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Childcare Providers and Childminders

This section offers guidance for childminders and childcare providers (e.g. nannies and nurseries). Check if, and when, you must register with Ofsted, the registration process, and the fees for doing so. Further information explains how to keep your details up to date and how to change a registration. Review what actions Ofsted can take if a childcare provider fails to follow the regulations.

The procedure for childminder registration takes place with the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted).

Most working childminders and childcare providers will already be ‘Ofsted’ registered.

Even so, you can use this childminder and childcare providers guide to get further information on:

  • Keeping your details up to date.
  • Changing your Ofsted registration.

Providers registered on the Early Years and/or the Childcare Register should use the early years Ofsted handbook for guidance. It sets out their policy on compliance, enforcement work, and investigation.

The handbook also clarifies any disciplinary action taken by Ofsted for non-compliance of childminder regulations.

Note: Childcare providers should report accidents and incidents to Ofsted. The early years online notification form serves this purpose.

Childcare and UK Law

One of Ofsted’s leading roles is registering childcare providers. They also provide childminders with the legal basis for the work they carry out.

The definition of a childcare provider falls under the Childcare Act 2006. It states childcare as ‘any form of care for a child, including education or any other supervised activity’.

In England, most of the providers who are caring for children under eight (8) years old (for more than two hours a day) will need to register with Ofsted. Childminders would be able to register with a childminder agency instead.

Note: You must be at least eighteen (18) to register and have the legal right to work in the United Kingdom.

Childcare providers who are ‘legally’ required to register will be committing a criminal offence if they:

  • Provide unregistered childcare.
  • Provide childcare on unapproved premises.

It is the responsibility of Ofsted to ensure registration goes only to people who are suitable and ready to provide childcare. Thus, making a false or misleading statement during the registration application is an offence.


Becoming a Childminder

There are several ways of becoming a childminder or nanny. The section explains who can join the Ofsted Childcare Register, the Early Years Register, how to apply, and the costs involved.

Being Inspected by Ofsted

The process of being inspected as a childminder ensures compliance with registration requirements. Check how to prepare, how often Ofsted inspect childcare providers, and how grading works.

Register as a Childminder (NIR)

Some key differences apply to the childminder registration process in Northern Ireland. You would need to register as a childminder with the most relevant Health and Social Care Trust (HSCT).

Register as a Childminder (Scotland)

The process of registering a childminding service in Scotland takes place with the Care Inspectorate. Check how to register as a childminder in Scotland and how to become a childminder in Wales.

Register as a Childminder Agency

Ofsted procedures for registering a childminder agency have several key steps to follow. The help guide explains how to apply, the associated fees, and how long the process takes.

Tax-Free Childcare (childcare providers)

The HMRC guide explains how to sign up to Tax-Free Childcare and get a childcare provider account. It will allow you to receive payments from parents who are using the scheme.

A Guide for Childcare Providers and Childminders in United Kingdom