Pre-registration training for childminders in England

As a registered childminder you'll have a huge impact on families, helping them manage their childcare needs as well as supporting parents in raising their children. At the same time, you'll be running your own small business, investing in your own personal development and, perhaps, managing staff, too.

It makes sense, therefore, to ensure that the training you undertake at the beginning of your career is the very best it can be.

Read on for more detail about:

Preparing to Work in Home-based Childcare course

We recommend that you begin your career as a childminder with the best childminding training course, Preparing to Work in Home-Based Childcare (HBCA). It's a level 3 award that covers every aspect of being a registered childminder - from child nutrition to costs and charges and from meeting children's learning needs to working in partnership with parents and other professionals.

The HBCA course has been created by childcare experts to give you the very best foundations for a successful career as a registered childminder in England.

During the course, you'll cover:

  • Children’s learning and development, including why play is so vital to children's development, and how to promote it
  • Regulations and rules about home based childcare, including the legislation you have to know about
  • Safeguarding, child protection and health and safety in a home-based childcare environment
  • How to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in your setting
  • Day to day care routines for children
  • Working in partnership with parents and other professionals
  • The role of observation has in planning and helping children learn

Unit two of the course will help you to set up a home based childcare business. It covers:

  • Leading and managing a home-based childcare setting
  • Creating a business plan for successful business development
  • Managing your finances, including taxes
  • Registration requirements for home-based childcarers

Free added benefits

When you study the HBCA course with The Childcare Company, you’ll get three months’ free PACEY membership*. This means that as well as access to a host of member benefits, you’ll have all the support you need. This includes not only to access the materials that will help you complete your HBCA course, but that will help you to set up your childminding business as well.

Accessing the training

Some local authorities will fund pre-registration training so it's worth checking with your local early years team before you buy.

First aid training

Before you apply to register with Ofsted, you need to have taken a paediatric first aid course - this is one designed for people working with children. The EYFS guidelines for childcarers state that first aid training must:

  • cater for practitioners caring for children in the absence of their parents 
  • be a minimum of 12 hours 
  • cover what to include in a first aid kit for babies and children 
  • demonstrate resuscitation techniques using models of babies and children, and give practitioners a chance to practise on models of each age group 
  • include how to record accidents and incidents appropriately.

PACEY works with Tigerlily Training to provide a suitable paediatric first aid qualification, ideal for your initial training. The course is delivered by experienced tutors with an understanding of childcare settings. Their experience in delivering learning will give you the knowledge, skills and confidence required to effectively administer first aid, as well as meet the requirements of registration. Plus, PACEY members get a 10% discount.

Your Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check

Previously known as a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check, the DBS will help you show yourself to be suitable to care for children. Ofsted requires that you, and anyone over 16 associated with your application (for example, your partner or teenage children) obtains a DBS check. Ofsted's full requirements for DBS Update checks are available in this document. And we've pulled together some useful FAQs, below, to help explain it.

>>Frequently asked questions about DBS in England<<

For information on DBS checks in Wales see here

What is the Disclosure and Barring service?

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

Why do I need a DBS check?

A DBS check is a requirement of registration and checks your suitability to work with children.

Does anyone else in my setting need one?

Anyone else aged 16 or over living and/or working on the premises. So this means your partner, children over 16 (including those at university), lodgers etc. There's information about getting a DBS for others in your household here.

I have an old CRB, do I need a DBS?

If you registered as a childminder before October 2005 with an enhanced CRB disclosure, you do not need to replace this with a DBS check as the EYFS states that those whose suitability was checked by Ofsted or their local authority before October 2005 are deemed to have met the requirements.

I registered after 2005, what do I need to have?

If you have registered with Ofsted since October 2005 you would have received a CRB check, until it became known as a DBS check in December 2012.

There is no official expiry date for a criminal record check issued by DBS. The information revealed on a DBS certificate will be accurate at the time the certificate was issued. It is strongly recommended that you sign up to the DBS update service.

Do I need to sign up to the update service?

Childminders can choose whether to sign up to the update service. It is not compulsory, however Ofsted strongly advises that you do. It costs £13. It can be done at the point of application or you can sign up within 30 days of the DBS certificate date.

What are the benefits of registering with the update service?

Registering with the update service means you can then use this same check for any new jobs or roles with children. You won’t have to apply for a new certificate each time. It also means that if Ofsted needs to repeat your DBS check in the future, for example if your circumstances change, they can do this without you having to pay a fee for a new check. You have to enter your DBS certificate number to register for the service.

What if I already have a have a DBS certificate?

You may be able to use an existing DBS certificate if you have an enhanced certificate for a childcare role. It will have to say it's for a home-based position if you are applying to be a childminder. Ofsted will accept the certificate if either of the following apply:

  • you’ve signed up to the DBS update service
  • the certificate is dated in the last three months and you haven’t had any gaps in your employment since that date.

What about if I wanted to employ an assistant?

If you are employing assistants, or the occupants in the household change, you will need to apply for DBS checks on new individuals in the setting.

For over 16s an EY2 form needs to be completed, as well as a DBS.

How do I apply for a DBS?

Follow Ofsted's application process to apply for your DBS check.

Ofsted also strongly recommends that you join the DBS update service as part of your registration. Being part of the update service helps Ofsted monitor your ongoing suitability to work with and/or be in regular contact with children. You can keep your DBS certificates up to date online, and allows employers to check your DBS status online. This is especially useful if you require a DBS check for voluntary work you do, for example.

Registering for the update service

You can register online for the update service as soon as you receive your application form reference number. Ask for the number when you make your DBS check application. Alternatively, you can register when you receive your DBS certificate, using the certificate number. If you do this, remember that you must register within 30 days of the certificate being issued. Registration lasts for one year and costs £13 annually (payable by debit or credit card only). 

Once you've successfully registered you can view your details online, using the ID number you'll be given with your registration.

When you register for the update, you’ll get an online account that lets you:

  • take your certificate from one job to the next
  • give employers permission to check your certificate online, and see who has checked it
  • add or remove a certificate

Read the detailed guidance for applicants.

If you're awaiting the completion of a DBS check, you can monitor its progress using theDBS tracking service.

Need some more support? Read more in Ofsted's blog where Claire Cook, Head of Quality at Ofsted, describes the steps you need to take to register as a childminder. 

Health declaration

Before you can register, you need to prove that you are "physically and mentally capable of caring for children". You can do this by filling in Ofsted's health declaration booklet. You'll need to take your completed form to your doctor to sign. This will usually cost a fee.

Next steps

Once you have completed your training courses and got your DBS check and health declaration in place, it's time to contact Ofsted to join the relevant registers.