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
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.
- you will need to demonstrate that you regularly observe the children in your care and that you take steps to plan their future learning and development. If you use an online recording system, 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
- Written observations of children's development including parents comments
- 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
- 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 show records of how you self-evaluate your practice. If you choose not to use the Ofsted Self Evaluation Form (SEF) you will need to produce an alternative method of 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