The Family Information Service (FIS) provides free and impartial information on childcare and local services for families in Southend on Sea.

If you are looking for childcare there can be many different options to choose from. These can be either full or part time and include nurseries, Childminders and pre-schools, as well as breakfast and after school clubs.

  • Childcare providers must register with Ofsted's Early Years Register if caring for babies and children up to the age of 5 years, with the exception of three and four year old funded children in nursery classes in school.
  • Out of school clubs must register with Ofsted’s Early Years Register if looking after children under 5 who are not pupils of the school.
  • Ofsted Inspectors regularly make visits to registered providers and their reports can be viewed on Ofsted's website.

When choosing childcare it’s important to make sure the solution you choose is right for you and your child.

Search for Childcare Providers

The Family Information Service publishes information about childcare providers in Southend-on-Sea on the Southend SHIP Directory

Advice, Information and Guidance

For more information about paying for childcare, choosing childcare, the different types of settings, out of school activities and what to consider from your child’s point of view please see the related downloads below or visit the Southend SHIP Directory.

For more information about free early year’s education for 2, 3 and 4 year olds please click here.

If you require any further assistance you can contact by email at

Need help finding Childcare?

FIS also offers additional support to parents, carers and professionals who are having problems finding childcare or pre-school education that meets specific needs. The Service is available to:

  • Parents/carers who have English as a second language.
  • Parents/carers whose children have additional needs.
  • Professionals who are working with parents/carers.

Contact us using the Childcare Information Request online form or email

Childcare Sufficiency 

Please find attached Southend's latest Childcare Sufficiency report

Other Child and Family Services

The Family Information Service also holds information about various other Child and Family Services and Activities in and around Southend. Browse the SHIP directory or click the useful links below:

Children’s Centres

Baby and Toddler Groups

Leisure Activities (including swimming, dance, sports etc)

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and the Local Offer

Parent and Family Support Services, including Parenting Courses

Page last updated: 19/01/2017