Childminder Safeguarding Q&A

Childminder Guides > Safeguarding > Childminder Safeguarding Q&A

Safeguarding is a limiting judgement during inspection – this means if you cannot answer safeguarding questions and explain how you will keep children safe, your overall inspection grade will be limited.

This question and answer has been provided to complement previous blogs including Ofsted Inspection Framework Q&A.

Know the terms use ...

What is Safeguarding? Safeguarding is an aim to protect vulnerable children or adults from abuse and neglect.

What is child protection? Child protection is the protection of children from violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect.

Let’s look at some of the most frequently asked inspection questions and how you might answer them.


What do I need to do before Ofsted arrive?

• Read the DfE Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to ensure you are compliant with the safeguarding and welfare requirements.

• Read the Ofsted early years inspection handbook and check your compliance with Ofsted expectations. Note that Ofsted are looking for a ‘culture of safeguarding’ throughout the setting.

• Write the 2 statutory policies required by the Childcare Register:

- Safeguarding and Child Protection
- Complaints

Note that these policies must be shared with parents.

Your Local Safeguarding Partners (names vary) might supply you with a ‘model’ safeguarding policy, but it is important the policy is relevant to you and your ways of working so change it if necessary (it is unwise to use a generic policy) and update it regularly. You might find it useful to read through it before inspection. provides sample policies for members.

Do I need a safeguarding folder?

It is up to you whether you have a safeguarding folder or not. Some providers find it useful to keep all their safeguarding evidence together, but this is not a requirement of the EYFS. provides a Contents of a safeguarding folder guide for members.

Ofsted typical safeguarding questions

It is impossible to say exactly what your inspector will ask you, but they often use scenarios to test your knowledge. For example, the inspector might ask:

What are the 4 main types of abuse?

1. Physical, 2. Sexual, 3. Emotional, 4. Neglect.

Note, there are some Local Safeguarding Partners who train that there are 5 types of abuse to include domestic violence. However, while it is important to recognise the effects of domestic violence on children, this has not been added to the EYFS.

What are the signs of physical abuse?

Unexplained bruising, burns to the child’s skin, marks in areas that are not normally injured etc.

What would you do if you saw signs of physical abuse – for example, fingertip bruising on a child?

Record it – ask parents if they know what has happened and record their reply (ask them to sign) as long as the child has not made an allegation of abuse and / or you do not believe it would ‘make things worse’ for the child at home – monitor the child’s wellbeing.

If you felt it would ‘make things worse’ for the child at home or the child makes an allegation of abuse you must report it to the Local Safeguarding Children Partners (your local contacts – check the website).

What are the signs of sexual abuse?

Bruising to intimate areas, bleeding to vagina or anal area etc.

What would you do if you suspected sexual abuse?

Record concerns - ring your Local Safeguarding Children Partners as noted in your safeguarding policy - report it to them for further investigation.

What would you do if a parent called their child ‘silly’?

Record concerns – this type of language, when used frequently against a child, might be linked to emotional abuse. Be ready to speak to parents if you feel they are affecting their child’s emotional health or wellbeing.

What would you do if a child makes a disclosure?

For example, you are changing a nappy and notice a bruise on a child’s leg … you are playing tickle and a child starts to cry because his rib is hurting: you look and see a mark that looks like a burn. If you don’t have an ‘accident / injury at home’ form completed by parents when they brought their child that morning, I think the normal reaction for most childminders is to ask the child, ‘What happened?’

If the child makes an allegation – also known as a disclosure of abuse – daddy did it… mummy hurt me… aunty hit me… you are legally required to follow the steps set out in your safeguarding procedures.

If you are looking after a non-mobile baby with an unexplained mark or bruise you must take advice as well - It is recognised that non-mobile babies are unlikely to be injured unless someone has caused them harm because they are not able to move into situations where they are likely to be hurt. Most Local Safeguarding Partners have a ‘non-mobile baby protocol’ which all early years providers must follow.

