Ofsted registers and inspects childminders in England.
If you live in Scotland you will register with the Care Inspectorate, in Wales you will register with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate and in Northern Ireland you will register with the Health and Social Care Trust (HSCT). The requirements and conditions of registration are slightly different in these different parts of the UK. The links below will help you to find details of your registration requirements.
Ofsted Registration Criteria
Childminders must be registered with Ofsted in order to look after children under the age of 8 years old.
Childminders caring for "young children" (until the child has reached the end of the reception year in school) must register on the Early Years Register
Childminders caring for children aged 5-7 years must register on the compulsory part of the Childcare Register
Childminders caring only for children over 8 years may choose to register on the voluntary part of the Childcare Register
Childminders should display this Ofsted parent poster
Most childminders register on all 3 parts of both the Early Years and Childcare Registers
There are two types of Ofsted Inspections. For pre-registration childminders, the registration inspection (usually called a registration visit) will determine the suitability of your home and yourself for the role of an Ofsted Registered Childminder.
For childminders already registered, your inspection will be graded. Ofsted inspection of early years providers will focus on children’s education and their personal and emotional development and the progress children make in their learning. The results of the graded inspections are published on the Ofsted website. Inspectors will check a sample of your documentation as well as observing you working with minded children.
Childminders who are only registered on the Childcare Register will not all be routinely inspected, but Ofsted carry out inspections on 10% at random. However, if there is a concern about the care provided by a childminder on the Childcare Register, this will be investigated by Ofsted and may result in an inspection.
If you are on the Early Years Register you will be inspected by Ofsted and receive one of the following grades
- Requires Improvement
If you are not meeting all the EYFS requirements you will be given either an Inadequate or Requires Improvement grade and you will be issued actions to complete. You will be sent a form that will need completing and returning to Ofsted once you have completed the actions by the date given.
You may also be given recommendations which are good practice tips to help you to improve the practice you have.
If you are meeting all the EYFS requirements you will either be given a Good or Outstanding grade based on the quality of the environment and experiences you provide for the children in your care and the quality of interactions and information shared with parents and any other professionals who are involved with the children. You will be given recommendations which are designed to help you improve the service you offer and either progress to an outstanding grade or maintain the outstanding service you have created.
If you have no early years children on roll or present at the time of your Ofsted inspection, you will not receive a grade but will be awarded either a met outcome that means you meet all the EYFS requirements, or a not met outcome which means that you don't meet all EYFS requirements.
Preparing for your Registration Inspection/Visit
The Introductory Training you complete will help you to understand all you need to know about setting up and running an effective childminding business. In addition to this knowledge you can do the following:
- read the EYFS document
- read the Requirements for the Childcare Register; childcare providers on non-domestic or domestic premises
- look at the document Registration Handbook
- risk assess your home and garden (if you have one), reduce any hazards and make sure you have any necessary safety equipment. We have created a choice of a blank risk assessment pro-forma which includes all the headings you should need and is ready for you to fill in with your own details of how you reduce the risk of hazards in your childminding practice, or we have a comprehensive risk assessment available to purchase which has most of the work done for you- you just need to take off parts that don't apply to you
- make sure you have all the resources that you need
- decide on what documentation you will be using. Consider if you would prefer to create your own documentation, purchase ready made products, or subscribe to an online record keeping system
- know how you are going to communicate with parents about your childminding service and share children's development
Blank Risk Assessment Form
This FREE resource is in an easy to use layout, includes instructions on how to risk assess and also has the headings you need to consider when completing your written risk assessments
Risk Assessment Form
This downloadable risk assessment form will save you valuable time as it covers each area of your home and garden and also includes travel, activities and outings. Clear instructions are given on how to risk assess and how to tailor it to your own childminding setting.
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Preparing for your Graded Inspection Visit
Education Inspection Framework - BLOG from Ofsted
The Education Inspection Framework is the new method that Ofsted will use to inspect all early years settings from September 2019. There is lots of information 'out there' about what is expected and so Childminding UK asked Ofsted if they would help clarify what the new requirements will be for childminders.
