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Becoming a childminder

You don’t need any prior qualifications or experience to set yourself up as a childminder. All you’ll need is to complete a registration process that ensures safety and quality of care for the children you’ll look after.

Watch: Advice for prospective childminders

What is a childminder?

Someone registered to provide paid childcare from their own home for children under 8 years old. They usually work alone or with up to two other childminders.

You must register as a childminder if all of the following apply:

  • you’ll be paid to care for someone else’s children
  • the children are under 8 years old
  • the care lasts over 2 hours on any day
  • you’re working from domestic premises, usually your own home.

5 steps to Ofsted registration

Although registering as a childminder is a simple process there are a number of steps you’ll need to complete.

Watch: 5 steps to becoming a childminder

Common questions

How long will it take and what will it cost?

Watch: What will I need and what will it cost?

The entire process may take a few months. As with any business, there are costs involved in becoming a registered childminder. There are no grants available to help with start up costs, but keep receipts for all that you spend as you will be able to add them as expenses for tax purposes once you are registered.

Ofsted Registration fee

If you register with a childminding agency, they will determine their own costs.
Cost: £35.00 or £103.00 depending on which registers you join

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check

For each person over 16 who lives or works in your home.
Cost: £40 per person

DBS Update Service

Ofsted strongly recommend that each person also signs up for the DBS Update Service which will allow future employers to check the persons DBS status without them having to undergo more DBS checks.
Annual fee: £13

Full paediatric First Aid course

Needs to be in place before you can apply to Ofsted.
Approximate cost: £100

Introductory training

Meeting the requirements of the EYFS and equipping you to start your own childminding business.
Cost: £120 (Childminding UK Online Childminder Introductory Training course)

Public Liability insurance

Has to be in place as soon as you register even if you don’t have minded children. Childminding UK works closely with Morton Michel who offer a comprehensive policy for childminders.
Cost: £59.50 (discounted by £6.55 for Childminding UK members)

Car/house insurance

Some companies charge additional premiums to include business use or contents cover if you are childminding.
Cost: Varies

Safety equipment

Fire detection and control equipment such as a fire blanket and at least one smoke alarm on each floor of your home and appropriate first aid kit(s) must be provided.
Cost: Varies

Health Declaration form

GP fee for Health Declaration form.
Cost: Varies greatly as each surgery decides their own fees

Toys and equipment

Costs will vary depending on your individual circumstances and what you have already.
Cost: Varies

Child transport

Extra child car seats, double buggy or travel cot etc.
Cost: Varies

Home and garden safety

Improvements to house and garden to ensure safety (e.g. repair existing fencing in garden).
Cost: Varies

Childminding Resources

You may choose to purchase some childminding resources such as policies and procedures.
Cost: Varies

Additional actions

Ofsted may also recommend some other actions that you need to take before they will register you which may cost you money.
Cost: Varies

Do I need permission from my landlord?

Childminders care for children on domestic premises. This is in someone’s home (usually the childminder’s own home) but it can be someone else’s home. It is not usually the home of one of the children. As such you must ensure you’ll be allowed to operate your business from your home prior to registering.

Rented accomodation

If you live in rented accomodation you need to check the terms of your agreement to see if you are allowed to operate a childminding business from home. You will certainly need your landlords/leaseholders written permission.

There may be a clause in the agreement that states you can't operate a business from the house, but the landlord/leasholder can change this if they choose to.

A conversation explaining the registration requirements and risk assessment alongside what insurances are in place can help a landlord/leaseholder see that there isn’t a huge increased risk to allowing a person to childmind from the property. It is recommended that you discuss this directly with the landlord/leaseholder and not their agent.

There is tenants insurance for fixtures and fittings that a childminder can purchase to help reassure a landlord/leasholder their property is covered by insurance and allay any fears about extra damage to the property.

If you are allowed to childmind from the property expect to provide any extra safety equipment needed (fire blanket, stair gates) yourself and make good any fixing or holes made as a result before you move out.

If the landlord/leaseholder still insists you can't childmind from their property, there is nothing else you can do as it is their choice whether they allow childminding or not.

Download our template for writing a letter to your landlord

Mortgages

If there is a mortgage on the property, there may be a clause that says a business can’t be run from the property, but childminding businesses are often looked at slightly differently to any other business and may excluded from this.

I have a Level 3 or higher Early Years Qualification already, do I need to complete Introductory Training?

It depends on how old the qualification is and what training you’ve completed since.

The main areas you may be missing are:
  • EYFS (if you’ll be registering on Early Years Register)
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Leading and Managing a Childminding Setting (information about running a childminding business)

Courses completed since 2008 will have included the EYFS. Safeguarding Training needs completing every 2 years. Some qualifications do not include specific childminding business information (such as tax and insurance information, interviewing with parents, balancing the needs of your family and your childminding, marketing your business) as they are for the general childcare workforce.

You could consider completing the individual modules you’re missing rather than the entire course.

