Become a childminder

How to set up a childminding business.

Working as a childminder can be a rewarding and flexible career, helping to give children the best start in life.

Childminding offers fantastic career opportunities - from supporting children’s learning and development, to being your own boss, meeting other childcare professionals in your area and working from home. You could also care for your own children at the same time, if you have a family.

To work as a childminder, most people are required to register with Ofsted or a childminding agency where you are planning to look after children under the age of 8 for reward.

Ofsted have written a useful blog to help you understand the difference between registering with Ofsted or a childminder agency.

It is important to note, unregistered childminding is illegal and could result in prosecution and fines.

Guidance from Ofsted includes:

  • checking whether registration is required for your particular circumstances
  • things you must do before applying to register
  • when and how to apply to register
  • how much it costs.
How to register as a childminder (GOV.UK) (external link)
This guidance is for Ofsted-registered childminders or those applying to register with Ofsted. For guidance on registering with a childminder agency, or what you need to do if you are already with an agency, contact the agency directly. You can find more information on childminder agencies on GOV.UK.

Childminder grants scheme

Following the announcement of the new start-up grant for childminders at the spring budget on 15 March 2023, the Department for Education have confirmed start up grants for childminders. Childminders will receive a:

  • £600 start up grant for those who register with Ofsted
  • £1,200 start up grant for those who register with a childminder agency.

These are payable to any individual who has completed their childminder registration on or after 15 March 2023. New childminders will be able to apply for the grant from autumn 2023.

The aim of this funding is to support childminders by helping with the costs incurred when registering and giving them the flexibility to choose their own pathway into the sector. It is more expensive to register with a childminder agency, and the grants reflect this to ensure that prospective childminders have a choice when considering the route that best suits their needs.

Check eligibility and apply (GOV.UK) (external link)

Further guidance

Further guidance about registration, training and how to meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is available from:

Ofsted’s Facebook page enables you to ask questions about registration.

You must demonstrate to Ofsted that you can meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) if you are planning to look after children under 5.

West Sussex County Council also provide training opportunities that will help develop your knowledge and confidence.

After your registration

Shortly after becoming registered, our Family Information Service (FIS) will contact you to welcome you to the sector.

They will provide details of the support and training opportunities available to you as a registered childminder, how to advertise for free on the FIS website, and how to offer funded Early Years Funded Entitlement places.

Early Years Funded Entitlements (EYFE)

From April 2024, in line with the updated statutory guidance, West Sussex County Council will fund places for children eligible for the 2 year old LA issued Funded Entitlement (disadvantaged 2 year olds) at new providers who have yet to be inspected by Ofsted, alongside providers rated, Good or Outstanding, or equivalent ratings.

In addition, all providers may offer 2 year old EYFE for working families as long as they are not rated Inadequate.

Childminders are no longer required to hold a level 3 qualification to offer EYFE for either working families or the LA issued Funded Entitlement. However, we encourage working towards gaining a full and relevant level 3 qualification, if you do not already hold one.

Asking us for help

Our frequently asked questions document below provides further information and support on how to become a childminder.

If you still feel you need help, complete our request for support form.

Last updated:
12 April 2024
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