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Becoming a childminder


What is a registered childminder and who needs to register?

The information we have in this section of the website is primarily for those of you who live in England and are planning to register as a childminder with Ofsted.

Some of the information on this page we have also produced as Youtube videos and have added links to the relevant sections on this page.

Childminding UK has a closed Facebook group specifically for people who are considering becoming a childminder or are in the registration process. If you would like to join, just visit the Childminding UK facebook page where you will find the groups listed on the left

If you are considering being a childminder in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, some of the information below will help you identify things you will need to consider before you make the decision to become a childminder, but the actual registration process is different for you. Below you will find links to the main contacts to help with your registration requirements.

Scotland Childminding Association Register as a childminder in Scotland

Wales; Care and Social Services Inspectorate Register as a childminder in Wales

Northern Ireland Childminding Association Register as a childminder in Northern Ireland

A wide variety of resources have been produced by our small team of childcare professionals who have many years’ experience of childcare including childminding and are qualified up to Early Years Professional Status. They have been designed to keep you informed and up to date and to save you the hours it would take to produce them for yourself. There are free downloadable resources and we also have resource packs, information e-books and online training that you are able to purchase in our shop.

Childminding is a very rewarding and important role and is not something to enter into without very careful consideration and preparation. In September 2014 the Government brought in legislation that Childminder Agencies could set up, so prospective childminders could choose whether to register with an agency or with Ofsted. The process of registering as a childminder will vary depending on if you register with Ofsted or a Childminding Agency, as all Childminding Agencies will set their own registration criteria and processes. Your Local Authority may be able to let you know if there are any Childminder Agencies in your area. The information on this website gives guidance for those wishing to become an Ofsted Registered Childminder.

There are certain conditions of caring for children that mean Ofsted registration is not required. Read the Ofsted factsheet Early Years and Childcare Registration Handbook or watch our Youtube video

Ofsted information that explains the '2 hour rule'

Information to consider:

Childminders work alone or with no more than two other childminders or assistants. Friends who care for each other’s children do not have to register if the care is without payment of money or for things like food and electricity.

If you intend to work with more than two other childminders or assistants, you will need to register as Childcare on Domestic Premises.

Childminders care for:

  • children on domestic premises – this is in someone’s home; it is 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
  • at least one individual child for a total of more than two hours in any day; this is not necessarily a continuous period of time.

Ofsted Registers

There are 2 registers that childminders can or must register on.

  • The Early Years Register is compulsory for you if you are planning on caring for young children (until the child has reached the end of the reception year in school)

The Childcare Register has 2 parts:

  • The Compulsory part of the Childcare Register is for you if you are planning on caring for children aged 5-7 years.
  • The Voluntary part of the Childcare Register is for childminders caring only for children over 8 years. (The Voluntary part of the Childcare Register is also for registered Nannies, out of school and activity/holiday clubs)

What if I live in rented/ leasehold accomodation?

If you live in rented accomodation you need to check with the terms of your rental/leasehold 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 clause if they choose to. Sometimes a proffessional conversation explaining the registration requirements, risk assessing etc. alongside what insurances are in place can help a landlord/leaseholder to see that there isn’t an 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.

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.

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 such as fire blanket, stair gates etc. yourself and make good any fixing holes etc. before you move out.

We have produced a FREE sample letter you can adapt and send to your landlord or mortgage company to help you request permission.

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.

Most childminders who care for both young children and children over 5 years, register on all 3 of the above

All Ofsted registered childminders have to:

Once you are registered your details will be published on the Ofsted website. You will have the option of whether your name and address are published or just your Ofsted Unique Reference Number. As you progress through your childminding career, your Ofsted inspection reports will also be available to view on the Ofsted website. Many parents will read these before choosing their childminder.

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.

How many children can childminders look after?

Registered childminders work from a home, so minded children benefit from being in a family environment. Childminders only look after a few children at a time so they can give each child lots of attention, meeting their individual needs. This is particularly important for babies, very young children and those with additional needs. Childminders can also care for older children so siblings can be cared for together in a real family environment.

Childminders can care for up to 6 children under 8 years. Of these, normally no more than 3 can be between the ages of birth to the 31st August following their 5th birthday. If children aged 4 and 5 only attend the childminding setting before and/or after a normal school day, and/or during school holidays, they may be cared for at the same time as 3 other young children. Normally only 1 baby under 1 year can be cared for. These numbers include a childminders own children and any children they are responsible for such as foster children.

Occasionally variations to the number of early years children can be made; for example, if caring for twin babies. But the total number of minded children under 8 years cannot go over 6 as this is the legal limit.

What will my start up costs be?

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.