Wendy from Ofsted has produced this blog for Childminding UK's members and visitors to the website.
'We know from talking with childminders that they are interested to hear more about the new framework that Ofsted will be using from September 2019. To spread the word, we’ve held events around the country, speaking to early years staff, and held evening webinars for childminders too on what the new framework – the education inspection framework – will look like.
Some of the themes that have come out of our discussions show us that we need to say more about a few of the changes that childminders will notice.
The new framework is based much more around the importance of the curriculum – looking more closely at what is taught and how it is taught, with outcomes looked at in context, not in isolation. We want to find out about the quality of education children receive as a whole. I want to bust a myth right now; there is NO ‘Ofsted curriculum’. You don’t have to create anything from scratch! The EYFS (educational programmes) provides the curriculum framework that you build on when deciding what the children you look after need to learn and develop.
So, on inspection we will be talking to you about how you’ve decided what the children in your care need to learn, what they need to know and how your plan for this. We don’t want to see a written plan!
For instance, we will talk to you about those importance choices you make for children, which resources you’ve chosen, and why. Are you using music? What songs do you sing and why? What do the children like to do outside, and how have you added some learning opportunities to their outdoor play? What games do they like, and why? Do the children like painting or making things, and how does this help them learn?
Inspectors will be interested in the what, the why, and the choices you make to your children learning, remembering and doing more. Are children challenged enough by the curriculum they are offered. Are they building on their knowledge to really understand what they’ve learned and be able to apply it?
We’re also asked about ‘Cultural Capital’. What is it? Why is it important? It’s not as complicated as it might seem. In fact, it’s simple; it’s about you knowing your children. We all know that each child is unique and will arrive with you having had a different set of experiences than others, and for some more limited experiences. It’s important that good early education helps all children to be ready for what comes next in their lives. That’s where you come in. Cultural capital is part of the curriculum and should not be seen as something in isolation – it is NOT a poster on the wall! We want to find out how you recognise where children are on their early years journey when they arrive with you and how you decide what they need to learn.
Cultural capital should be central to the curriculum – the curriculum and your interactions are really important – how do you fill in the gaps for children?
The third point we’re often asked about is evaluating what the children have learned. We’re going to be focusing less on data and written records. We don’t set out how you must do it; that’s for you to decide. We want to find out how you check what children know and can do and share this with parents. How well do you know and respond to your children – the cultural capital they bring with them, what they can do already and what you need to do to help them be ready for what comes next.
The EYFS is clear about what needs to be written down and that this should be limited to only what is necessary – if in doubt check out page 13 of the EYFS!
We’ll keep you updated on the EIF and what the changes might mean for you on our Facebook page and on Twitter @Ofstednews. We’d like to hear from you.'
Ofsted answer your EIF questions
Elaine and Tina from Childminding UK invited our members to submit their questions about EIF and then went to meet with Wendy Ratcliffe and Cait Mellows at Ofsted who very kindly gave us some of their valuable time to answer them. Below you will find the questions and Ofsted's answers. We hope you find them useful.
- What is the threshold for each category i.e where does the judgement come when choosing the grade 1 over grade 2 etc. Similar to when you look at the child's development, what is the basis of the 'emerging' but not yet at expected level.
The Thresholds are quite clear in the Inspection Handbook in sections 135 and 136. The Outstanding grade descriptors are ‘challenging and exact’ whereas the grades of Good and Requires Improvement are given to the best fit of the evidence the Inspector gathers during inspection. Regarding child’s development, it is down to the practitioner to decide how they assess children and if their assessments show children are consistently achieving or still to reach this consistency of achievement. They are at expected level when they consistently have gained a skill.
- Clarification please on ratios and if other parents written permission is needed to go over due to continuity of care. (from webinar recently)
Childminders do not need permission from parents to have extra children to the usual ratios listed in the EYFS, but they must tell parents they are doing so. Just because you are able to adjust these ratios (you can never have more than 6 children under 8 years) it doesn’t mean that you should. If you are working outside the regular ratios, Ofsted will check that you are still able to meet all children’s individual needs regarding health and safety and their learning and development.
