Ofsted: what you need to know as a childcare professional

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They inspect and regulate services that care for children including childminders, registered nannies, nurseries, pre-schools, schools and FE colleges in England.

Here we highlight what you need to know as a childcare professional registered with Ofsted, and how we’re working together with Ofsted to represent, support and guide our members.

Ofsted – what you need to know

You must register with Ofsted or a childminder agency if you want to be paid to look after children under 8 for more than two hours a day in England – unless you’re exempt.

You can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison or both if you provide childminding or daycare service without being registered.

Ofsted holds two registers, the Early Years Register for those caring for children from birth to 31st August after their 5th birthday, and the Childcare register which has two parts: the compulsory part for those caring for children aged 5 up to 8 years and the voluntary part for those caring for children aged 8 and over, most commonly registered nannies, or creches. Many childminders are on both registers so that they can offer care for a wide age range of children.

Providers on the Early Years Register will ususally be inspected within the first 30 months of registration, and then at least once in every inspection cycle. The current inspection cycle runs from 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2020. They will also be inspected if someone reports concerns about the childcare they're providing.

Those providers who are only on the Childcare register are inspected at random, with one in 10 being inspected per year, selected on a proportionate and risk basis, rather than as a result of a specific inspection cycle. If you are a nanny Ofsted will ask the occupier of the home where you work for permission to carry out the inspection.

All registered childminders in England on the Early Years Register must deliver and are inspected against the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

Find out more about Inspections in England for childminders here

Childminder agencies

Ofsted will inspect newly registered agencies within 12 months of the date that an agency registers its first childminder. Inspections will then take place within 36 months of the first or previous inspection. 

Ofsted inspections - what to expect

Don’t panic! As long as you’re providing a high-quality childcare service and working within the EYFS framework in England and/or meeting the requirements of the Childcare Register, you should already be prepared for your Ofsted inspection.

To make sure you’re offering the best service possible, and to put your mind at ease that you’re meeting the requirements of the EYFS and new Common Inspection Framework, PACEY offers a series of online interactive training and resources.

Common Inspection Framework

A Common Inspection Framework in England means that early years providers are inspected in a similar way to all other registered settings, including schools and further education establishments.

You can find out more about the Common Inspection Framework here:

How PACEY is working with Ofsted

Your relationship with Ofsted can form a major part of your work as a childcare professional. We work closely with Ofsted on your behalf to enable a clear understanding between Ofsted and PACEY members.

Got a question you need answered, a concern you want to raise, or an opinion you want heard? We can help.