How many children can a childminder look after?

Childminders can care for no more than 6 children under 8 years old. These numbers include a childminders own children and any children they are responsible for (such as foster children). Of the six only three can be younger than 5* and only one can be under a year old.

Watch: How many children can I look after?

Exceptions to the rule

Occasionally variations to the numbers are allowed. For example if caring for twin babies. But the total number of minded children under 8 years cannot exceed the legal limit of 6. Additionally you may look after up to 6 children under 5 years old provided 3 of them only attend before or after school or during the holidays.

*up until 31st August following their 5th Birthday

If you’d prefer to discuss the process in person give us a call on 01536 210 685 and we will be happy to discuss your individual requirements.

Step 1 Pass Criminal and Health Checks

Ofsted require these checks to be completed prior to registration to ensure the safety of children within your care.

Coronavirus update

There have been changes to the processing of DBS checks to ensure you’ll still be able to have these completed during the crisis.

Obtain a full criminal record check (DBS)

You and anyone connected to your childminding business (including household members over the age of 16) must obtain an enhanced criminal record (DBS) check (with barred lists) before you can register. These cost £40 per person. Each person must apply for their own DBS check using the Ofsted DBS Application Portal.

Ofsted will only accept a DBS certificate within 3 months of the issue date. Because of this they strongly recommend that each person also apply for the DBS update service which costs £13.00 per year. This can be applied for on application or up to 30 days after you receive your certificate.

Download and complete a Healthcare Declaration Form

If you are applying to the Early Years Register you must complete a Health Declaration form. You’ll need to fill in parts A and B1 then print it off and take to your GP for approval and completion. Your surgery is likely to charge you for this service.

You do not need to have a physical examination or book an appointment with your GP to get this form completed. You can leave it with reception who will contact you once it is completed. If you have an ongoing medical condition you may wish to make an appointment with your GP to discuss the implications of carrying out a childminding role.

Step 2 Complete Essential Training

The training you need to complete depends on the ages of the children you plan to care for.

Watch: What training do I need?

Introductory Training Caring for ages 0-12

  • If you’ll be caring for children aged 0-12, you’ll need to complete an introductory training course. There are many available but not all courses will contain all the content you’ll need for registration. You need to ensure you select a course that covers how to implement the Early years foundation stage statutory framework (EYFS).

    Our course covers all the requirements of the EYFS necessary for registration plus extra information to help you build a high quality and sustainable business.

  • Course

    Introductory Training Course (Ofsted Recognised)

    CPD Certified Online Training Contains 5 modules £120.00

Common Core Training Caring for ages 5 and over

Order a printed copy of the 2021 Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Statutory framework

Wire bound and professionally printed, the EYFS is essential for any new childminders who plan to care for children aged 0-5.

Learn more

First aid training Legally required every 3 years

  • You must complete a full 12-hour Paediatric First Aid course prior to registering.

    The EYFS states training should be a nationally approved or accredited first aid qualification or one that is a member of a trade body with an approved monitoring scheme. You can attend the full 12 hours or choose a 'blended' course (6 hours online and 6 hours in the classroom). You must retake the course every 3 years.

Is my current training enough?

It depends on how old the qualification is and what training you’ve completed since.

Check if my current training is suitable

Financial support

If you live in Northamptonshire you may be entitled to financial support for childminder training. To check your eligibility call us on 01536 210 685

If you still have questions about training or the registration process give us a call on 01536 210 685 and we will be happy to help.

Step 3 Apply to the correct Ofsted register

You’ll need to ensure you apply to the correct register(s). This depends on the age of the children you plan to look after, although many childminders register on both.

Coronavirus update from Ofsted

At the moment we're finding it difficult to collect our post. If we have previously asked you to post documents to us, please either scan or photograph them clearly and send them along with your unique reference number (URN) to [email protected]. This includes health declaration booklets.

Early Years Register Ages 0-5

This register is compulsory for childminders looking after children aged 0-5 (until the child has reached the end of the reception year in school). When joining this register you can also join the Childcare Register at no extra cost.

Childcare Register Ages 5 and over

The Childcare Register has 2 parts. The Compulsory part covers childminders looking after school aged children between 5 and 8 years. The Voluntary part covers childminders caring for children over 8 years only.

Register on both If you plan to care for children of all ages

If you plan to care for children of both ages you can be added to both registers. Join the Early Years Register and then choose to be added to the Childcare Register at no extra cost.

Begin application on gov.uk

This information covers applicants living and working in England.
You may be looking for guidance on registering in Scotland, Wales or Northern Island.

Pre-registration checklist

In order to complete registration you’ll need the following:

  1. DBS checks

    For you and anyone you’ll be working or living with.

    More about DBS checks
  2. Training Certificates

    For essential childcare and first aid training.

    More on essential training
  3. Healthcare Declaration Form

    Shared with and approved by your doctor.

    More on declaration form
  4. A secure postal address

    For Ofsted to share legal documents.

