Registered childminders work in their own home, caring for other people's children. Regulated and inspected by Ofsted (in England) or CIW (in Wales), you can be sure that your childminder has the training, checks and credentials to give you peace of mind.
Childminders work to the same learning requirements as other early years educators, so you can be sure that your child will be getting all the support they need to learn and prepare for school.
Choosing childcare in a home environment means your children can enjoy real-life learning experiences in small groups, like cooking, shopping, gardening, mealtimes and outings to the park and library. Childminders can be spontaneous, too - making the most of a sunny or unexpectedly snowy day as a great opportunity for outdoor play and learning.
Many childminders are able to offer funded early education sessions if your child is eligible. And, of course, childminders are able to care for children of different ages, meaning brothers and sisters can be cared for together.
Childminders are ideally placed for looking after disabled children, taking into account their unique requirements, and working closely with you to provide personalised care.
Find out more about choosing childcare in our Finding Childcare Bundle.
What does registration involve?
Childminders in England and Wales must be registered. This means that they have to work to specific guidelines and regulations, and that they are regularly inspected to ensure they remain suitable to care for children. Using a registered childminder helps give you peace of mind when arranging care for your child.
Childminders in England are registered by Ofsted. There are two registers maintained by Ofsted:
- The Early Years Register, for childminders caring for children from birth to the 31st August after their 5th birthday. These childminders have to show that they meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage.
- The compulsory part of the Ofsted Childcare Register, for childminders caring for children from the end of the EYFS up to the age of 8.
This means that if your childminder is only caring for babies and toddlers, they only need to be on the Early Years Register. If they have older children as well, including aged 5, 6 or 7, they need to be registered on both parts of the register. If they care only for children aged 8 and over, they don't need to register at all, but can join the voluntary register, if they wish.
To become registered, childminders must have an enhanced DBS disclosure*, undertake training, including in paediatric first-aid, and have a home visit from the Ofsted inspector. Ofsted then approves their registration and gives them a certificate which must be displayed.
Childminders must hold public liability insurance, be regularly inspected and take part in regular training. PACEY offers membership and insurance to registered childminders, helping them to provide the best standards of care and education to young children.
Childminders in England can alternatively choose to be registered and inspected by an Ofsted-registered childminder agency.
Childminders in Wales are inspected by CIW and as part of the registration process have completed introductory courses in home-based childcare and paediatric first-aid, as well as having an enhanced DBS disclosure*. CIW also requires childminders to have had a medical check and takes up references to check suitability.
Childminders in Wales also have to demonstrate to the CIW inspector how they will meet the requirements of the National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare in Wales and the Childminding and Day Care regulations.
*The DBS disclosure, which was formerly known as a CRB check, includes any people on the proposed childminding premises aged 16 or over.
8s and over childminders
Childminders in England caring only for children aged 8 and over do not need to be registered or inspected by Ofsted. They can, however, choose to join the Ofsted Childcare Register.
In Wales, childminders caring for children under 12 must register with the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW).
If you use a registered childminder, you may be able to claim extra support in paying for your childcare. This could be through tax free childcare or childcare vouchers, for example.
Other advantages of using an 8s and over childminder include:
- Supervised school pick-ups and drop-offs, as well as care before and after school and in the holidays
- Support with homework
- Your child can be cared for with younger siblings
- Your child can easily take part in local and after-school activities.