The Childcare Act 2006 introduced a new Ofsted Childcare Register with compulsory and voluntary parts.
Childcare providers must by law register on this part if they rewarded (paid) for caring for children aged five to seven years for more than two hours a day. Typically, these will be childminders or childcarers who look after children before and after school or during the school holidays (unless they are exempt).
Childcare providers who are not required to register by law can choose to register on this part of the register. This allows eligible parents to use the childcare element of Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit or use childcare vouchers or Tax-Free Childcare to help with childcare costs.
The types of childcare that can choose to register include:
- those providing care for children aged over seven, such as home child carers, breakfast clubs, after school clubs and holiday playschemes.
- activity based care (sports, drama, language or art clubs)
- care provided in the child's home such as nannies and au pairs or home based care for disabled children.