Helpful information when choosing a Childminder


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Helpful information when choosing a Childminder

Here are some key facts and things to consider when looking to use a childminder.

What is a registered childminder?

  • A childminder is a person providing care for one or more children aged between birth and 18, to whom they are not related, for reward, in someone’s home (usually their own). 

  • They are allowed to care for up to six children under the age of eight, including their own, but only three of them can be aged under five with only one of these under the age of 12 months (although variations can be made in the case of twins, etc.)

  • All registered childminders are required to undertake a basic training course, including first aid, and most go on to do further training and professional development.

  • Childminders have to be registered with Ofsted or with a Childminder Agency if they look after children under the age of eight for more than two hours a day. Every Ofsted registered childminder has an Ofsted registration certificate which indicates the maximum number of children that can be cared for on the premises. A Childminder registered via a Childminder Agency will come under the Agencies registration.

  • All childminders and all members of the childminder’s household over the age of 16 must have received a satisfactory police check – the Disclosure Barring System (DBS) before becoming registered.

  • Childminders must comply with The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS 2021) and receive an inspection from Ofsted within a 6-year window. An inspection report is issued which should be available to parents. The report can also be found on the Ofsted website

  • For childminders that are registered and regulated by Ofsted, they are inspected before registration and then within 30 months when they are caring for pre-school children.

  • Some childminders are trained and able to support children with additional needs.

  • Many childminders are registered to provide funded sessions for 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds.

  • There are 4 Ofsted gradings Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate. Inspection reports can be viewed on the Ofsted website Parents are advised to read the inspection report carefully and discuss any queries or concerns with the childminder – circumstances may have changed since the inspection was carried out.

  • Childminders are flexible and all work different hours, so you can discuss with the childminder what they can offer to meet your children’s individual needs. Some childminders offer nursery/school drop off/pickups and holiday care for older children.

  • If they are caring for pre-school children they follow the Early Years Foundation Stage framework, so your pre-school child will experience learning and development activities suitable for their stage of development.   

  • Childminders record and discuss with parents/carers the progress of the pre-school children in their care


Quality of childminding

All childminders who care for children under the age of eight must be registered and inspected by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted), or registered with a Childminding Agency who carry out checks on the home and childminder.

A childminder can only be registered with Ofsted or a Childminding Agency, they cannot be registered with both. 

All adults (16+) living and working in the homes of childminders caring for children under eight will be checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Childminders who care for children aged eight and over can be registered on the Voluntary part of the Ofsted Childcare Register.

For Ofsted registered childminders, you can check their Ofsted report by following the link on their record on this website or by going directly to the Ofsted reports website and searching using their Ofsted Unique Reference Number.

All Ofsted registered childminders receive support from the Council's Childcare and Early Education service, to ensure that they continue to meet expectation and maintain a high standard of care. Childminders registered with an Agency will receive their support directly from them.

How much does a childminder cost?

You will need to negotiate hours, terms and conditions with your childminder. Rates may vary.  Sometimes hourly rates for children attending school are higher than those for the under 5s. Childminders can offer flexible rates, and some accept employers’ childcare vouchers and tax free childcare

Some questions to ask when choosing a childminder

  • Ask to look around the home and garden. You will need to be shown all the areas that your child will have access to. Where do the children eat, sleep and play? Is hygiene and safety in the home what you would expect? Is there a suitable range of toys, books and equipment for your child? Is it in good condition?

  • Ask how the childminder organises their day. What activities and outings are provided?

  • Ask how many children are cared for (including the minder’s own children). What are their ages? If other children are present, how does the childminder relate to them? Do they seem happy, calm and well occupied?

  • Ask how the childminder manages children’s behaviour.

  • Ask to see the childminder’s registration certificate, latest inspection report and current public liability insurance certificate. Weigh up your own observations and discuss the inspection report with the childminder to get a full picture of the quality of service being provided.

  • Ask what training or experience the childminder has had. Can the childminder show you training certificates and/or references? Registered childminders must have a valid full 12-hour Ofsted approved Paediatric First Aid certificate and Public Liability Insurance.

  • Ask about the practical details. What do the fees include and what meals are provided?

Is childminding the right choice?

Childminding might be suitable for you for a range of reasons, for example;

  • You want your child to be cared for in a family home

  • You want your child to have one carer

  • You have a pre-school child and a school aged child and it’s important they’re cared for together

  • You are good at saying what you want

  • Mixing with large groups of children isn’t a priority right now

  • Your child would cope better in a home environment than in a group setting 


Page last reviewed: 23/03/2023

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