but nothing beats gut instinct and personal recommendations.
We booked ours over a year in advance (I was about 18 weeks pregnant) and even that was almost too late for two nurseries! In our area at least, there will always be something available, so don't worry you're going to be left stranded, but the most sought after nurseries (ie really good ones with reasonable prices) get booked up early. Though it does depend when children leave so it's not a straightforward waiting list of x time.
I found reading the Ofsted reports online helpful - not necessarily the marks (which were sometimes based on silly things) but the comments and descriptions of each nursery.
You could also consider a childminder as your baby will be very young for nursery. Contact your local FIS for a list but bear in mind that we work on a much shorter time scale, eg, 4-8 weeks in advance although some may have waiting lists.
It varies. Suspect in some areas you may struggle but you would be fine here. I would visit a few local nurseries and ask about waiting lists. Do you have any friends with children you could ask for advice?
Hi, I hope you can give me some advice re UK nurseries as I'm a little bit lost.
I'm 16 weeks pregnant. Baby due in November and I'll be taking about 6 months mat leave. So he/she will need to go to nursery for 3 or 4 full days a week from May 2014.
When do we have to start looking for a nursery? How long are the average waiting lists? We're in Herts (Bushey/Watford).
I have no idea about UK nurseries. I'm originally from Belgium where you have to put yourself on the waiting list from the moment you find out you're expecting, and often then it can be too late and you have to rely on family for s couple of months.
My partner says we have lots of time (he's English) but I'm quite nervous about this. We don't have any family near so no other options for when I go back to work. Also can't afford to stay off more than 6 months so we really need a nursery sorted for then.
If anyone can recommend a good nursery in our area that would be a bonus. Thanks!