How to become an Ofsted registered childminder

Contents

    What is a childminder?

    You are a childminder if you are caring for children in your or someone else's home for payment or reward. It does not count as childminding if it is the home of one of the children being cared for, unless the care is for more than 2 different families at the same time.

    There are some situations when you cannot or may not need to register with Ofsted.

    You can work alone or with up to 2 childminders at any one time. Each childminder (often known as co-childminders) must apply to register separately.

    If you work with 3 or more other childminders or assistants, you are providing childcare on domestic premises.

    You may also want to work in different settings as well as being a childminder.

    Domestic premises means someone lives there, it is usually the home of the registered childminder. If you are a registered childminder or provide childcare on domestic premises, you can apply to work on non-domestic premises for up to half of your time. You can find out more about this on GOV.UK website and the Childcare measures: Small Business, Enterprise & Employment Act.

    Who can I register with?

    You can choose to register with a childminder agency or stay as an independent childminder with Ofsted.

    What are childminder agencies?

    The Department for Education introduced childminder agencies in 2013 as a one-stop shop organisations that register childminders and provide them with training, advice, administrative support and marketing to families. They also provide a service for parents looking for childcare.

    You can choose to register your childminding business with a childminder agency instead of Ofsted. If you decide to do this, you will not have direct contact with Ofsted, instead Ofsted will check and inspect the agency to make sure that the registration process and quality of the service you are providing as a childminder is being met. At the moment, there are not any childminder agencies in Surrey.

    Who are Ofsted?

    The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) is the government body responsible for registering and inspecting independent childminders. Their legal powers are set out in the Childcare Act 2006.

    Ofsted inspectors help to improve quality by making judgements about the quality of care and education that childminders offer and making recommendations about how they can improve.

    Ofsted's role is to:

    • register applicants
    • regularly inspect childminders after registration
    • consider any information about childminders that suggests they may not be meeting the requirements for registration
    • take enforcement action when needed.

    The registration process

    To help you through the registration process and so you understand what is required to work as an Ofsted registered childminder you should read the following information:

    You will need to refer to these documents during your suitable person check with Ofsted at your registration visit, so we suggest you print them out or file them on your computer. Ofsted will also expect you to have these documents readily available when you are running your business.

    Who needs to register?

    You must register as a childminder with Ofsted if:

    • you look after any children under the age of eight and over
    • you look after at least one child for a total of more than two hours in any one day (or more than three hours if you are only looking after a friend's children), and
    • the care takes place on domestic premises and you receive reward for doing so.

    You cannot register if you:

    • are the child's parent, step parent or relative?
    • have parental responsibility for the child
    • are the child's foster parent
    • only care for children for two hours a day or less
    • provide care for friends where no payment is made, or it's for three hours or less a day where you do accept payment from your friend
    • care for children between 6pm and 2am only. This is classed as baby sitting.

    For more exemptions, please visit GOV.UK

    When could you be disqualified?

    Ofsted will disqualify certain applicants for registering if they, or those associated with them:

    • have committed certain offences against a child
    • have been found to have committed certain offences against an adult (for example murder, kidnapping, rape, indecent assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm)
    • have been included on the list of those who are barred from working with children, held by the Independent Safeguarding Authority
    • have been charged with certain offences against an adult, or an offence that is related to an offence, and had a relevant order imposed
    • have been made the subject of a disqualifying order
    • have been made the subject of an order or determination where a child has been removed from their care or been prevented from living with them
    • have been refused registration as a childcare provider or have had a registration cancelled (other than for cancellation for non-payment of the fee for continued registration after 1 September 2008).
    • are living on the same premises as another individual who is disqualified for one of the above reasons.

    If you wish to apply for disqualification to be waived contact Ofsted by emailing enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk or calling 0300 123 1231.

    How long does it take to register?

    It takes 12 weeks or more to register once Ofsted has all of your paperwork.

    How many children can I care for?

    Childminders can care for up to six children under the age of eight at any one time (whether providing the childminding on domestic or non-domestic premises). Of these six children, a maximum of three may be young children, and there should only be one child under the age of one. A child is a young child up until 1 September following his or her fifth birthday. Any care you provide for older children must not negatively affect your care of children getting early year's provision.

    You must include your own children in these ratios.

    If a childminder can demonstrate to parents and/or carers and Ofsted inspectors or their childminder agency that the individual needs of all the children are being met, exceptions to the usual ratios can be made, for example, when childminders are caring for sibling babies, or when caring for their own baby, or to maintain continuity of care. If children aged four and five only attend the childminding setting before and/or after a normal school day, and/or during school holidays, they may be cared for at the same time as three other young children. But in all circumstances, the total number of children under the age of eight being cared for must not exceed six.

