Ofsted is responsible for registering and inspecting early years and childcare settings for children aged 7 and under. They also investigate concerns and complaints about childcare providers and take enforcement action where necessary.
Ofsted regulates four types of childcare provider:
- nannies who voluntarily register with Ofsted
- childcare on domestic premises
- childcare on non-domestic premises.
The types of provider not required to register with Ofsted are detailed on GOV.UK. If you do not need to register you can still choose to be on the voluntary part of the Childcare Register, as long as you meet the requirements. These may include some holiday play schemes, out of school clubs and crèches.
How to apply
Ofsted has 2 childcare registers:
- The Early Years Register - you must register on this if you care for children from birth to the 31 August following their 5th birthday.
- The Childcare Register - a compulsory part covers children who are cared for from the ages of 5-8. You can choose to register for the voluntary part if you want to provide care that is not covered by the compulsory part.
Find out how to apply to register on GOV.UK.
Watch Ofsted's short film about registering as an early years provider.
Childcare providers will undergo an inspection by Ofsted when registering, and at set intervals thereafter. Ofsted has produced myth-busting videos to dispel misconceptions about its early years inspections.