  5. A personal email address

    That’s private and isn’t shared with others.

  6. Referee contact details

    Who’ve given permission to support your application.

Step 4 Prepare for your Ofsted visit

If you’re registering on the Early Years Register, an Ofsted inspector will visit your home in order to ensure you fully understand the requirements of the EYFS and that your setting is safe or the children in your care.

Guidance and checklist

Risk assess your home

Policies and Procedures Resource Pack

Although you won’t need to have all your policy documents in place prior to your Ofsted visit, it’s useful to have some pre-prepared to share with them. Our pack contains pre-prepared versions of all the policy documents you’ll need.

Learn more

Start up Resource Pack

This all-in-one start up pack provides the complete set of documents and procedures you’ll need to set up your new business with ease and accuracy and ensure you’re meeting the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

Learn more

Step 5 Your legal responsibilities

Once you’ve received your Ofsted Registration Certificate you can begin childminding but there are several other things you need to do.

Register with HM Revenue and Customs

As most Registered Childminders are self-employed and run their own business you’ll need to make sure you’re registered with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and ensure you’re paying the correct Income Tax and National Insurance. You also have a legal responsiblity to keep financial records.

Register as a data controller

Any business recording personal information electronically must register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and follow the Data Protection Act 2018 and the GDPR. If you do not record this information electronically (on a computer or other device) you may not need to register.

Purchase Public Liability Insurance

This needs to be in place before you start childminding and must be maintained even if you are not currently caring for children. Although several companies provide this it’s important to check policy details to ensure you’ll get sufficient cover. Some Local Authorities state the amount of cover you’ll need if you’re providing government funded childcare places. Childminding UK members receive discounted Public Liability Insurance from Morton Michel.

Check your home and car insurance

You’ll need to review your home insurance policy. Some companies charge additional premiums to include business use or contents cover if you are childminding. If you plan to transport children in your car, you need to be covered for business use on your car insurance. Some companies charge extra for this. If your existing company charges a lot extra, it may be worth shopping around and changing to another insurance company.

Keep up to date with your legal responsibilities

Our affordable membership package is the best way to gain access to all the benefits we offer including updates in legislation via email alerts, training, paperwork and our monthly newsletter.

Only £55 for the first year*

Learn more

*If you’ve purchased Introductory or Common Core training. Regular price £75 yearly or £7 monthly.

Start childminding You’re ready to begin

You’re ready to start offering childcare and we’re here to ensure your success with training and support created by our experts.

Childminder online training and CPD

Ongoing training

Keep up with your Professional Development with a wide range of training topics including safeguarding, food hygiene, nutrition, data protection and GDPR.

Downloadable Childminding policies, procedures, guides and forms

Time saving downloadable resources

Created specifically for childminders by our highly qualified and experienced team. Includes policies and procedures, risk assessment, posters, guides, all child record forms and more.

Become an Annual Member

Access all the benefits we offer including CPD Accredited online training, downloadable resources, exclusive discounts and telephone support.

Only £55 for the first year*

Learn more

*If you’ve purchased Introductory or Common Core training. Regular price £75 yearly or £7 monthly.

Preparing for inspections

Childminders are inspected regularly by Ofsted. The results and grading will be published on the Ofsted website. Many parents will read these when choosing a childminder.

Marketing support

Part of running any business is to market the services you offer. Deciding how and where to advertise is crucial to the sucess of your childminding practice.

Professional conduct

It is vital that you portray yourself and your childminding business in a professional manner at all times. Building a strong and reliable reputation will enable you to be more sustainable as a quality childcare option for parents and their children.

Accurate record keeping

If you are registered with Ofsted, you have to keep certain written records as part of your everyday childminding practice. This is a legal requirement and as such will be checked at your Ofsted Inspections.

Need additional support?

Once you’ve received your Ofsted Registration Certificate you can begin childminding but there are several other things you need to do.

Speak to Childminding UK

We are one of the support organisations for childminders listed on the Ofsted website. As a registered charity, we are happy to talk you through the registration process. Just give our friendly team a call on 01536 210685.

Join our Facebook Group

We offer a closed Facebook group specifically for people who are considering becoming an Ofsted registered childminder.

Download our guide to becoming a childminder

Our Becoming a childminder guide provides all the information you’ll need to decide if childminding is for you. It includes who needs to register, what you need to consider, set up costs, being self-employed, Ofsted’s role and where you can get support.

Support from the Local Authority

Your Local Authority's Early Years team may offer support or help during the registration process and when you’re working as a childminder. Many Local Authorities run briefing sessions for pre-registration childminders. Ofsted provide a briefing session that some Local Authorities deliver in their area.

Become an Annual Member

Access all the benefits we offer including CPD Accredited online training, downloadable resources, exclusive discounts and telephone support.

Only £55 for the first year*

Learn more

*If you’ve purchased Introductory or Common Core training. Regular price £75 yearly or £7 monthly.