    Although paragraph 3.42 of the EYFS framework makes reference to four and five year olds, the Department for Education stated in September 2017 that the exceptions to the usual ratios could also apply to three-year-olds taking up their additional 15 hours funded childcare place in a school.

    Childminders therefore may be able to care for more than three children under the age of five if:

    • they are able to demonstrate to parents and/or carers and Ofsted inspectors (or their childminder agency) that the individual needs of all the children are being met
    • they only care for the child before or after the normal two session school day or in the holidays
    • the total number of children under the age of eight does not exceed six at any time for each childminder
    • any care provided for older children must not adversely affect the care of children receiving early years provision.

    Ofsted registers

    There are two Ofsted registers:

    • Early Years Register– for providers caring for children aged from birth to 31 August following their fifth birthday. Providers on this register must meet the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2017).
    • Childcare Register, which has two parts:
      Part A: Compulsory – for providers caring for children from 1 September after the child's fifth birthday up until their eighth birthday. You could receive an Ofsted inspection within an inspection cycle.
      Part B: Voluntary – for providers caring for children aged eight years old and over, and other providers who are exempt from compulsory registration, such as nannies. Parents who employ a nanny may be able to get other support, like help with childcare costs.

      To decide which register is right for you, you will need to think about the age group you want to care for. Most childminders register on the Early Years Register and the Childcare Register (compulsory and voluntary parts) to give them flexibility across the age ranges and pay one fee. This means you can care for children from birth to eight years old. When you first start childminding, you do not know what the take up of your spaces will be so this may be your best option. But if you know you will only care for children before and after school (from Year 1) then you only need to apply for the Childcare Register.

      If you are only signing up to the Childcare Register (both parts) you will not receive a registration visit from an Ofsted inspector. Further guidance is available on the GOV.UK website. Childminders and Childcare Providers: Register with Ofsted, you could receive an Ofsted inspection within an inspection cycle.

    Early Years Register

    You will be expected to observe, assess and plan for children's learning throughout their time with you. Every childminder will have a different way of gathering assessment evidence. How you gather evidence will be entirely up to you. However you must be confident to be able to explain your methods to the Ofsted Inspector. These methods should have been explained during your training.

    In terms of assessment, the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) requires that you provide parents and carers with a short written summary of their child's development when the child is aged between 24 and 36 months (called a progress check at age two). You should encourage parents to share this information with other relevant professionals, including their health visitor at their child's integrated health review.

    If you are on the Early Years Register, Ofsted will usually inspect you within the first 30 months of your registration and then at least once in every inspection cycle. You will get an overall grading of either (outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate). You will also be inspected if someone reports concerns about the childcare you are providing. If you do not have a child in your care at the time of the first inspection, you will get a 'no children on roll' inspection and will be graded as 'met' or 'not met'.

    Registration fees

    You must pay an annual fee to register with Ofsted. These costs are subject to change. These figures are approximate and prospective childminders must check costs themselves at the time of registering:

    Childminder

    Early Years register: £35

    Childcare register (compulsory and/or voluntary): £103

    Both registers: £35

    Home childcarer (nanny)

    Childcare register (compulsory and/or voluntary): £103 (voluntary only)

    Childcare on domestic or non-domestic premises

    Early Years register: £220

    Childcare register (compulsory and/or voluntary): £114

    Both registers: £220

    Reduced fee for childcare on domestic/non-domestic premises

    Early Years register £35

    Both registers £35

    If you are a childcare provider on domestic or non-domestic premises, you pay a reduced application and annual fee of £35 for the Early Years Register if you work for less than any of the following:

    • 3 hours a day
    • 5 days a week
    • 45 weeks a year

    Things to check before you register with Ofsted

    About you

    To become an Ofsted registered childminder you must:

    • be 18 years old or over
    • have the right to work in the United Kingdom
    • have sufficient understanding and use of English to make sure of the well-being of the children in your care. For example you must:
    • be able to keep written records in English
    • be able to liaise with other agencies in English get emergency help
    • understand instructions, such as for safety, medicines or food hygiene.

    Renting

    If you are renting a property, you must check with the landlord that you can run a childminding business from the premises before you register with Ofsted or go on any courses to do with your registration.

