“What are the Ofsted childminder requirements?” This is a question we hear all the time!

If you want to make a big impact in early education, and help little humans thrive, childminding is a great career choice. It’s also a career path that’s regulated by Ofsted, who oversee and inspect education and childcare services. Their requirements must be fulfilled in order to legally work as a childminder. Here is a breakdown of everything you need to meet the Ofsted childminder requirements.

Want to work as a childminder?

Child playing in the rain outside Ofsted childminder's house
Understanding the Ofsted childminder requirements: essential before you start your new career

1. Background checks

Childminders can choose to register with Ofsted or an agency (more info on that here). Either way, you will need the same background checks and documents to apply. If you choose a childminding agency like Koru Kids, we support you through the process. We also help you understand what forms you need to fill out. These include:

Health declaration

The childminder health declaration is a form you fill in and bring to your GP to sign. Many GPs will charge for this service, so keep that cost in mind before you apply. You need this to show Ofsted, or your agency, that you are healthy enough to look after small children. Koru Kids reimburse the cost of your health declaration after you have cleared our background checks. So, it’s not an expense you need to worry about if you choose to become a childminder with us.

Enhanced DBS check

You’ll also undergo an ID check and other background checks. Most people have heard of  the DBS check—the ‘Disclosure and Barring Service’, sometimes called a ‘Criminal records check’. You need this to prove that you have no criminal history that would stop you from working with children. When you apply, you will need your home addresses for the past 5 years. If you are planning to register via Ofsted directly, you will have to pay for it yourself. It costs about £48.00, but if you register with Koru Kids we cover the cost of your initial check

2. Personality traits of amazing childminders

Ofsted uses words like ‘suitable’ and ‘appropriate’, but the guidance is not always very specific. If you read through the Early Years Foundation Stage framework, it should give you a good idea of what Ofsted expects from your behaviour and personality.

Motivated

At Koru Kids, we prefer to be specific. For instance, a great childminder will be genuinely motivated. If you are passionate about working with children and childhood development, you are more than halfway there.

Communicative

It’s also important for a childminder to be communicative—someone who loves to talk and listen to little children, and encourage them to develop their language skills. Amazing childminders are good at sharing with parents and letting them know how their child is doing. They also listen to parent’s requests and concerns. They know when and how to communicate important information to local authorities—or to their childminding agency, if they work with one.

Conscientious

Good childminders are conscientious—they take great care to get everything right. Childminders are required to keep a record of things like meals served, medications administered, accidents, and attendance. They have to stay up-to-date with policies and training, and stay alert to keep children safe in the home and outside.

Flexible

To run a successful childminding business, it also helps to be flexible. When the people you work with are small children, you’ll have to deal with the odd disruption! A flexible childminder can keep their cool and work around little problems to save the day. They are happy to learn new things, and use them in their setting. They usually know how to use modern technology to take pictures for parents, and keep in touch (no need to be a tech-wiz though!).

Warm and reliable

When we have asked parents what they are looking for in a childminder, ‘warm’ and ‘reliable’ are solid favourites. Perhaps you’re also playful or calm, creative or practical, caring and fun. They’re all good. Outstanding, in fact.

childminder reads book to children in the park
Warm and reliable are our favourite childminder traits!

3. Prior experience in childcare

We already ticked the box ‘enjoys working with children’, but it’s equally wonderful if a childminder has prior experience. It’s not necessarily a requirement to have worked in childcare—often childminders have children of their own and love being a parent. It’s wonderful to use that hands-on experience to help other parents. And your own kids get new playmates too!

Teachers and nursery practitioners

Early years teachers and teaching assistants (TA’s) in primary school have excellent experience working with young children. Nursery assistants and managers are already qualified, and used to large groups of small children and high noise levels. It might be nice to transition into their own homes with more control over the daily activities, a smaller group, more time outdoors, and—relative—quiet.

Nannies and family members

Childcare experience also applies to nannies. Nannies usually look after one or two children, but might like the chance to work from their own home, and increase the group to three. If you are a grandparent or an uncle, aunt, or older sibling, you probably have recent childcare experience too. So, take those skills, and brighten the day of other little children that need someone fun and caring around.

Education and interests

Even if you have no experience, you might have a great academic background in education, childhood development, paediatric health, or child psychology. Becoming a childminder is a wonderful step out of the academic world of children and into their real world. It also gives you the chance to make a profound impact on their wellbeing and future.

4. A safe home and room to roam

Ofsted are quite specific about the requirements for a childminder’s property, particularly the space required for each child. Koru Kids keeps care groups small at three children under 5. If you have your own children, they will count in this ratio.

Ofsted also clearly states that a childminder needs to have access to the outdoors. A garden is great, but it’s not an Ofsted requirement. As long as you can safely bring the children to nearby green areas like parks, woods, or city-farms every day, that’s enough. Outdoor-based learning is a pillar of Koru Kids childcare, and we have good reasons why

Ofsted risk assessment

A childminder needs to risk assess their home before their registration visit from Ofsted or their Ofsted-registered childminder agency. But risk assessments don’t stop after registration. A safe and clean setting is a must, with a designated place to prepare and serve food. Ofsted do not require childminders to serve food but Koru Kids do. That’s why food hygiene is part of our free in-depth training, and we help with recipe ideas and meal plans.

Some things to remember as a childminder when you make your home ready to welcome new families:

  • A safe sleep space is really important, and there is plenty of information available on how to get it right 
  • Childminders will also need a first aid kit to go with their first aid training. In fact, a paediatric first aid course is a requirement for Ofsted and any Ofsted-registered childminding agency
  • Childminders also need a bathroom suitable for children to use, which should be child-proofed

Childminder property type

Ofsted does allow childminding businesses to be run from non-domestic premises (like a nursery). Koru Kids aim for a more familiar and nurturing environment, so all our childminders work out of their own homes. 

Another Ofsted requirement is that the property needs to be supervised by the childminder. This means no adult aside from the childminder or their assistants can enter without their knowledge. Childminders often live with other adults, like partners, parents, or children above 16. This is fine as long as they are DBS checked too. At Koru Kids, we also have policies on interaction between children and other adults in the setting. So, make sure children in your care are never left alone with adults who aren’t qualified.

Here are some final lifestyle requirements you have to keep in mind if you want to become a childminder:

  • Your home needs to be a non-smoking environment. This means no adults are allowed to smoke inside your home, in the garden, or on the balcony 
  • You, and any assistants you might work with, need to speak English well enough to help children develop their own English skills, and to communicate important information to parents, and to the childminding agency or Ofsted
  • If you want to work as a self-employed childminder with Koru Kids in 2021, you will need to be available to work at least 4 full days per week

5. Training and qualifications

We already mentioned first aid as an Ofsted requirement for childminders, but they need other qualifications too. The EYFS framework for September 2021 says ‘Childminders must have completed training which helps them to understand and implement the EYFS before they can register with Ofsted or a childminder agency.’ We have covered this, and all the training childminders need, in our childminder course article—have a read if you’re looking for a free childminder training course.

It might seem like a lot, but many applicants find the childminder registration process easy with Koru Kids. Since we are an Ofsted-registered childminder agency we are dedicated to meeting our safety requirements. But we offer so much extra support. 

We also look for those extra qualities in our childminders. Because we think it would be lovely if ‘warm’, ‘reliable’, and ‘enjoys working with children’ were part of Ofsted’s childminder requirements. Don’t you?

Want to work as a childminder?