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Becoming a childminder

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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.

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

Once you have decided that childminding is for you, why not look at our resources to see what we have that you would find useful?

The wide variety of resources that have been created for you, have been produced by a 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 your self. 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. Page 6 includes information about those who are exempt from registration.

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.

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.

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.

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. The Government has introduced a 'Childcare Business Grant Scheme' whereby prospective childminders in England can apply for a grant of £500.00 to help with start up costs or £1,000.00 if you are setting up a childminding business to cater for children with disabilities. You can't apply for this grant until you receive your Ofsted or Childminder Agency registration certificate - but you can use the grant to repay your start up costs, so it is important to keep all receipts as you go through your registration process. You must be willing to offer Government funded places of 30 hours for 3 year olds in order to qualify for this grant. Please note: this grant is only available until March 2018- or sooner if the funds are all used up.

  • Registration fee with Ofsted will either be £35.00 or £104.00 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 £52 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. (unless you hold a current early years qualification). 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. Approximate cost £60.00
  • 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 at least 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. View [Childminding UK's shop] (/childmindingshop)
  • Ofsted may also recommend some other actions that you need to take before they will register you which may cost you money.

Online Childminder Introductory Training

This course consists of 5 modules and covers all the information you need to set up and run your new childminding business. There are no assignments or written tests to complete to pass this course. If you purchase this course and our annual membership together you will also get a £20 discount on the cost of membership.

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.

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.

Contact your Local Authority (LA)

You should contact the Early Years team at your Local Authority before you apply for registration. They will be able to provide information about any introductory training they offer in your area and 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.

Apply for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks

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. 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

Please note:

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.

Book First Aid training

A 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.

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

Book and complete introductory training

There is no specific introductory training course that you need to complete. Some Local Authorities provide training locally- this may be funded or you may need to pay for it.

Childminding UK have produced an online Childminder Introductory Training course which is available in our [shop]. The cost of this training is £100. There are 5 modules to complete- each taking around 2-3 hours. At the end of each module, you will be able to print off a certificate for that module. 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.

The following statements are taken from learner evaluation forms from our Introductory Training Course.

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 madness 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. 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.

Complete Ofsted Application

Applications must be made to Ofsted Online using a Government Gateway account which you can apply for here. All applicants must have the right to work in the UK.

The Heath Declaration part of the Ofsted application will need to be printed off and taken to your GP for completion. This needs to be done before you complete the online application.

Before applying, first aid and introductory training must have been completed (or a date given within 8 weeks when it will be completed) and DBS checks applied for.

The online process of registration has guidance notes to help you complete the forms correctly and the process will guide you through the application so that you only need to complete the sections that are relevant to you.

Ofsted produce a Guide to registration on the Early Years Register.

Ofsted registration 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.

To prepare for your inspection, you might like to read part 2 of Ofsted's document Early Years and Childcare Registration Handbook.

If you’re still not sure 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.

What happens next?

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.

You do not need to notify them 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. Notification costs £35.00 per year. 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

Marketing

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.

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.

Childminding Start up Pack

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