    Restrictive covenants

    Restrictive covenants are 'binding' conditions that are written into a property's deeds or contract by a seller to determine what a homeowner can or cannot do with their house or land under particular circumstances'. They can cover a wide range of issues, but preventing trades or businesses from operating on the land is one of the most common examples. Restrictive covenants are mainly
    included within deeds for ex-local-authority properties bought through the Right to Buy, and new builds. However, not all of these properties' deeds contain restrictive covenants and, if they do, they won't necessarily state that the owner cannot run a business from home.

    With restrictive covenants, it very much depends on the local authority/landowner. Some deeds will have them in and some won't.

    When buying a property, a solicitor should always point out the covenants on deeds. To find out if your home (particularly if you are in a new build or moving to a new build) they have restrictive covenants in their deeds, home owners can do a search on the Land Registry website by house number and name, where they can obtain a copy of their legal title for a very small fee.

    Planning permission

    You do not necessarily need planning permission to work from home. The key test is whether the overall character of the dwelling will change as a result of the business.

    If the answer to any of the following questions is yes, then permission will probably be needed:

    • Will your home no longer be used mainly as a private residence?
    • Will your business result in a marked rise in traffic or people calling?
    • Will your business involve any activities unusual in a residential area?
    • Will your business disturb your neighbours at unreasonable hours or create other forms of nuisance such as noise or smells?

    Whatever business you carry out from your home, whether it involves using part of it as a bed-sit or for 'bed and breakfast' accommodation, using a room as your personal office, providing a childminding service, for hairdressing, dressmaking or music teaching, or using buildings in the garden for repairing cars or storing goods connected with a business - the key test is: is it still mainly a home or has it become business premises?

    If you are in doubt you may apply to your council for a Certificate of Lawful Use for the proposed activity, to confirm it is not a change of use and still the lawful use. We strongly advise you to contact your local borough or district council for advice and to let them know that you are thinking about becoming a childminder. They will tell you if a change of use of premises is required. Each borough and district council has their own rules and criteria.

    We strongly advise you to contact your local borough or district council for advice and to let them know that you are thinking about becoming a childminder. They will tell you if a change of use of premises is required. Each borough and district council has their own rules and criteria. For more information please visit the Planning Portal to find contact details of your local planning department.

    If you intend to work with four or more practitioners on site every day, this is not childminding, it is a different registration with Ofsted, and it is known as Childcare on Domestic Premises and you must have full planning permission for childcare on domestic premises. Email our Early Years and Family Resilience Commissioning Team at EYcommissioningteam@surreycc.gov.uk for advice and support as you will need to meet specific legal requirements of day care on domestic premises as this is no longer childminding.

    Local demand

    Before setting up as a registered childminder, we strongly recommend that you do some research to make sure there is work available for you in your local area.

    Areas to consider:

    • What other childcare providers are there in your local area, such as day nurseries, children's centres, after school clubs and other childminders?
    • Are you able to offer funded early education for 2, 3 and 4 year olds?
    • Are you able to offer childcare places to shift workers, such as the police, hospitals and airports, offering evenings and weekends?
    • Could you talk to local childminders about vacancies in your area?
    • Can you look online? For example, check out websites that advertise childcare providers such as: Childcare finder, Pacey, childcare.co.uk.

    Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

    If you are registering on the Early Years Register you will need to thoroughly understand The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) as it sets out the standards for the learning, development and care you'll need to provide for children from birth to five years old. You can find this document at GOV.UK.

    This includes the Learning and Development Requirements (section 1), Assessment (section 2) and The Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements (section 3).

    Section 1: Learning and Development Requirements

    To help you meet the Learning and Development Requirements, take a look at Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (2012) and the Early Years Outcomes (2013). Development Matters in the EYFS sets out children's developmental progression across the prime and specific areas of learning from birth to five years old.

    Prime areas:

    • communication and language development
    • personal, social and emotional development
    • physical development

    Specific areas:

    • expressive arts and design
    • literacy
    • mathematics
    • understanding the world.

    Development Matters in the EYFS can also help you to:

    • assess judgements of a child's development in the prime areas
    • identify if there are any areas in which a child may be developing at a faster or slower pace than the expected level of progress for their age
    • discuss a child's progress with their parents or other professionals (where relevant).

    Characteristics of effective learning:

    When you are planning and guiding children's activities, you must reflect on the different ways that children learn and include these in your practice.

    Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:

    • playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things and have a go
    • active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and they enjoy achievements
    • creating and critical thinking – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

    You do not have to meet the Learning and Development Requirements if you are only registered for the Childcare Register. But you have to meet the requirements in the Early years and childcare registration handbook.

