Ratios in England
How many children can I care for?
In England the number of children a
childminder may care for and the indoor space requirements are set
out in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation
Stage, Safeguarding and Welfare requirements.
A childminder may care for a maximum
of six children under the age of 8. Of these six children, a
maximum of three may be young children (a child is a young child
until 1st September following their 5th birthday).
If a childminder employs an assistant or works
with another childminder, each childminder (or assistant) may care
for the number of children permitted by the ratios specified in
sections 3.39/3.40 of the EYFS Statutory Framework, subject to any
restrictions imposed by Ofsted on registration.
Children may only be left in the sole care of
assistants for no more than two hours in a single day.
Childminders must obtain parental permission to leave children with
If a childminder can demonstrate to
parents/carers and Ofsted that the individual needs of children are
being met, then exceptions to the usual ratios can be made where
childminders are caring for sibling babies, or caring for their own
baby. This is to allow continuity of care for families. Exceptions
may also apply in the event of short-term and unforeseeable
emergencies, as long as care for all children is safeguarded and
the one-to-six ratio is not exceeded.
In all cases, when deciding to care for
additional children in the early years age group childminders
- the length of time they are providing care
- whether their furniture, indoor space and equipment is
- how they will deliver the learning and development requirements
of the EYFS to all the children they care for and help them make
the best possible progress
- how they organise their day so that all children get enough of
- whether they have assessed and mitigated any risks in relation
to taking on any additional children, for example through
considering how they might have to rearrange play spaces to cope
with an extra child or manage outings.
Read your free factsheet on Ratios in
Want to be part of PACEY? Join online here or if you’re already
a member login to