  • Registration fee with Ofsted will either be £35.00 or £103.00 depending on which registers you join (to join all parts of both registers costs £35). If you register with a childminding agency, they will determine their own costs
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check fee for each person over 16 who lives or works in your home. Approximate cost £40 per person. Ofsted strongly recommend that each person also signs up for the DBS Update Service which has an annual fee of £13 and will allow future employers to check the persons DBS satus without them having to undergo more DBS checks.
  • A full paediatric First Aid course needs to be in place before you can apply to Ofsted. Approximate cost £100.00
  • Introductory training that meets the requirements of the EYFS and equips you to start your own childminding business needs to be in place before you can apply to Ofsted. Our online Childminder Introductory Training course is priced at only £100 giving you a saving of £30 on the shop price of individual modules.
  • 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 for £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
  • Safety equipment. Fire detection and control equipment such as a fire blanket and atleast one smoke alarm on each floor of your home and appropriate first aid kit(s) must be provided. These items have variable costings depending on which you buy.
  • GP fee. Varies greatly as each surgery decides their own fees for completing the Health Declaration form.
  • Toys and equipment costs will vary depending on your individual circumstances and what you have already. You may need to purchase extra child car seats, double buggy or travel cot etc.
  • You will also need to make sure that your house and garden are safe and may need to carry out some improvements - i.e. repair existing fencing in garden.
  • You may choose to purchase some childminding resources such as policies and procedures.
  • Ofsted may also recommend some other actions that you need to take before they will register you which may cost you money.
Childminding UK Members can access discounts on first aid training and products

Online Childminder Introductory Training Course

If you purchase this course and our annual membership together you will also get a £20 discount on the cost of membership.

Common Core Training for the Childcare Register

For those registering only on the Childcare Register we have the Common Core Training for the Childcare Register. There are no assignments or written tests to complete to pass either of these courses.

There are 5 main steps to registration

There is no particular childminding introductory training course that you must complete. There are several available and you can choose the one most suitable for you. If you are registering on the Early Years Register, make sure you choose one that covers how to implement the EYFS as this is compulsory. Some heavily discounted courses do not cover everything you need.

The whole registration and training process can take several months. You must have a secure postal address where Ofsted can post legal documents to. In addition you will provide an email address for Ofsted to send you electronic information. This email address must be your email address only and not one shared with others. If you currently have one email address for your whole family, you will need to create an individual one for Ofsted to use. It is worth considering the name of this email address as your parents and prospective parents will be using it too.

Your Local Authority (LA)

Your Local Authority's Early Years team may be able to provide information about any support you can expect from them; both during your registration process and when you are working as a childminder. Many Local Authorities run briefing sessions for pre-registration childminders too. Ofsted provide a briefing session that some Local Authorities deliver in their area.

You can find details of your Local Authority on the website

1. Apply for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks

Due to the Coronavirus, there has been changes to the processing of DBS checks identity verifying, so you will still be able to have these completed during the crisis

You and anyone connected to your childminding business, including household members over the age of 16 need to have DBS checks. You will need to pay for these checks yourself. The Ofsted webpage People connected with Ofsted-registered childcare explains more about others who Ofsted need to know about. Everyone who has a DBS check will receive a copy of their disclosure by post. Each person must apply for their own DBS check using the Ofsted DBS Application Portal. More about DBS checks.

Please note:

Links to the Ofsted DBS portal are also included in the Ofsted online application form.

Ofsted Strongly recommend that each person also apply for the DBS update service which costs £13.00 per year and needs to be applied for either at the same time as they apply for DBS checks, or up to 30 days afterward you receive your DBS certificate. Read more on the Ofsted website

Ofsted say 'Providers are not required to renew their update service subscription once they are registered'.

  • The email address used to sign up for the update service will receive an email when renewal fees are due. If you are paying for the DBS and update service for your family members and want to continue with the update service, consider using your email address so that you get the email reminders that the update fee is due.
  • Payment is by debit card and you can select for the annual payment to be taken each year- if you change your debit card, you will need to make alternative payment arrangements in good time for the payment(s) to be made.

2. Book and complete your First Aid training and Introductory Training

Due to the Coronavirus it isn't possible at the moment to attend First Aid training but some companies have started arranging courses and taking bookings.

First Aid A full 12- hour Paediatric First Aid course must be completed and then updated every 3 years. You can choose which training provider you use for this training. The EYFS states on page 21 that training should preferably be a nationally approved or accredited first aid qualification or one that is a member of a trade body with an approved monitoring scheme. But the course must cover the course content as for St. John Ambulance or Red Cross paediatric first aid training. You can choose to attend for the full 12 hours or choose a 'blended' course where you complete 6 hours online and then 6 hours in the classroom.

Your training provider should know if their course is compatible with EYFS requirements.