    Section 2: Assessment

    If you are caring for a child aged between two and three years old, you must review their progress and provide their parents or carers with a short written summary of their development in the prime areas. This is called a progress check. It must identify the child's strengths, and any areas where the child's progress is less than expected. Further information on the progress check age two can be found on the EYFS framework.

    Section 3: Safeguarding and welfare requirements

    At your Ofsted inspection, including your registration visit, you must be able to demonstrate how you meet the safeguarding and welfare requirements. Therefore you must have a written Safeguarding policy and procedure (which should include lost/missing child and uncollected child) and Complaints policy and procedure. For all the others you may have, we strongly advise that you have these in writing. Your policies and procedures should explain to parents and other professionals how you keep children healthy and safe and they help protect you from any complaints or allegations. It's good practice for parents to sign to say they have read and understood them when their child starts with you.

    Once you have registered with Ofsted you can sign up to the Early Years Learning Portal via the Surrey Early Years Support Services where you will have access to all of our Surrey training, templates, policies and procedures guidance.

    Step by step – how to apply to register as a childminder

    If you would like to become an independent registered childminder with Ofsted after reading the information given in this booklet, then follow the steps below.

    1. Introductory course

    You must have completed training which helps you to understand and implement the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) before registering with Ofsted or a childminder agency. Your knowledge must be current. Childminders are accountable for the quality of the work of any assistants, and must be satisfied that assistants are competent in the areas of work they undertake. As a local authority we are not permitted to advise you as to which course to take; though for example PACEY and the Online Learning College offer online options, and other training providers such as ANSA Training offer classroom style training. Please be advised that Surrey County Council has not undertaken any quality checking of the courses provided by these providers.

    For the voluntary register. Childminders and home childcarers must have successfully completed a qualification at a minimum of level 2 in an area of work relevant to childcare, or training in the common core skills.

    Safeguarding training

    Childminders must attend safeguarding children training in line with guidance and procedures of the Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership. Please check with your training provider if this is included in their training.

    All Early Years Safeguarding Training is accessed via the Surrey safeguarding children partnership. This includes the e-learning Working Together to Safeguard Children and Early Years Designated Safeguarding Lead - combined new to role and refresher training.

    2. Registering with Ofsted

    For the latest information and to ensure that you are following the correct process please visit the GOV.UK website. To make your application please sign in or start a new application via the GOV.UK registration page.

    There are range of useful step by step how to guide on the Ofsted Youtube page.

    3. Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks

    You will need your DBS certificate number to be able to complete your Ofsted application forms. If you are applying for both Ofsted registers, apply using the EYC application form.

    • You need to fill in the EYC form, which will enable you to apply for your DBS check.
    • Everyone 16 years and over living or working on your premises must fill out an EY2 form. There is a health declaration section in the EY2 which they must answer honestly – it does not need to be given to a GP to fill out. Find out more at Ofsted DBS

    The reference is OfSTED'P' for new registrations and OfSTED'A' for applicants linked to provision that is already registered. For example, working with another registered childminder.

    If you have lived outside of the UK within the last five years, you will need to get a police check or certificate of good conduct from any country you have lived in. You must record on the EYC form, every period of time that you have lived outside the UK, for example travelling on a gap year.

    If you have worked in the armed forces (including RAF, Army, Navy, British Forces and Early Years Service) and belong to the Soldier, Sailor, Airmen & Families Association (SSAFA) or have lived or worked on a military base in the UK or in an overseas command in the last five years, then you will need to get a reference number and date of issue of your SSAFA.

    How to register for the DBS update service

    The online DBS update service allows you to keep your DBS certificates up to date, and if you have assistants, you can check their DBS certificates too.

    You can register online as soon as you have your application reference number (the form reference on your application form). DBS must receive your application form within 28 days. If you have already applied, you can register for the update service using your DBS certificate number. You must do this within 30 days of the certificate being issued. Registration lasts one year and
    costs £13 a year.

    You can choose to automatically renew your subscription or you can log into your account and
    make a payment 30 days before your subscription ends. If your subscription has not been
    renewed 14 days before the expiry date, DBS will send you a reminder letter.

    Find out more and register via the GOV.UK DBS update service. Costs may be subject to change.

    4. Health declaration

    Complete a health declaration booklet if you are registering as a childminder on the Early Years Register or if you will be working directly with children.

