Childminders look after other people's children in their own home. They can provide flexible individual care in a home environment as well as linking with other services in your local community such as children's centres, toddler groups and libraries.
- How do I know my child will be safe?
- Do they have any training?
- What age range can childminders look after?
- How many children can a childminder look after?
- What hours do childminders work?
- How much does a childminder cost?
- Can I claim free childcare through a childminder?
- How can I find details of childminders in my area?
- Further reading
How do I know my child will be safe?
Childminders must be registered by Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills) if they look after children up to eight years old for more than two hours a day, in their own home for pay or reward.
This means they are inspected on a regular basis to make sure:
- The care and learning they provide meets the Early Years Foundation Stage.
- They and their homes are safe and suitable.
- They and all adults (16 and over) in their house have been checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
Do they have any training?
All registered childminders need to complete a certified Childminding Introductory Programme (ChIP) certified by the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) certification service. They also need paediatric first aid training.
What age range can childminders look after?
Childminders can look after children from birth right through until secondary school, although their registration only regulates the care of children aged eight and under.
How many children can a childminder look after?
A childminder can care for a maximum of six children under eight years old, of which usually no more than three may be under the age of five, and no more than one of these may be under one (although Ofsted may grant an exception, for example, for twins). These numbers will include the childminder's own children.
Childminders can also care for additional children over eight but they will have to demonstrate to Ofsted that they can meet the varying needs of all children being cared for.
What hours do childminders work?
Childminders can offer flexible hours, either full time, part time, term time and during the school holidays, to suit you and your child's commitments.
How much does a childminder cost?
Childminders are self employed and are able to set their charges themselves as there is no national rate. However, the average cost for a childminder in Surrey is usually between £4 and £6.50 per hour.
Depending on when you want to take up the place you may also be asked to pay a retainer fee or deposit to reserve a place for your child.
If you are eligible you may be able to get help towards your childcare costs through the childcare element of Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit or by using Childcare vouchers or Tax-Free Childcare.
Can I claim free childcare through a childminder?
If your childminder is registered for Free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds they can claim up to 15 free hours for your child the term after their third birthday. You will need to speak to the childminder in the first instance to see if they are happy to claim the funding on your behalf.
Depending on your family circumstances you may also be eligible to claim Free childcare for 2 year olds.
How can I find details of childminders in my area?
You can search for childminders in your area in our Childcare Finder.
You can find further information about finding and paying for childcare in our Choosing childcare booklet.
You might also like to have a look at our At my childminder's photobook for real life snapshots of how children in the care of a childminder might spend their time.
Files available to download
- Choosing childcare booklet (1.0 MB)
Information for families about choosing, finding and paying for childcare
- Checklist - childminder (29.1 KB)
Questions to ask and what to look out for when visiting a childminder
- At my childminder's photobook for parents (2.3 MB)
Real life snapshots of how children in the care of a childminder might spend their time