Childminders and childcare providers: register with Ofsted

Registration requirements

The requirements you need to follow if you register with Ofsted to look after children.

All registered childcare providers must follow any relevant legislation, including laws about health and safety, disability discrimination, food hygiene, fire and planning requirements.

Childminders

Early Years Register

If you want to join the Early Years Register to look after children under the age of 5, you must follow the safeguarding and welfare and learning and development standards set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework.

Childcare Register: core requirements

These are the requirements for all childminders who register with Ofsted. There are also additional requirements depending on which part of the register you’re joining (voluntary or compulsory) – find out more about the registers.

You must:

  • ensure that children receiving childcare are kept safe from harm
  • not use corporal punishment, and make sure that no-one caring for children, or living or working where childcare is provided, uses corporal punishment
  • manage children’s behaviour in a suitable manner
  • be present at all times when providing childcare – the only exception to this is that a childminding assistant can look after children for up to 2 hours a day if their parents or carers have given their permission
  • not smoke on the premises
  • not consume or be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while looking after children or just before they arrive – this also includes medication that might affect your ability to look after children
  • be 18 or over, and make sure that anyone aged under 17 who looks after children is supervised at all times by someone aged 18 or over

Training

You must:

  • have an appropriate first aid qualification
  • train any assistants on your child safeguarding policy and procedures

Safeguarding children

You must:

  • have, and follow, a written child protection policy to safeguard the children you look after from abuse or neglect
  • make sure that anyone who has unsupervised contact with, or who looks after, children is suitable and has got an enhanced DBS check
  • contact any Local Safeguarding Children Board and Director of Children’s Services if appropriate
  • minimise any risks to the health and safety of children and staff

Facilities

You must:

  • make sure your premises and equipment are safe and suitable for childcare
  • make sure that no-one can enter the premises without the knowledge of someone looking after children
  • have a suitable place to prepare food, if you provide it; any food you provide must be properly prepared, wholesome and nutritious
  • make sure that children have access to drinking water and enough suitable toilet and hand-washing facilities
  • provide access to a secure outdoor space, or if this isn’t possible, make reasonable arrangements for outdoor activities

Organising your childcare

You must:

  • make arrangements with other childcare providers or with parents for occasions where you cannot provide childcare
  • provide accessible and inclusive childcare – you cannot refuse to provide childcare or treat any child less well than another because of their race, religion, home language, family background, gender, disability and/or special educational needs
  • take all reasonable steps to ensure that disabled children have access to the premises

Dealing with complaints

You must:

  • have a written complaints policy for any complaints relating to Childcare Register requirements that parents make in writing
  • fully investigate each complaint and keep a written record of these complaints for 3 years – your records should include the outcome of the investigation and any actions you took in response
  • respond to the parent who made the complaint and tell them about the complaint outcome within 28 days of the complaint date – you should respond in writing if the parent asks you to
  • provide Ofsted with a summary of complaints made during the last 12 months and the actions you took as a result, or a list of complaints made during the last 3 years, if we ask for either of these

Records and information

You must record the following and keep these records for 2 years for each child you look after:

  • their name, home address and date of birth
  • name, home address and telephone number of their parent/guardian/carer
  • a daily record of their name and hours of attendance
  • any medicine given, including the date, circumstances and who gave it (this includes medicine that the child takes themselves) and a record of their parent/guardian/carer’s consent

You must also keep records of:

  • any accidents on the premises
  • the name, home address and telephone number of everyone living or working where you provide childcare

You must give parents:

  • information about the children’s activities
  • copies of your safeguarding and complaints policies
  • details of the registration system for the Childcare Register and Ofsted’s address

Keeping Ofsted informed

You must tell us about changes to any of the following within 14 days of the change happening:

  • your name and contact details
  • any address where you look after children
  • the type of childcare you provide (for example, if you’re registered as a childminder and start looking after children in their own home, this means you’re now working as a nanny)
  • any event that might affect your suitability (or the suitability of anyone else) to look after children, such as any potentially disqualifying offences or orders
  • the name, date of birth, address and telephone number of any person aged 16 or over working or living in the home during childcare hours

You must also tell us about:

  • any incident of food poisoning affecting 2 or more children in your care
  • any serious accident or injury to, or the death of, any child while receiving childcare
  • any allegation of serious harm or abuse occurring on the premises
  • any allegation of serious harm or abuse committed elsewhere by anyone who looks after children with you

You must:

  • have personal liability insurance covering death, injury, public liability, damage or other loss
  • display your registration certificate on the premises where you provide childcare
  • display a notice if your registration has been suspended