The training you will need to complete will depend on whether you are registering on the Early Years Register or the Childcare Register. There is no specific introductory training course that you need to complete as long as it is suitable training for the type of childminding you will be doing.

Early Years Register with or without the Childcare Register

Section 3.24 of the EYFS states that 'childminders must have completed training which helps them to understand and implement the EYFS'. You have the choice of choosing a qualifying course or a non qualifying course. Qualifying courses always have a requirement of tutor marked assignments

Childminding UK have produced a Level 3, CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Accredited and Ofsted recognised online Childminder Introductory Training course which is available in our shop. CPD is the term used to describe learning activities that have been assessed as a structured, practical and methodical approach to learning; to enable learners to develop and enhance their abilities. Our course has been written by childminding specialists with over 35 years of experience.

The cost of our training is £100. There are 5 modules to complete - each taking around 3 - 4 hours. The assessment needed to pass is all contained within the course. Once you have successfully completed each module, you will be able to print off a certificate. Once you have completed all 5 modules, you will be able to access your Childminding Introductory Training Certificate which you will need to show to Ofsted at your registration visit.

Childcare Register only

Childminding UK have produced a Level 3, CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Accredited and Ofsted recognised online Chommon Core Training for the Childcare Register course which is available in our shop

The cost of this course is £100. There are 4 modules to complete- each taking around 3-4 hours. The assessment needed to pass is all contained within the course. Once you have successfully completed each module, you will be able to print off a certificate. Once you have completed all 5 modules, you will be able to access your Childminding Introductory Training Certificate which you will need to show to Ofsted as part of your registration process.

You can access our support helpline on 0845 838 3724 with any questions about the course or setting up your new childminding business.

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

This will depend on how long ago you achieved your qualification and what if any training you have completed since. The main areas to consider are:

  • EYFS (if registering on Early Years Register)
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Leading and Managing a Childminding Setting - information about running a childminding business such as tax and insurance information, interviewing with parents, balancing the needs of your family and your childminding and marketing your business.

Courses completed since 2008 will have included the EYFS. Safeguarding Training needs completing every 2 years. Qualifications do not include specific childminding information as they are for the general childcare workforce. The modules in our Introductory Training course can be purchased individually if you do not need all of the course. Still not sure? Give us a call on 0845 838 3724 and we will be happy to discuss your individual requirements. Or use our Direct Lines: Elaine 01536 711809 Tina 01536 502870 Cat 01832 358651

Possiblity of funded Introductory Training and Support.

Thinking of becoming a childminder or starting out in early years?

If you are over 18, currently unemployed and would like to undertake Childminding UK’s Childminder Introductory Training Course or our Common Core Course, there is a possibility of getting this course funded.

Childminding UK work with different organisations who can provide funding and support for people who live in Northamptonshire or Milton Keynes.

You must be 'economically inactive' (you don't need to be receiving benefits) in order to meet the criteria.

As well as support to fund your initial training there may be support to obtain DBS checks, complete a Paediatric First Aid course and register with Ofsted as a childminder.

For more information, give us a call on 01536 210685.

Please note that due to the Coronavirus, you will be able to complete all the funding forms by email and complete all the training in the safety of your own home.

Building Better Opportunities Project

If you live in Northamptonshire and are currently ‘economically inactive’ there may be financial help and support to start your childminding business. If eligible you will receive dedicated Business Advice support for free and up to £200 to help with the start-up costs.

Support is provided through the Building Better Opportunities project which is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

Want to know more? Contact Nicola Baker-Jones at Building Business on 01604 434079

Daley recently contacted us and said that he had completed our Childminder Introductory Training and that he found it really good. He says he managed to sail through his Ofsted Registration visit because of the knowledge he obtained from the course.

Why not read what some other learners have said about our course on their learner evaluation forms.

Leading and managing a childminding setting module.

I am really impressed with the way the course is run. Module was easy for me to understand and engaging throughout. I am not the most academic person in the world and I was impressed that there was not jargon all over the place and there were great visual aids and links to websites. The HMRC info was very good also and easy to understand for someone who is not good with numbers!!

Understanding and Working with the EYFS module

Fantastic! Thank you! I'm currently a teacher and this has module has helped me look at the EYFS from a childminding perspective in preparation for my career transition

Developing Children's Learning module.

The handouts in this course are great - I have some great information but also practical pro-forma to use in my setting. Really enjoyed this module - many thanks

Contact referees

Part of the application process is to supply details of people who Ofsted can contact for references.You will need to add their details to the Ofsted application form. Consider people who can best support your application to work with children. It is good practice to ask their permission before you use use their names as referees. This way you can be sure they are willing to provide you a reference but also that they will know how to look out for it and be more likely to complete this quickly for you. Your registration can't be completed until these are received by Ofsted.