- Will OFSTED Management be insisting that all Inspectors “sing off the same sheet” because we still keep hearing inconsistences with inspections? How sure can we be that all inspectors have the same understanding of the inspection process, what training will they have?
Inspectors have all undergone training in the new Education Inspection Framework and how to inspect using the guidance in the Inspectors Handbook. The main change to the Common Inspection Framework is that Ofsted are going to look at what matters most. How do you decide what you provide for the children? How do you deliver what you are planning and how do you assess if it has worked? Rather than looking at lots of documents provided by the childminder. The training has been received well by Inspectors. Inspecting early years settings is an art not a science and so in conversations or when the Inspector observes something, it may trigger asking questions that in another situation with another childminder and inspector that question or that document is not requested- for this reason, there could be some small differences between one inspection and the next. The focus is still ‘what’s it like for a child in this setting’ and how you deliver the EYFS.
- Does the new framework mean that inspections will take longer to complete?
No. The inspection should last about 3 hours. It won’t necessarily be longer if the childminder employs assistants.
- Does an Inspector have the right to inspect all rooms in a home-based setting even if not used by children or will it still be only the rooms/areas used?
Yes. Ofsted have the power to enter any premises at any time where early years provision is carried out. They don’t ask to see all rooms at each visit but will if they believe there is a reason to do so. This hasn’t changed with the new EIF
- With the emphasis on reduced paperwork and learning journals, would there ever be a situation where Ofsted would ask to see development files?
Inspectors will still inspect to the EYFS and will only expect to see the assessment documents that are compulsory- 2 year progress check and the EYFS Profile at the end of reception. There is a requirement to assess children’s development and share these findings with parents, and it is for you to decide how you do this. If you have some written documents for this, Ofsted won’t be expecting to see them, but they understand that in some cases, childminders may wish to show them to Ofsted and in these cases, Ofsted will look at them. What they are doing is taking a ‘step back’ and asking how well do you know the children? Why are you doing what you are doing? How do you know it is working for that child? They will be looking at the substance of education (what you do) and your integrity (do you do the right thing, why do you do it and what is the impact)
- What will the learning walk look like for childminders?
The learning walk may not be a physical walk around the premises, but could be a discussion held on the sofa of what you offer and why. Of course if you are using your setting during inspection (because children are present) then the Inspector will be with you in those areas and will see your provision.
Will there still be an expectation of a joint observation on an activity of the childminders choosing? There is no expectation that childminders should do anything different for an inspection than they would otherwise. Do whatever you would normally do and then tell the Inspector why you chose that activity/activities, and what you hoped the children would learn and what do you assess they have learned.
Will Ofsted be asking specifically about how childminders raise children’s Cultural Capital?
No. Cultural Capital is not something in isolation. It comes in with teaching and learning. Part of this is about how well you know the children, what they can currently do and what you need to do to enhance their learning. Think of a jigsaw puzzle analogy. All children have some parts of a complete puzzle and have some parts missing in their learning and development. Some have more completed pieces than other children based on their experiences and additional needs. The childminder needs to recognise what they need to do to help add additional pieces of the puzzle for that child.
- Will Ofsted be expecting childminders to use specific language to name their pedagogy or can they just explain in laymans terms how they get to know children well, how they decide which activities and experiences they provide and the impact this has?
No. Childminders need to explain what they provide for the children and why. They are not expected to know and use pedagogical terms.
How will Ofsted judge how well a childminder works with parents regarding children’s development and learning if the childminder does not keep written records of this? It is a requirement for childminders to assess children’s development and share this information with parents. Ofsted will ask how you do this. Any documentation you choose to keep for this is to be kept just for this purpose and not for Ofsted as they will not be expecting to see it – unless you wish to show it to them. But you will need to explain what you do.
