Information about how childminders operate, whether they need to be registered with Ofsted and other things to consider when choosing this form of childcare.

Age group - 0-16 years of age (or up to 18 for children with SEND)

Childminders are self-employed and provide care and education through play for small groups of children, usually in a home setting. They can also link with other services in your local community, such as family hubs, toddler groups and libraries.

Registration and inspection

Childminders can be registered with Ofsted or under an Ofsted registered childminding agency. Childminders are registered for a specified number of children aged seven and under. They may also look after children aged eight and over providing it doesn’t affect the care of the younger children.

If a childminder is registered with Ofsted, they will be inspected by Ofsted directly. Ofsted has a guide explaining how childminders are inspected.

If a childminder is registered with a childminding agency, they will receive quality assurance visits from the agency they are registered with. Childminding agencies may give childminders registered under their provision a grading, but this is not the same as an Ofsted grading. The childminding agency will be inspected by Ofsted directly and a selection of its registered childminders may be visited. Ofsted has a guide explaining how childminding agencies are inspected.

Childminders are required to hold a Paediatric First Aid certificate, have attended relevant early years training and had a health check. Ofsted require Disclosure and Barring Service criminal records checks to be carried out on the childminder and anyone else aged 16 or over who works or lives on the premises.

Statutory duties

The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards for promoting the learning, development and safety of children from birth to 5 years in Ofsted registered settings. The EYFS sets the standards that all early years providers must meet.

Read more about the EYFS in the guide for parents, provided by Foundation Years.

Typical opening hours

The majority of childminders work between 8.00am and 6.00pm all year, including school holidays. Some may work evenings and  weekends, or overnight if they are registered with Ofsted to do so. Many take children to and from school, pre-schools/playgroups, drop-in groups and activities.

Help with the cost of using a childminder

Some may offer Free Entitlement places if they have been approved to be part of the scheme. Check whether you may be eligible for other help with childcare costs.

Last updated:
7 September 2023
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