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Childminding ratios and 30 hours in England

Childminders are a vital component of the early education and childcare entitlements. According to PACEY’s latest research, a majority of childminders (61 per cent) have been asked to deliver a 30-hour place from September. Of those, 42 per cent have been asked to deliver a 30-hour place in full, and 58 per cent have been asked to deliver an extended place in partnership with another provider (most commonly a pre-school or a school).

Some childminders will also be delivering wraparound care for a three- or four-year-old taking up their 30-hour place at another setting. PACEY has received confirmation from the Department for Education (DfE) that if this is a maintained school, academy or independent school, then the childminder may be able to invoke the exception to the usual ratios outlined in sections 3.30 and 3.42 of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage:

3.30. The ratio and qualification requirements below apply to the total number of staff available to work directly with children. Exceptionally, and where the quality of care and safety and security of children is maintained, changes to the ratios may be made...

3.42. If a childminder can demonstrate to parents and/or carers and Ofsted inspectors or their childminder agency that the individual needs of all the children are being met, exceptions to the usual ratios can be made, for example, when childminders are caring for sibling babies, or when caring for their own baby, or to maintain continuity of care. If children aged four and five only attend the childminding setting before and/or after a normal school day, and/or during school holidays, they may be cared for at the same time as three other young children. But in all circumstances, the total number of children under the age of eight being cared for must not exceed six.

Although paragraph 3.42 of the EYFS above makes reference to four- and five-year-olds, PACEY has been informed by DfE that the exceptions to the usual ratios could also apply to three-year-olds taking up their additional 15 hours funded childcare place in a school.

Childminders therefore may be able to care for more than three children under the age of five if:

  • they are able to demonstrate to parents and/or carers and Ofsted inspectors (or their childminder agency) that the individual needs of all the children are being met;
  • they only care for the child before or after the normal two session school day or in the holidays;
  • the total number of children under the age of eight does not exceed six at any time for each childminder;
  • any care provided for older children* must not adversely affect the care of children receiving early years provision.

For further information, visit our page on childminding ratios. PACEY members can also download our factsheet on ratios in England.

If you have any further questions, contact our policy team.

*Note: A child is only classed as an older child from September following their fifth birthday

Read a full story in Nursery World, with comments from PACEY.