How well have the pilot inspections gone? – what have they learned from the pilot inspections will Ofsted change anything because of the pilots? Will results of pilots be published and if so, where and when? The pilot inspections went well. They trialled lots of different things during the pilots so not all pilot inspections were the same. The information was gathered and used to create the Inspection Framework that will be used from September. So a childminder who had a pilot inspection may find that their actual inspection is different to the pilot. They are not planning on publishing results of the pilots.
How easy will it be for childminders to give their full attention to the children in their care as well as answer in depth questions about their practice with the Inspector if they can’t show any paperwork to support the answers?
Ofsted inspectors are all early years training and expect that during the inspection, children’s needs come first. So if a child needs something, then the Inspector will either carry on talking to you if appropriate or wait until you have met the child’s needs.
Will inspectors have a maximum quota of Outstandings they are allowed to issue? No. If someone deserves an Outstanding Grade they will be given one.
Will a childminder providing just wraparound care for reception age+ also come under annex A and what about if they provide wraparound/school holiday care for a preschool child who is taking all 30 hours at a preschool so only with the cm before 9am and after 3pm but all day in the holidays. Will this also be annex A?
Annex A relates to the footnote 5 in the EYFS Learning and Development requirements on page 7 which states that this is for children in Reception or older in a maintained school. If a childminder cares exclusively for children in these circumstances then Annex A applies. For a preschool child who is taking their 30 hours in a preschool, Annex A does not apply.
You will be inspected against the requirements of the EYFS. The following points will help you to ensure you are meeting these requirements.
- make sure that you have all necessary documentation in place. This will include your policies and procedures, risk assessments, consent forms etc.
- There is no requirement to show Ofsted observation records of children's learning, but you will need to demonstrate that you regularly do observe the children's learning and take steps to plan their future learning and development. If you wish to show observation records to Ofsted, you can do so. If you use an online recording system and want Ofsted to see this, you need to make sure you can log in to show the inspector the records you have created
- you will need to show Ofsted that you are aware of the local procedures you follow to help safeguard children
- you will need to demonstrate how you work with parents, sharing information about their child's development
- read the document Early Years Inspection Handbook which explains what the Ofsted inspector will look for during your inspection
- read the Inspecting Safeguarding in Early Years, education and skills settings
- You could work through the Childminding UK Quality Audit we have produced to help you check that you are meeting all the EYFS requirements.
Childminding UK Quality Audit
This comprehensive document will take you through all areas of the EYFS and enable you to identify any areas for improvement. Working through the document will ensure that you are fully prepared for your Ofsted inspection.
Policies and Procedures Resource Pack
Why spend hours creating your own policies when this downloadable pack has done much of the work for you and also gives guidance on personalising them?
Duty of Care Resource
This downloadable resource will save you hours of time and includes: risk assessments, consent forms, child record forms, complaints forms, fire drill records and has recently been updated to also include, Accident and Incident Record form, Medication Record form, Cause for Concern Record form and Action Planning form.
Recording Children's Development Guide and Resource Pack
This is a comprehensive guide to documenting children’s development. In line with the EYFS it offers all the information you need and forms to use including examples of 2 year progress checks, observation forms, parental contributions, sharing information with other childcare providers and much more. Also included are blank proformas of the 2 year progress check which can be used or amended to suit your purpose.
Recording Children's Development Online Training
This online course covers what you need to know about observing children, linking observations to the EYFS - including the Characteristics of Effective Learning and how to create a development file/learning journey for your minded children. It also covers information about the 2 year Progress Check.
There are certain written records that you will be required to keep dependent on which registers you are on. The Early Years Register and the Childcare Register have different requirements. Childminders on both registers must meet the requirements for each of the registers. Your graded inspections will include checks to make sure that you are complying with statutory requirements of the EYFS or the Childcare Register.