3. Complete Ofsted Application form

The online Ofsted application form can be found here.

You will need to have details of the training you have completed and your DBS Certificate numbers in order to submit your application - but you can complete some parts and save to return to later if you wish. Once completed, you can print or save a copy of your form and Ofsted will send you an email to confirm it has been received.

Once your application has been accepted, you will receive emails to inform of your registrations progress.

Ofsted guidance about applying to register as a childminder

4. Complete Health Declaration Form/booklet

The Heath Declaration form is part of the Ofsted application process and you will need to complete parts A and B1 then print it off and take to your GP for completion. This needs to be done before you complete the online application. Your GP surgery is likely to charge you for this service and they will let you know when it is ready for collection.

Please note You do not need to have a physical examination or even book an appointment with your GP to get this form completed. You should be able to leave it with reception who will contact you once it is completed. However, if you have an ongoing medical condition that you wish to discuss with your GP and any implications on you carrying out a childminding role, then you may wish to make an appointment to discuss.

Download your Health Declaration booklet

Please note that during coronavorus restrictions Ofsted have said: '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 showing the page and send with your unique reference number (URN) to [email protected] - this includes health declaration booklets'.

  1. Ofsted registration visit

**Due to Social Distancing measures, Ofsted inspectors may carry out your registration visit slightly differently. In all cases, Ofsted will ring you to book your visit and will discuss with you how they will carry out your visit. **

Once you have completed your Ofsted application, you will need to prepare for your Ofsted Registration visit. At this visit, the Ofsted inspector will check that you are ready to begin childminding and that your home is suitable to run your childminding business from. You will need to show that you have fully understood the requirements of the EYFS as Ofsted will not be able to register you if you cannot. Ofsted have information about your registration visit on their website.

What happens next?

Will you Name your Childminding Business?

As a childminder, you do not have to give your childminding business a name, but you can do so if you wish. Visit the Marketing page of our website for things to consider.

Once Ofsted have carried out their inspection and received all your security and health checks, you will receive your Ofsted Registration Certificate and it is now that you can begin childminding, but there are several other things you need to do as well.

Public Liability Insurance

This needs to be in place as soon as you receive your registration certificate and maintained even if you are not currently caring for children. There are several companies who provide this - but do check levels of cover as well as price as you need to make sure you have enough insurance cover. Some Local Authorities will state the amount of cover you must have if you are providing government funded childcare places.

Car Insurance

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 you considering shopping around and changing to another insurance company.

Registering with HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs)

Most Registered Childminders are self-employed and run their own business. See here for more information about your responsibilities for Income Tax and National Insurance.

Register as a data controller with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

Childminders must be aware of their responsibilities under the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998. Please note that on May 25th 2018, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) will come into force and thee DPA will cease to be UK Law. The UK will be creating a Data Protection Bill which will work alongside the GDPR

You do not need to register with the ICO if:

  • all your childminding records are kept on paper
  • you only keep information on your computer about the names, ages and addresses of the children and the names and addresses of the parents
  • details on payments on the computer are purely for accounts and record purposes

However, if you keep observations and plans for children's development on your computer, or use a digital camera (including mobile phones and video recorders) for observationsit is likely that you will need to notify the ICO. Register at Information Commissioner’s Office.

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. See here for more about record keeping. You will not be expected to have all your record keeping forms in place for your registration visit, but it is helpful if you know how you intend to keep your childminding records to discuss with the inspector.

Forms for most of the records that you will need to keep can be purchased in our shop


Part of running any business is to market and the service you offer. Think about how and where you advertise your childminding business. We have prepared some information and handy tips to help you with this. See here for more about Marketing

Being professional

It is vital that you portray yourself and your childminding business in a professional manner at all times. Registered Childminders can build an excellent reputation which will enable them to be more sustainable as a quality childcare option for parents and their children. Visit our webpage that highlights things to consider.

If you’re still not sure about if childminding is for you, our Guide to Becoming an Ofsted Registered Childminder gives you all this information and more in a handy downloadable booklet- available in our Childminding UK shop.

This film includes lots of advice from Childminding UK from existing Registered Childminders

Guide to Becoming an Ofsted Registered Childminder

This downloadable guidance will give you all you the information you need to help you consider 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.

Childminding UK Membership

We have created a great value Membership package for you: it includes all our online training apart from the Introductory Training Course, all our downloadable resources and forms and access to our telephone support line. All this and lots of discounts including discounts on Morton Michel public liability insurance.

Risk Assessment

This risk assessment form give you guidance on how to conduct your risk assessment and covers all the areas of your home, garden and outings you should need. Simply tweak to your own setting