    Fill in parts A and B and then ask your doctor to fill in past C. We recommend you ask your doctor if you can collect the completed form from them rather than them sending it directly to Ofsted so it does not hold up your application. You can then send the health declaration booklet along with your references (see point 6) to Ofsted, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester M1 2WD.

    5. Paediatric first aid course

    Before or after completing a childminding introductory course, book on to a paediatric first aid course that's at least 12 hours long. See Annex A of the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework.

    As a local authority we are not permitted to advise you as to which course to take; though you can choose from the providers listed below:

    Please be advised that Surrey County Council has not undertaken any quality checking of the courses provided by these providers.
    You will need to show the Ofsted inspector your paediatric first aid certificate at the registration visit. You will also need to do refresher training every three years to help maintain basic skills and keep up to date with any change to paediatric first aid procedures.

    6. References

    You will need two or more references to confirm your good character and whenever possible, that you are suitable to provide childcare. Your referees must not be your friends, it's preferable if your references come from recent employers or those with standing in your community. Send your references with your health declaration booklet (see point 4) to Ofsted, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester M1 2WD.

    If you have any questions about the registration process then give Ofsted a call on 0300 123 1231 (Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm).

    After you apply

    Once you submit your application Ofsted will:

    • check your references
    • review any checks with your doctor, local council and the Disclosure and Barring Service
    • check on anyone else who will be living or working at the premises where you'll be caring for the child.

    Ofsted will usually interview you and they may also inspect your premises. This is known as a registration visit.

    Registration visits

    You will only get a registration visit from an Ofsted inspector if you have applied to the Early Years Register. If you are applying for both registers, Ofsted will look at how well you meet the requirements for the Childcare Register when they inspect you for the Early Years Register.

    However, if only applying on the Childcare Register you will not have a registration visit (see page 6 where it relates to the Childcare Register).

    The registration visit is an important part of the registration process. It will normally take place once all checks are complete but may take place earlier. Ofsted will discuss with you how you are going to meet the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework.
    It's not necessary for you to have a full range of equipment when Ofsted visit but you must demonstrate how you are going to get enough equipment and resources to meet the needs and ages and stages of children you intend to care for.

    If your application is approved

    If your application is successful, Ofsted will send you a certificate of registration.

    During the registration process you will be given an opportunity to opt out of having your full name and address published on the Ofsted website.

    If your application is refused

    Ofsted will send you a letter called a notice of intention which will tell you why your application has been turned down. They will also send you a leaflet about how to object the decision.

    There is more information about who cannot register and why an applicant may be disqualified on page 4 and 5.

    Objecting to a decision

    If your application has been refused and Ofsted has sent you a notice of intention, you have 14 days from the date on the notice to object to the decision.

    Ofsted will consider your objection and will tell you if you are still refused registration.

    If you do not object within 14 days, or if Ofsted does not change its decision, they will send you a notice of decision letter. This is Ofsted's final decision to refuse registration. You can appeal this decision.

    Appealing a decision

    If Ofsted send you a notice of decision you can appeal to an independent tribunal. You must appeal within 28 days of the date that you are sent the notice of decision. You will find how to appeal guidance for childcare providers at GOV.UK.

    Withdrawing your application

    You must tell Ofsted if you want to withdraw your application. If you do not, the application process will continue and your application may be refused if you do not meet all the requirements.

    If your application is refused, you will be disqualified from providing registered childcare in the future.

    You usually cannot withdraw your application if Ofsted has sent you a notice of intention.

    Once you are registered

    Once you receive your Ofsted registration certificate and unique reference number (URN) you are officially a registered childminder and can start working with children.

    Book a newly registered support visit

    Once you are officially an Ofsted registered childminder, you can book a newly registered support visit with an Early Years Advisor within the Educational Effectiveness team at: earlyyearsadvisors@surreycc.gov.uk. This free visit will help you to prepare for your first Ofsted grading inspection, you will also be invited to childminder network events in your area.

    Get support from the Early Years Educational Effectiveness Team

    The Early Years Advisors in the Early Years Educational Effectiveness team offers a range of advice and support for childminders in Surrey. This includes:

    • Childcare professionals update e-bulletins – these emails are one of the main ways we keep in touch with you and share information about changes to legislation, sector news, training updates and more. We strongly recommend you sign up, you can do this via E-bulletin updates for childcare professionals.
    • Web pages – we provide advice, information and free resources on a range of topics including the EYFS, running your business, funding and supporting children on Surrey's Childcare professionals webpages.
    • Training – find out more about our training on our Early Years Learning Portal

    Register to provide funded early education for 2, 3 and 4 year olds

    If you are registered on the Early Years Register you may want to offer funded early education to parents. There are three different types:

    • Funded Early Education for 2 year olds
    • Funded Early Education for 3 and 4 year olds
    • 30 hours funded childcare for 3 and 4 year olds.