Voluntary part of the Childcare Register: extra requirements

If you’re joining the voluntary part of the register, you must also:

  • have a minimum level 2 qualification in an area of work relevant to childcare, or training in the common core skills
  • make sure children cannot leave the premises unsupervised, unless they are aged 8 or over and have parental permission to leave by themselves

Compulsory part of the Childcare Register: extra requirements

You must also:

  • attend child protection training so that you can identify and act on any signs that a child may be suffering from harm
  • give any assistants support and guidance about child protection and make sure that they are alert to any signs that a child may be suffering from harm
  • make sure that there’s at least one person aged 18 or over for every 6 children being looked after
  • make sure that you and any assistants looking after children have good enough English to ensure children’s welfare and safety (for example, to read instructions or call for help)
  • make sure that no child can leave the premises unsupervised
  • arrange any necessary training to make sure that any assistants have suitable skills and experience to care for children

Nannies

You must:

  • keep the children you look after safe from harm and tell their parents or carers about any health and safety risks
  • manage children’s behaviour in a suitable way, and not use corporal punishment
  • be present on the premises and supervise the children at all times when providing childcare
  • not smoke while caring for children
  • not consume or be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while looking after children – this also includes medication that might affect your ability to provide childcare
  • be familiar with issues of child protection and procedures to protect children from abuse or harm

Training and insurance

You must:

  • have an appropriate first aid qualification
  • have a minimum level 2 childcare qualification, or training in the common core skills
  • have personal liability insurance, covering death, injury, public liability, damage or other loss

Keeping parents informed

You must give parents:

  • a copy of your Ofsted registration certificate if they ask for it
  • information about Ofsted’s registration system for the Childcare Register
  • Ofsted’s address

You must show any notice of suspension to the parents of each child you look after.

Providing accessible childcare

You must:

  • make sure that the childcare you provide is as accessible and inclusive as possible, and meets the needs of each child
  • not refuse to provide childcare or treat any child less well than another because of their race, religion, home language, family background, gender, disability and/or learning difficulty
  • take all reasonable steps to ensure that disabled children have access to the relevant premises

Keeping Ofsted informed

You must tell us about any of the following within 14 days of it happening:

  • changes to your name, contact details, or address where you look after children
  • any significant event that might affect your suitability to look after children, like offences or orders
  • a change to the type of childcare you provide

You must also tell us about any of the following if they occur while you’re looking after children:

  • any incident of food poisoning affecting 2 or more children you look after
  • any serious accident or injury to, or the death of, any child
  • any allegation of serious harm or abuse occurring where you work
  • any allegation of serious harm or abuse committed elsewhere by anyone who looks after children with you
  • anything that might affect your suitability to look after children

Childcare providers on domestic or non-domestic premises

If you’re joining the Early Years Register to look after children under the age of 5, you must follow the standards set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. You may not have to follow all the learning and development requirements in some circumstances.

You do not have to follow the learning and development requirements if you are running out-of-school provision or a holiday club for children who go to nursery or reception classes.

In some circumstances you can apply to the Department for Education for exemptions to some of the learning and development requirements.

Childcare Register: core requirements

These are the core requirements for all childcare providers on domestic or non-domestic premises who register with Ofsted. There are also additional requirements depending on which part of the register you’re joining (voluntary or compulsory). Find out more about the registers.

You must:

  • keep any children you are looking after safe from harm
  • make sure that everyone caring for children is alert to any signs that a child may be suffering from harm
  • not use corporal punishment and make sure that no-one caring for children, in regular contact with children, or living or working where childcare is provided, uses corporal punishment
  • make sure that enough people are present on the premises to ensure the safety and welfare of children you are looking after – at least one person must be the owner, manager, or someone who works for the provider caring for the children
  • make sure that no one smokes on the premises
  • make sure that no one consumes or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol while looking after children or just before they arrive – this also includes medication that might affect their ability to look after children
  • make sure that anyone aged under 17 who looks after children is supervised at all times by someone aged 18 or over
  • make sure at least one person has an appropriate first aid qualification

Safeguarding children

You must:

  • have, and follow, a written child protection policy to safeguard the children you look after from abuse or neglect
  • make sure that no one who is unsuitable to be around children has unsupervised access to the children you look after
  • have effective systems to make sure that anyone on the premises during childcare hours is suitable to be around children – for childcare on domestic premises, this must include getting enhanced DBS checks through Ofsted
  • minimise any risks to the health and safety of children and staff

Facilities

You must:

