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Starting a childcare business on the Ofsted Early Years Register

New providers are a great addition to the local childcare market and if you are starting an early years business there is a lot to think about. Businesses offering childcare must register with Ofsted except in a small number of circumstances.

Use the table below to find out what type of Ofsted registered childcare provision you want to offer:

Type of childcare I want to provideType of childcare provider I should be
Taking care of children in your own home with up to two other peopleChildminder
Working with three or more other adults in someone’s home to care for childrenChildcare on domestic premises
Caring for children of up to two families at the same time in their homesNanny or home childcarer
Setting up a nursery or pre schoolEarly years provision
Setting up an out-of-school club or holiday play schemeOut of school provision

The Ofsted registers

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

Early Years Register

You should join this 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 (Gov.uk).

Childcare Register

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 eight 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 (Gov.uk).

Decide which register to join

Type of childcareType of register
Looking after children from birth to 31 August after their fifth birthdayEarly Years Register
Looking after children from 1 September after their fifth birthday up to their eighth birthdayCompulsory part of the Childcare Register
Looking after children aged eight and overVoluntary part of the Childcare Register
Looking after children as a nannyVoluntary part of the Childcare Register
Any other childcare when you don’t have to register with Ofsted (Gov.uk)Voluntary part of the Childcare Register

You must register on the Early Years Register and the Childcare Register to look after children of all ages.

Childminders work from their own homes, caring for children of all ages. Most childminders offer a full menu of services including full day childcare for pre-school aged children, before and after school sessions and school holiday care.

Registering with Ofsted

You must register with Ofsted as a childminder if you intend to care for children:

  • that you are not related to
  • for more than two hours a day
  • for pay or gain
  • on domestic premises (normally your home)
  • that are under eight years of age

Help and support we offer

If you want to register on the Early Years Register, you can apply for an information pack which will provide advice and guidance on how to register with Ofsted, business planning and how to provide high quality childcare.

This information is aimed at anyone considering registering as a childminder on both the Ofsted Early Years Register and Childcare Register to care for children aged 0 to 18 years in their own home.

By registering your interest, you will receive an email with an information pack. If you want to register on the Childcare Register only you can email [email protected] to request a Childcare Register information pack.

Childcare on domestic premises is where four or more people come together to work in a home-based setting at any one time. “Domestic premises” means somewhere that’s used entirely or mainly as a private home. You can have four or more childminders or any mix of childminders and childminding assistants.

Registering with Ofsted

You cannot work as a childminder and offer childcare on domestic premises under the same registration. If you want to work part of your time as a childminder, and part as childcare on domestic premises, you need to register separately for each. You will need to pay two fees and have separate inspections.

You can find out more information about registering as Childcare on domestic premises at Childminders and childcare providers: register with Ofsted webpage (Gov.uk).

Help and support we offer

If you want to register as Childcare on domestic premises you can email [email protected] to request support and advice.

A nanny (also known as a home childcarer) works in the home of the child they are caring for. They can be responsible for all aspects of childcare and can only work for up to two sets of parents.

Registering with Ofsted

Nannies don’t have to be registered or inspected by Ofsted. However, there is a voluntary part of the Ofsted Childcare Register where you can register as a nanny. This will help you show parents your commitment to the highest standards of care.

Before you are registered with Ofsted, you will need to:

  • have a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check
  • complete a 12 hour paediatric first aid course 

and have either one of the following:

  • a level 2 qualification relevant to childcare
  • training in the Common Core of Skills and Knowledge

You can find out more information about becoming a nanny at Childminders and childcare providers: register as a nanny with Ofsted webpage (Gov.uk).

An early years group provision is usually on non-domestic premises, for example in purpose-built premises, village hall or on school premises. This type of childcare includes nurseries and pre-schools.

Registering with Ofsted

Early years providers caring for children from birth up to the 31 August after their fifth birthday must register on the Early Years Register unless they are exempt.

Help and support we offer

You can apply for an Information pack which will provide advice and guidance on how to register with Ofsted, business planning and how to provide high quality childcare.

A charity is an organisation which has been set up exclusively for charitable purposes and for the benefit of the public or a particular section of the public. Charity childcare provision is established for the purpose of providing care and education to meet the individual needs of children during those early years, giving them the necessary support and encouragement to achieve their full potential. The public benefit in this case would be to the children and families receiving the services.

The Charities Act provide the legal framework for charities; including requirements relating to the governance, activities, how they use their assets and how they are regulated. The Charity Commission is the body that regulates charities and oversee their work. The members of the charity should follow the Charity Commission guidance, and seek advice as necessary, to ensure they understand how a charity must work to these requirements.

Charities are governed by a group of committed people who volunteer to run the organisation - they are known as trustees or committee members. The charity trustee’s/committee members cannot generally receive any payment or wage for their work, other than reasonable reimbursement for reasonable expenses however, they can employ and manage staff to carry out the day to day activities of the charity, for example, a manager to run the childcare provision and staff to look after and teach the children. As charities are ‘not for profit’ organisations, any money received must be re-invested back into the organisation to help it achieve its purpose.

The trustee’s/committee members are in charge of the charity, collectively they are responsible legally and financially for the group. It is important that all trustee’s/committee members are aware of their role and responsibilities. The childcare staff also need to be aware of the role of the committee, as this will help develop good working relationships within the setting and ensure the Early years foundation stage (EYFS) legal requirements are met.

The committee has the power to create and adapt business aims and objectives for the setting, and to make policy decisions designed to assist with achieving these. If the aims and objectives have already been established, then each committee member must know and understand them.

The committee are the registered provider for the setting for Ofsted. The committee have to choose a nominated individual who will be interviewed by Ofsted to ensure they know their responsibilities under the EYFS. This includes knowledge of Section 3 - The safeguarding and welfare requirements, safer recruitment, supervision, staff training and development.

You must apply to Ofsted if you want to take up a governance position. You will each have to Apply to join a nursery or other daycare organisation (EY2) (Gov.uk) and complete an Early years and childcare services: EY3 changes to individuals (Gov.uk) digital form.

If you are a new trustee/committee member or a nominated individual, you are required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check online before you can be added to an Ofsted registration.

The EYFS outlines the employers’ duties to ensure that all staff and volunteers employed are suitable and qualified to work in the setting. The committee should follow safer recruitment practices and obtain satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Checks (DBS) for all candidates before employing them.

Useful tools to support charitable committee run childcare

These guides should not be used as a replacement to seeking specific professional or legal guidance to ensure that you comply with the requirements for your particular charity.

An out of school provision is any kind of childcare provision for school aged children that takes place on non domestic premises out of normal school hours.

Registering with Ofsted

You must register with Ofsted as a child carer on non-domestic premises if you intend to set up an out of school provision. School managed provision does not need to register separately but must meet the same requirements from Ofsted.

Help and support we offer

You can apply for an information pack which will provide advice and guidance on how to register with Ofsted, business planning and how to provide high quality childcare.

Why information is on a different website
We are in the process of adding information to this new unitary council website. Some pages will give you a link back to a previous council website to help you find what you need. Read more about the council changes.

Last updated 18 March 2022