    The government pays the funding directly to you. You will need to register to be on the Surrey County Council Directory of Providers and claim the funding through the online Funding Early Education Portal. You can find out more and apply on the Providing funded early education webpage.

    If you would like business advice about offering funded early education for 2, 3 and 4 year olds email our Finance and Practice Team at fundedearlyeducation@surreycc.gov.uk

    Advertise your childcare places

    Ofsted let our Surrey Family Information Services (FIS) know when you become registered and they enter your basic details on to their database.

    We will send you a form asking if you would like to advertise your childcare vacancies to parents for free, through Childcare Finder. Childcare Finder is an online search tool from Surrey Family Information Service that allows parents and carers to search for childcare information quickly and easily.

    We can only advertise your childcare vacancies once Ofsted has told us that you are registered. We will automatically remove your vacancy details from Childcare Finder after three months unless you tell us otherwise. You can update your childcare vacancy details at any time.

    Surrey Family Information Service (FIS)

    Surrey Family Information Service (FIS) is a statutory service providing free impartial information and signposting for families with children aged 0 to 19 (up to 25 years for those with additional needs). We also manage and maintain the Surrey Local Offer enquiry service and website.

    Keep your details up to date

    You must tell Ofsted about any changes that affect your childcare. You can find a full list of the changes you must report on the:

    Reporting changes to Ofsted

    You need to tell Ofsted about changes to:

    • the premises
    • contact details
    • the staff, or adults living on the childminding premises
    • childcare hours
    • the registered person or nominated individual.

    You can call Ofsted on 0300 123 1231 (8am – 6pm, Monday to Friday), email enquiries@Ofsted.gov.uk or write to Ofsted, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester M1 2WD.

    Frequently asked questions

    Have you thought about how the following may affect you and your childminding business:

    Will I have to register for tax and national insurance?

    When you become a registered childminder you must register with HMRC within three months. If you do not register within this time you may be liable to pay a penalty.

    As a self-employed person you pay a fixed amount of Class 2 National Insurance (some exemptions may apply). For more information, go to GOV.UK.

    Can my children still have friends to play? And can I still take my children to their after school or daily activities?

    You can only have your children's friends over if you remain within the registration ratio guidance for each register you apply to be on. As you are paid to work as a childminder to care for other people's children, your child's activities may not meet the minded children's needs. For example, if your child attends swimming lessons, it is not acceptable for the minded child to sit on the side.

    Can I be a childminder if my partner works shifts so will be sleeping during the daytime or is around a lot?

    You may wish to discuss this with your partner as you will be providing home-based childcare and there will be noise from the children.

    My partner smokes is this allowed? And can I have a wine rack or alcohol fridge on display?

    Ofsted will not register applicants if they can smell carcinogenic (tobacco smoke) on an applicant or within the home. Smoking is not permitted on the premises. Alcohol should not be on display or accessible to children.

    How will I manage other children's behaviour?

    You are responsible for managing children's behaviour in an appropriate way in partnership with parents (but, no corporal punishment must be given, to include smacking/grabbing a child or humiliation).

    Do I have to work set hours or days?

    As you are self-employed you can work any hours you wish to set.

    What happens if a family member is elderly or has a long term illness and lives at my home?

    This is something you must decide in terms of sustainability and balancing your own family needs with running a business. Am I allowed to keep pets? Yes. Dogs and cats should have up to date vaccination records. You should also undertake a risk assessment to safeguard the children in your care.

    Do I need a garden?

    You do not need a garden. However, a childminder must have arrangements in place for outdoor play.

    Do parents or I provide food and drink for the children?

    You can choose whether to provide food and drink or not. You will need to discuss children's dietary requirements with parents and you have a responsibility to make sure children eat healthily while in your care.

    When will I be able to do my shopping, cleaning or other housework? And fill a car up with petrol?

    Any large family shopping trips should be undertaken outside of your childminding hours. But short shopping trips can be educational for children.

    It is best practice to fill up your car outside of childminding hours as you must make sure you don't leave children unaccompanied in the car at any time. Housework should be done outside of childminding hours.

    Do I need any childcare qualifications?

    Childminders must have completed training which helps them to understand and implement the EYFS.