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Top tips on becoming a childminder

Top tips on 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.

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.

A wide variety of resources have been produced by a our 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. 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.
What if I live in rented/ leasehold accommodation?
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 professional 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/leaseholder 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.

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:

be registered on the Early Years Register and/or the Childcare Register.
hold an up to date paediatric first aid certificate
be Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked. Find out more information
complete an introductory childcare course
have appropriate insurance cover, including Public Liability Insurance.
Deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage for children on the Early Years Register.
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
Visit Childminding UK

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 £300.00 with an extra £200 being available to childminders who register within certain Local Authorities (list of authorities available by visiting the Childcare Business Grant Scheme website) 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 and have registered with your Local Authority to do so. Please note: this grant is only available until March 2019- or sooner if the funds are all used up.

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 £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 status 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 that (since 2008 that covered the EYFS). 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 to £54.50 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 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.


Ofsted may also recommend some other actions that you need to take before they will register you which may cost you money.



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