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You must register with Ofsted if you want to provide ‘Early Years’ childminding or day care services in England.

An ‘Early Years’ childminder is someone who gets paid for looking after children under 5:

  • for more than 2 hours a day
  • in a home that isn’t the children’s normal home

All the adults living or working at the home where you’re based must also register.

You don’t have to register to do babysitting.

If you want to provide childminding to children up to 8 years old, you should apply to join the Childcare Register as well.

How to apply

  1. Contact your local council or local family information service and arrange to attend a pre-registration briefing for ‘Early Years’ applicants.

  2. Download the ‘Guide to registration on the Early Years Register: childminder’.

  3. Apply online at the Ofsted website.

It costs £35 to apply.

Contact Ofsted if you can’t apply online.

Telephone: 0300 123 1231
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6:45pm
Find out about call charges

After you’ve applied

Once you’ve submitted your application Ofsted will:

  • check your references
  • carry out checks on you with your doctor, your local council and the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)
  • do some checks on anyone else who will be living or working at the home
  • inspect the home

Getting your registration

You will receive a certificate that shows you’re a registered childminder if your application is approved. This usually takes between 2 and 3 months.

Displaying your certificate

You must keep your certificate of registration - or a copy of it - where it can be easily seen.

Fines and penalties

You can be fined £5,000, sent to prison, or both if you don’t register as a childminder.

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