So you want to be a childminder?
You have completed your childminder training to prepare you for the role, finished your first-aid training, applied for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and then filled in the online application form to register with Ofsted, and paid your application fee.
So what happens next?
On your online application form, the EY form, you will have declared everything about yourself, your employment history, state of health, any social services involvement, cautions or convictions. Members of your household (aged over 16) will need to fill in an EY2 form. You will also have been asked to state whether you wish to be registered on the Early Years Register and/or the compulsory and/or voluntary parts of the Childcare Register, whether you plan to offer overnight care and whether you also want to become a home childcarer. We will use your answers as part of the suitability checks we carry out. We may also discuss these with you during your registration visit. If there are concerns about a household member’s suitability then the inspector may wish to speak to the individual, either as part of your registration visit or separately.
We work with outside agencies to check your suitability, for example the local authority social services department. We will discuss any concerns raised in these or any other checks with you at your registration visit. We understand that these may be sensitive issues but we do need to have the discussion with you to make sure that you are suitable to be a childminder.
Arranging the registration visit
Once we receive all the information from the checks we carry out, an inspector will phone you to arrange your registration visit. They will check that you have completed the required training and ask that you have evidence of identification (photo ID and two pieces of evidence to confirm your name and address) ready for the visit. If you have changed your name, for example through marriage, then the inspector will need to see evidence of this.
If you are not a UK national, they will need to see evidence of your right to work in the UK. Among other EYFS requirements, the inspector will need to verify that you have a sufficient grasp of English to help children to develop their communication skills in English and that you are also able to read English well enough to meet safeguarding requirements and be able to seek help in an emergency.
The inspector will also need to see evidence of your completed training. If you rent your home you will be asked to confirm that the landlord has granted permission for you to childmind from your home.
During the call you will be asked to confirm if you are sure you are ready for your registration visit. Please remember that the inspector asks this because they will be assessing whether you could operate as a childminder as soon as Ofsted issues you with your registration certificate, which could be as soon as a few days after the visit. You must be able to show the inspector that you can meet all the requirements of the ‘Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage’ – those relating to safeguarding and welfare, and those relating to learning and development. It is not enough just to show that your home is safe, although this is also important.
The registration visit
During the visit the inspector will ask to look at all areas of the home even if you do not intend to use all areas. They will talk to you to ascertain how you propose to safeguard children’s welfare, manage your provision, and promote children’s learning and development. It is a good idea to jot down some examples of how you might promote each area of learning, demonstrating how you will plan activities for different age groups of children and what you would want children to gain from the activities. The inspector will explore with you how you plan to assess where children are in their learning, how you will develop partnerships with parents and others involved in children’s care and how you intend to evaluate your provision. They will explore your understanding of valuing diversity and promoting British values.
The inspector will check that you know what documentation you need to have and look at any you have drafted. Remember if you are applying to register on the Childcare Register then you will need to have a written safeguarding policy and also a complaints policy. The inspector will check you know about your responsibilities relating to handling personal information, for example whether you have registered or need to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The inspector will not insist that you purchase insurance cover before the visit but will want assurance that you will obtain it before commencing childminding. It is your responsibility to make sure that you’ve done everything else you need to do to start childminding, for example, that you have obtained the necessary planning permission.
The registration decision
It may sound a bit daunting but inspectors need to make these checks because they must be satisfied that you will be able to meet all the legal requirements for becoming a registered childminder. The emphasis is on you to prove to the inspector that you are suitable. The inspector will endeavour to put you at ease as they gather this information to support their registration decision.
The inspector will tell you before they leave whether they are going to recommend registration or not. If the inspector does not think you are ready to be registered, you may be able to withdraw your application to register rather than waiting for Ofsted to refuse it, though this will depend on the reasons for the refusal.
If we approve your registration we will send you a registration certificate as soon as possible after the visit. As soon as you receive your registration certificate you can start childminding.
Take advantage of Ofsted's redesigned guidance on registering with Ofsted, making it easier than ever to read and search for questions you may have.
About the author
Claire Cook is the Head of Quality at the Early Years Delivery Unit at Ofsted. If you have questions about the process of applying, please do visit our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/childcareregistration - please note we can’t check the progress of your application via this page.