What is a childminder?

A childminder is a person who works with children for more than two hours a day in their own home and receives payment. 

Be your own boss, choose your own hours, work from home, enable your career to fit around your commitments and caring for your family. All while supporting the children you care for in your local community grow and develop.

You must register with Ofsted or a childminder agency to look after children in your home. If you’re looking after children in their own home, you should register with Ofsted as a nanny or au pair instead.

There are some situations when you do not have to register with Ofsted, and some when you cannot register. Find out more about registration exemptions and when to join the voluntary part of the Childcare Register.

Childminder agencies

Childminder agencies (CMAs) register childminders and providers of childcare on domestic premises (a group of four or more childminders) and help them with training, business support, advice and finding parents. CMAs may also cover some of the upfront costs involved in becoming registered. All CMAs must register with, and are regulated and inspected by, Ofsted. 

Childminder agencies: list of agencies - provides contact information for CMAs that are open for applications. 

Ofsted CMA inspection report - lists all registered CMAs including those who are not registering new childminders. 

Register as a childminder with Ofsted

Which register to join

There are two Ofsted registers: the Early Years Register and the Childcare Register.

You should join the Early Years Register if you’re caring for children aged from birth to 31 August after their fifth birthday. You will need to meet all the safeguarding and welfare and the learning and development requirements of the statutory requirements for the early years foundation stage.

The Childcare Register has two parts:

  • Compulsory – for providers caring for children from 1 September after the child’s fifth birthday up until their eighth birthday
  • Voluntary – join this if you are looking after children aged 8 and over, or if you are choosing to register voluntarily (for example, if you’re a nanny)

Once you have joined the Childcare Register, you must meet the register requirements.

Find out more about the Ofsted registers

Register as a childminder with Ofsted

To register as a childminder with Ofsted you will need: 

It costs £35 to register with Ofsted and takes up to 12 weeks to process the application. Costs for registering with a childminder agency are set by each organisation.

Register as a childminder online

After you apply

Ofsted will do background checks with local authorities, check your references, and give you a reference number to use if you have any questions about your application. 

An inspector will visit you to check your identity and qualifications, your house and garden are safe for children, that you’re familiar with the early years foundation stage (EYFS) and know how to put it into practice and your level of English. 

You will not usually get a registration visit if you’re only looking after children aged over five.

If your application is approved 

You will get a certificate of registration. Ofsted will publish your unique reference number (URN) and inspection report online.

If your application is refused

Ofsted will send you a letter called a ‘notice of intention’ which will tell you why you’ve been turned down. You’ll be disqualified from applying again in future. You can object to a decision and if you disagree with Ofsted’s final decision, you can appeal.

After you’re registered

You must continue to meet the registration requirements, pay the annual registration fee, keep your details up to date and report any major accidents and incidents. 

Find out more about delivering early education funding for two, three and four-year-olds

Once you have registered with Ofsted or a childminder agency you will be added to Warwickshire County Council’s Family Information Service childcare providers directory and appear on the childcare provider search. It is important to ensure that all your details are up to date, including session times and contact details. This is a free service for childcare providers and families. Childcare providers can update details on the childcare record any time. 

If you can't remember your username and/or password, please contact the Family Information Service on 01926 742274 or email fis@warwickshire.gov.uk