  • make sure your premises are safe and suitable for childcare – this includes overall floor space, outdoor spaces and equipment used when looking after children
  • make sure that no-one can enter the premises without the knowledge of you or your staff

Organising your childcare

You must:

  • make arrangements with other childcare providers or with parents for occasions where you cannot provide childcare
  • manage children’s behaviour in a suitable manner
  • provide accessible and inclusive childcare – this means you cannot refuse to provide childcare or treat any child less well than another because of their race, religion, home language, family background, gender, disability and/or special educational needs
  • take all reasonable steps to ensure that disabled children have access to the relevant premises

Dealing with complaints

You must:

  • have a written complaints policy for any complaints relating to Childcare Register requirements that parents make in writing
  • fully investigate each complaint and keep a written record of these complaints for 3 years – your records should include the outcome of the investigation and any actions you took in response
  • respond to the parent who made the complaint and tell them about the complaint outcome within 28 days of the complaint date – you should respond in writing if the parent asks you to
  • provide Ofsted with a summary of complaints made during the last 12 months and the actions you took as a result, or a list of complaints made during the last 3 years, if we ask for either of these

Keeping records

You must keep records of the following and retain these for 2 years for each child you look after:

  • their name, home address and date of birth
  • name, home address and telephone number of their parent/guardian/carer
  • a daily record of their name and hours of attendance
  • any medicine given, including the date, circumstances and who gave it (this includes medicine that the child takes themselves) and a record of their parent/guardian/carer’s consent

You must also keep records of:

  • any accidents on the premises
  • the name, home address and telephone number of everyone living or working where you provide childcare

Providing information

You must give parents:

  • information about the children’s activities
  • copies of your safeguarding and complaints policies
  • details of the registration system for the Childcare Register and Ofsted’s address

Keeping Ofsted informed

You must tell Ofsted about any changes to your circumstances within 14 days of the change happening.

This includes changes to any of the following:

  • the registered address where Ofsted sends all documents
  • the address of any premises where you are providing childcare
  • the type of childcare you provide (for example, if you change the days or hours when you look after children)
  • your name, address or telephone number
  • any event that might affect the suitability of anyone who looks after children, for example any offences or orders that might disqualify them
  • the name, date of birth, address and telephone number of any person aged 16 or over working or living in the home during childcare hours
  • the manager
  • the nominated individual

You must also tell us about any of the following:

  • any incident of food poisoning affecting 2 or more children in your care
  • any serious accident or injury to, or the death of, any child while receiving childcare
  • any allegation of serious harm or abuse occurring on the premises
  • any allegation of serious harm or abuse committed elsewhere by anyone who looks after children with you

You must:

  • have liability insurance covering death, injury, public liability, damage or other loss
  • display your registration certificate on the premises where you provide childcare
  • display any notice that your registration has been suspended

Voluntary part of the register – additional requirements

If you are joining the voluntary part of the register, you must also make sure children cannot leave the premises unsupervised, unless:

  • you’re providing open-access childcare – if so, you should tell parents that the childcare is open access
  • they are aged 8 or over and their parent has agreed that they can leave by themselves

At least one person must have a minimum level 2 qualification in work relevant to childcare or training in the common core skills.

Compulsory part of the register – additional requirements

If you’re joining the compulsory part of the register, you must also:

  • provide or arrange any necessary training to make sure that all staff have suitable skills and experience to look after children
  • train all staff on your child safeguarding policy and procedures
  • make sure that the registered person, manager, and anyone else who looks after or regularly comes into contact with children, has good enough English to ensure the children’s welfare and safety (for example, to read instructions or call for help)
  • make sure that there’s at least one person looking after every 30 children
  • have a suitable place to prepare food, if you provide it; any food you provide must be properly prepared, wholesome and nutritious
  • make sure that children have access to drinking water and enough suitable toilet and hand-washing facilities
  • provide access to a secure outdoor space, or if this isn’t possible, make reasonable arrangements for outdoor activities
  • make sure that no child can leave the premises without the knowledge of someone who is providing childcare

You must appoint a lead practitioner with particular responsibility for child safety and welfare – this must be the provider, manager or anyone who cares for children. They need to:

  • do child protection training so they can identify and act on any signs that a child may be suffering from harm
  • provide support and guidance on child protection issues for anyone looking after children
  • liaise with any local Safeguarding Children Board and Director of Children’s Services as appropriate

If your provider’s main purpose is childcare, you must give Ofsted the name, date of birth, address and telephone number of any partner, director, senior officer or other member of the governing body.

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