Written records required for Childcare Register
If you are registered on either the Compulsory part of the Childcare Register - to care for children from the first of September after their 5th Birthday to 8 years - or the Voluntary part of the Childcare Register - to care for children over 8 years, you will need to keep the following written records:
- personal information about each child
- name, home address and telephone number of a parent/carer/guardian for each child who is looked after on the premises
- register of attendance including actual hours of attendance
- record of accidents which occur on the premises where childcare is provided
- record of medication administered to a child while in your care, including the date, circumstances, and who administered it, including medicine which the child is permitted to self administer
- written permission from parent/carer to administer medication
- name, address and telephone number of every person living or working on the premises where childcare is provided
- written statement of procedures to be followed for the protection of children, intended to safeguard the children being cared for from abuse or neglect
- written complaints procedure
- record of any complaints made including the outcome and shown to Ofsted on request.
Written records required for the Early Years Register
The Early Years Foundation Stage specifies that certain records need to be kept in writing. While it suggests that childminders do not need to have their policies in writing, and that the childminder can decide if risk assessments are recorded or not, it is deemed good practice to have these documents in writing too. This will demonstrate how you pass information to parents and others who need to know. It is a requirement that you maintain the records you need and share with parents, carers and other professionals including the police, social services and Ofsted as appropriate.
- Personal information about each child including full name, date of birth, name and address of every parent and/or carer who is known to the provider (and anyone else who is known to have parental responsibility for the child)
- Parents/carers' contact details and details about which parents/carers the child normally lives with
- Name, home address and telephone number of anyone else who will regularly be in unsupervised contact with the children attending
- A daily record of when the child attends including actual times and name of key person
- Records about vehicles used to transport children - including insurance, driving licence and MOT if applicable
- Emergency contact details for parents/carers
- Information about a child's need for medication and permission from parents to authorise the childminder for each and every medicine before any medication is given
- A record of any medication given while the child is in your care, including information about the medicine, the dosage given and who administered it
- A record of any accidents/ injury that happen while the child is in your care and any first aid treatment administered
- Record of any physical intervention used when managing children's behaviour
- Record of any complaints made and their outcome
- Information about each child's development, likes and dislikes before you start caring for them
- 2 year progress check
- Details of any assistants you employ along with evidence of their suitability for the role.
Parental responsibility is a legal status and not all parents have it. It is vital that you record correctly who holds parental responsibility for the children in your care. We have created this FREE guide to help you meet this requirement
Other written records you may wish to consider
- Observations of young children's learning and development
- Records of fire drills carried out
- Written permission about which adults are authorised to collect the child
- Details of who has legal contact with the child if applicable
- Permission to seek emergency advice or treatment
- Permission for child to be included in outings
- Written policies and procedures
- Written risk assessments
- Written contracts with parents stating hours, conditions and payment terms agreed
- It is important to explain how you self-evaluate your practice. You may choose to produce a record showing how you reflect and improve your practice
- Visitors' book. Some childminders choose to have a visitors' book to show how they keep the children safe from unvetted visitors
- Written permission to take photographs of children
- Details about any assistants training records and any training you agree will be completed while they are working with you
- Details about supervision and appraisal meetings you hold with any assistants
There is no set way of recording any of the information mentioned above. It is perfectly acceptable to produce your own way of recording, providing the information is accurate and legible.
A Guide to Working with Assistants (including managing supervision and appraisal meetings)
If you employ other people in your setting or work in partnership with others, you have a duty of care to ensure that everything is in place to support and promote an effective and appropriate working partnership; including meeting the relevant requirements in the Statutory Framework set out in the EYFS.
We have noticed that some childminders who employ others have been given Ofsted actions to carry out and record supervision and appraisal meetings for their assistants and/or to ensure their assistants are given opportunity to undertake continuous training
Notifying Ofsted of Changes
Once you are registered, there is a legal requirement to let Ofsted know of any changes to assistants or members of your household.
The form EY3 Childminders: Changes to people living or working in the home needs completing when:
- an assistant starts working for you
- an assistant leaves your setting
- a new person comes to live in your home
The form asks for full name, date of birth and dates that the changes happen.
Ofsted has produced this short video explaining what you need to inform them about regarding serious accidents and injuries.