Preschool sector overview


Preschool sector overview

Sector overview

Preschools are childcare providers that care for children aged from birth to five years on non-domestic premises. They are distinguished from nurseries by their operating hours, generally running shorter sessions or for limited days at a time. All preschools however will be registered with their country’s regulator and can be run by commercial businesses, but also private individuals, and community groups.

Sector composition

There are estimated to be around 10,000 preschools in the UK. Many of these have been in operation for decades, and Morton Michel has been insuring this sector for well over fifty years. Although they can be run as commercial businesses, it is common for preschools to be charitable organisations, run by committees of parents or local people. They often have strong roots in their local communities, and close connections to other civic and religious organisations.

Service and delivery

Preschools tend to be smaller than nurseries and often share their premises with other organisations, operating out of community centres, church halls and similar venues. They usually operate on a sessional basis, offering morning or afternoon sessions to local children, rather than full day-care. This can be attractive to parents who work from home and who want to find local provision.

Despite a generally less formal atmosphere, Preschools are still regulated, and staffed by highly trained professionals who ensure children develop the early learning skills that give them the best start in life.

Trends and developments

Preschools have long been a fixed feature of British childcare, offering flexible provision, generally very locally to parents. As regulated providers, they are entitled to offer the free or subsidised childcare entitlement offered through local authorities, and they remain a popular alternative to nurseries for parents who do not need full day care.