If you are looking after an individual child under 8 years old for more than two hours a day (or 10 hours a week) in England you must register with Ofsted. Childminders in Wales must be registered with Care Inspectorate Wales and childminders in Scotland must be registered with the Scottish Care Inspectorate.
Registering with Ofsted
What Happens Next?
What is Ofsted?
Ofsted is the office for standards in education, children’s services and skills. It is responsible for inspecting and regulating services that care for children and young people, ensuring their suitability. Ofsted reports its findings about the effectiveness of each setting which is readily available for the public.
How to Register with Ofsted
Ofsted registration must be made through the Government Gateway Ofsted Online. To register, you need to be 18 years old or over and have the right to work in the UK.
If you live in Greater London, Ofsted is currently trialling a new system which is available to try out. The scheme will be rolled out to other regions shortly.
There are two different types of Ofsted Registers - so which one should you join?
The Early Years Register
You should join this register if you’re caring for children aged from birth to 5 (from 31st August after their 5th birthday).
You will need to meet all the safeguarding and welfare plus the learning and development requirements of the statutory requirements for the early years foundation stage.
The Childcare Register
Looking after school-age children
There are two parts to this:
- Compulsory – for providers caring for children from 1st September after the child’s 5th birthday, up to their 8th 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.
Once registered with Ofsted, your company name and address will appear on the Ofsted website. Ofsted will then post its inspection reports and this information is readily available to the public. Registering with Ofsted usually takes around 12 weeks, but timescales can vary.
The Registration Visit
Only applies to Early Years Register.
Ofsted will now check all information sent. This will include;
- Your identity.
- Your understanding of ages and how many children you can care for.
- All documentation, qualifications, insurance, first aid training etc.
- Suitability of your home, equipment and toys.
- Your understanding of safety, security and risk assessment.
- Your understanding of the EYFS.
- That you are able to speak English well enough to teach and record in English.
At the end of the inspection, Ofsted will then deem if you are ‘suitable’ or ‘not suitable’ for registration. You will receive either a certificate of registration (please keep this in a safe place) or a ‘notice of intention’ refusing the registration. If you are refused you will not be allowed to apply to become a childminder again in the future.
After successful registration
- Ofsted will add you to its website and publish your name, address and telephone number.
- An inspector will visit your home and complete an inspection if you are joining the Early Years Register. If you are joining the Childcare Register you may have an Ofsted visit.
- Your Ofsted reports will be published here.
- Congratulations - you are now registered with Ofsted!
All documentation including policies, qualifications, insurance, first aid training etc must be ready for your Ofsted visit. To get a head-start purchase our Childminding Start-up Pack.
Preparing for an Ofsted Inspection
One of the first things prospective parents will do when choosing who to entrust their children with for their early years’ childcare, will be to seek out the nursery’s latest Ofsted report.
The phrase ‘Ofsted inspection’ can put childminders into a panic but these inspections are the only way of officially endorsing the quality of care and education that you provide to the children in your setting. Once a childcare provider is registered on the Early Years Register, Ofsted carries out regular inspections to evaluate the overall quality and standards of its early years’ provision, in line with the principles and requirements of the ‘Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage’. The current inspection cycle runs from 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2020.
Providers listed on the Early Years Register will usually have their setting inspected at least once within this four-year cycle. Providers who register after this date will normally be inspected within 30 months of their registration date.
We give our top tips on how you can prepare for an Ofsted inspection so that you can help the visit go as smoothly and stress-free as possible!
You will have either one or half a day’s notice of a visit, so ensure that you have to hand everything you want the inspector to know about your setting. You can also be inspected without warning – however, this is normally if Ofsted is concerned about the childcare you provide. Carry on with your routines as normal and don’t try to do things differently on the day, as the inspector will almost certainly notice!
- Keep calm and carry On - Instead of getting nervous about the forthcoming visit, try to think of it as an opportunity to showcase what you have on offer and how well your setting is run on a day-to-day basis.
- Keep your website up-to-date - this will save you valuable time and hassle during that all important visit countdown.
- Engage with Parents - How you engage with parents - ranging from the day-to-day communication to detailed reporting on the children’s development - is one of the things that the Ofsted inspector will look at closely.
- It's all in the Planning - Even though there won’t be much time for planning before the inspection, ensure that everything you need is in place and your paperwork is up-to-date so there is no rush, come inspection day.
- Housekeeping - Everything you need to show the inspector on the day should be readily available. Try and make a good impression by having your paperwork tidy and organised.
- The Day Has Arrived - most observation will revolve around spending time with the children and observing how the staff interact with them, all the things that form part of your everyday routine! The inspector will give you feedback and explain what the next steps are for improvement, if there are any.
Top things to prepare
- What you have in place for self-evaluation.
- The inspector will not check all your policies, procedures and documentation, but all your DBS records and first aid certificates will need to be checked.
- Your understanding of EYFS and its requirements.
- How your early years provision meets the needs of the children in your care.
- How you work closely with parents and other professionals.
- Any additional training you have undertaken.
The day has arrived
Try not to stay up late scrutinising everything the night before an Ofsted inspection as you will want to have energy left to for the inspection itself. You also don't want an untidy environment as you don't want your inspector to believe any mess or clutter is also reflection of your quality of care. For last minute inspections, simply scoop of surfaces into a box, which you can then put in a cupboard or even your car.
This is your chance to really show-off and be proud of all the hard work that you put into running your busy setting every single day.
Some information on this page has been taken from the following source.
Ensure Paperwork & Self Evaluations are Up-to-Date
Your DBS records, first-aid and training certificates will be checked along with your method for Self-Evaluation.
Ensure Your Website is Ofsted Compliant
It's important your website is GDPR compliant and designed in line with Ofsted requirements. We can help with Ofsted compliant websites.
Know the latest EYFS requirements
Your understanding of the EYFS Statutory Framework and its requirements will be high on the agenda of the Ofsted inspector.
Undertake Additional Training
Ofsted will pay attention to any additional training you or your staff have undertaken. When you study one of Parenta’s online CPD courses, there are no deadlines, no time restrictions and no classroom visits required.