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
- Read what Ofsted say they want to see on your Registration Visit including documents they will need you to show them.
- 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
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.
Preparing for your Registration Visit
This form explains what the Inspector will expect to see and what you can plan to provide later. It also tells you what the Inspector will want to discuss with you regarding your knowledge of keeping children safe and planning for their learning and development. It also has an optional form at the end that you can use to make any notes that you may find useful
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.
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 Safeguarding and Welfare Checklist and the Learning Environment Checklists we have produced to help you check that you are meeting all the EYFS requirements and maximising the children's environment to foster their learning and development. These documents will help you show how you self-reflect on all aspects of your practice.
Education Inspection Framework (EIF) Explained
This course consists of 3 modules: - Cultural Capital - Teaching and Learning in the Early Years (Pedagogy) - Understanding your Ofsted Inspection
EYFS Audit and Environment Checklist Pack
This pack includes our Safeguarding and Welfare Checklist audit and all 7 of our Learning Environment Checklists that cover each area of learning. These easy to use checklists guide you through the Safeguarding and Welfare requirements of the EYFS and each of the 7 areas of learning to assess and maximise the learning environment you offer. Buying this pack saves you £7 on the cost of the individual audits.
Safeguarding and Welfare Checklist/Audit
This comprehensive document has been written to help you audit how you meet the Safeguarding and Welfare requirements of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and the Childcare Register requirements. It will take you through all the safeguarding and welfare requirements 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.
More information about DBS Checks once you are registered
It is not necessary to routinely re apply for DBS checks once you are registered. Ofsted explain this further below.
'We do not routinely repeat DBS checks on people who are already registered with us or we have agreed as suitable to work with children. We also do not need to carry out a DBS check on those people who are registered with us and have never had one, for example, because they were employed or registered before the DBS scheme began.
However, a new DBS is required when a person who is already known to Ofsted applies to register a new childcare provision, or to take on a new role with an existing registration where Ofsted decides on suitability, if any of the following criteria apply:
• The new role gives greater access to children or has more responsibility. • There has been a break of more than three months between leaving the old post and taking up the new post. • There are concerns about the person, which may affect his or her suitability. • They have never had a DBS check.
If any of the above points apply, then the person will need a new DBS check and Ofsted recommends that they join the DBS update service. They may not start work until it has been received.
If a person’s DBS status changes or we receive information that suggests the person may no longer be suitable, we reserve the right to repeat any check – including the DBS. We accept DBS certificate for 3 months and this is a risk based approach.
Yes, we do share information with the police and vice-versa. Have a look here'
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 certain changes and situations.
Gives links for the following:
- Report a serious childcare incident
- Report children' accidents and injuries
- Report new adults in the home
- Tell Ofsted about adults leaving the home
- Get a background check if you live or work with a childminder
- Pay your childcare invoice
- Pay your annual fee by Direct Debit
Ofsted has produced this short video explaining what you need to inform them about regarding serious accidents and injuries.