How to register, what you need and what it costs.
Do I need to register?
If you want to be a childminder or nanny, you might need to register with Ofsted or a childminding agency.
You DO need to register if:
- you’re a childminder paid to look after children under 8 for more than 2 hours a day.
You DON’T need to register if:
- you look after children aged 8 or over
- you look after children of any age for less than 2 hours a day
- you’re a nanny looking after children of any age
Why should I register if I don’t need to?
Even if it’s not a legal requirement for you, there are advantages to being registered. You could get a childcare business grant to help with setting-up costs if you apply within 3 months of registering.
Registration means parents can claim towards childcare costs, which should make it easier for you to find work.
What to do before you register
In no particular order, you will need to do the following:
- Get a criminal records check (enhanced DBS check). If you are working in your own home, anyone over 16 who lives with you will also need one. It usually takes up to 6 weeks but it can sometimes take longer. You will get a certificate in the post. Read more about how to get a DBS check.
- Fill in the health declaration form and get it signed by your GP. Your GP may charge for this.
- Complete a first aid qualification for people who work with children. Ask your local council or look online for courses in your area.
- Find out if you need any training. You do not have to do a particular course, but you will need to show Ofsted you can meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. For more information contact your local council. Organisations like the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) or Childminding UK can also help.
What it costs
It costs £35 to join the Early Years Register and £103 to join the Childcare Register. If you want to join both registers you apply using the form for the Early Years Register and only pay £35.
The enhanced DBS check for criminal records costs £52.50. Childminders need an enhanced DBS check for themselves and everyone aged 16 and over who lives or works with them.
There are other costs to take into account, and these will depend on the cost of services in your area. You might get support from your local council for these.
The health declaration has to be signed by your GP, who may charge you for this.
Finally, you also need to budget for business insurance, any courses you need and membership bodies you want to join.
Which register to apply to
Childminders looking after children under 8 need to apply to one or both of the following registers:
- the Early Years Register to look after children to age 5 (from birth to 31 August after their 5th birthday)
- the Childcare Register to look after children aged 5 to 7
Apply to both registers to look after all ages up to 8.
Nannies and childminders who are not legally required to register should apply to join the voluntary part of the Childcare Register.
How to apply
- Register as an individual with Government Gateway.
- Login to Ofsted Online with your Government Gateway number as your User ID and Government Gateway password.
- Choose the form for the register you need. If you are applying to both registers, complete only the form for Early Years Register.
What to register as on the form
You will need to say on your form what type of childcare you intend to provide.
For childminders this will depend on how many adults are working together:
- in someone’s home with up to 2 other people, register as ‘childminder’
- in someone’s home with 3 or more other people, register as ‘childcare on domestic premises’
- register as both ‘childminder’ and ‘childcare on domestic premises’ if you work some days with up to 2 other people, and on other days with 3 people or more.
Nannies should register as ‘home childcare’ on the voluntary section of the Childcare Register.
What happens after you apply
Ofsted will check your information, including references and checks on anyone else living or working in your home. They will also check with social services.
If you applied to the Early Years Register, we will ring you to arrange a registration visit.
Registration usually takes up to 12 weeks from submitting your application to Ofsted.
What to expect at the registration visit
The inspector will check:
- your identity and qualifications, including evidence that you have completed first aid training and understand the Early Years Foundation Stage (see ‘Early years and childcare registration handbook’)
- your premises, equipment and toys are safe and suitable for children
- that you understand about risk assessment, and that you have considered the safety and security of all the places children have access to
- that you understand what’s involved in looking after several children at the same time, in the age range you will care for
If English is not your first language, you must be able to speak it well enough to teach children in English, call emergency services, keep written records and understand instructions, such as labels for medication.
At the end of the visit the inspector will give feedback and say whether they will recommend you ‘suitable’ or ‘not suitable’ for registration. You can withdraw your application at this stage if you think it is going to be refused.
After the registration visit
If your application is approved you will get a certificate of registration. Ofsted will publish details about your registration online.
If your application is refused, Ofsted will send you a letter called a ‘notice of intention’. If you’re turned down you will be disqualified from applying to be a childminder again in the future.
Information about applying to overturn disqualification is available.
Telling Ofsted about changes that affect your childcare
By law, you must keep your details up to date and report any changes within 14 days.
Use Ofsted Online to report changes to:
- where you are working
- your contact details
- the staff who work with you or people aged 16 or over in your home (if you work at home)
- childcare hours
If you have any questions about registration
Phone: 0300 123 1231 (lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm)
Or write to:
For more information about becoming a childminder or nanny and to find out what support is available contact your local council.
Published: 26 May 2017
Updated: 19 October 2017
- Added link to new guidance on DBS (criminal record) checks.
- First published.