You are not qualified to ring parents and investigate a child’s allegation / disclosure of abuse – you are not qualified to make a judgement as to whether or not the child is telling the truth – you are legally required to report the allegation / disclosure immediately and let your Local Safeguarding Partners decide what to do next / take over the investigation.

What are the signs of neglect?

Child is dirty – constantly hungry – dressed in the wrong clothes eg too small.

Questions linked to the 4 main types of abuse

Inspectors might ask you about other types of abuse, linked to the 4 main types of abuse, for example, they might ask what you would do if you suspected ...

Child sexual exploitation?

Record concerns – report to the Local Safeguarding Partners – inform Ofsted.

Domestic violence?

Record concerns - signpost parent to local support services – report if you had evidence that the child was being abused – inform Ofsted.

Forced marriage?

Record concerns - report concerns to the Local Safeguarding Children Partners – inform Ofsted.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?

Record concerns - report to the police (mandatory reporting) – inform Ofsted.

Know your safeguarding policy

You will be expected to know your safeguarding policy and procedures. For example, your inspector might ask you:

Who would you contact locally if you suspected a child was being abused?

The answer to this varies depending on where you live – in Cheshire east it’s ChECS – visit your Local Safeguarding Children Partners website and note your reporting requirements.

What would you do if a child made an allegation of abuse against your partner?

Record the allegation – contact the LADO – inform Ofsted.

Note: LADO is for concerns about your own practice or, for example, allegations against staff.

What are the requirements of the Prevent Duty?

You are required to risk assess the dangers of children being radicalised, to report concerns about radicalisation and to promote British values.

If a child is being radicalised they might, for example, talk about war, guns and killing soldiers or tell you that their big brother or a parent is going away to fight.

The Prevent duty was updated in September 2023 to reflect wider safeguarding concerns linked to radicalisation and extremism.

Prevent Duty England and Wales guide from the Home Office.

What are British values?

• Democracy

• Rule of law

• Individual liberty

• Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

To explain how you promote British values you might talk to your inspector about how you encourage children to take turns, share, be polite and respectful of others, listen in group times and visit local places of interest to teach them about the wider world.

Ratios are part of safeguarding - what are your ratios?

The most important ratio is set out in the EYFS as ‘no more than 6 under the age of 8’.

You do not need permission from Ofsted or the Local Authority to arrange a variation.

You should risk assess before agreeing to increase your ratios.

If you are working with a variation – for example, 4 or more children under the age of 5 years, you will be expected to discuss your risk assessment and how you continue to meet the care and learning needs of each child.

If there is a serious accident or incident and you have a variation in place, Ofsted’s first question is likely to be, ‘Would this have happened if you were looking after less children?’

What would you do if a child arrived with medication?

Check it comes in the original box, named for the child (if prescribed) and with instructions.

Complete a medication administration record form – ask parents to sign to confirm what it is for, when the medication should be administered and where it should be stored.

Complete the form and sign it when the child has been given the medication – ask parents to sign to confirm the medication has been given.

You might show your inspector a blank copy of your medication form.

How do you record accidents?

Write what happened - write whether first aid was administered.

Reflect on how it could be avoided next time for the risk assessment.

Ask parents to sign and date the record.

You might show the inspector a blank copy of your accident form.

How do you record physical intervention?

Write what happened and record whether first aid was administered.

Reflect on how it could be avoided next time for the risk assessment.

Ask parents to sign and date the record.

You might show the inspector a blank copy of your physical intervention / incident form.

How do you record safeguarding concerns?

Your Local Authority might provide documentation, or you might have a simple ‘Incident Form’ to complete.

You might show the inspector a blank copy of your record keeping. provide free childminding record forms for members.

What would you do if nobody came to collect a child?

This should be set out in your Late arriving parents / Uncollected Collection Procedures – these are statutory, required by the EYFS and usually part of your Safeguarding / Child Protection Policy. Your Local Safeguarding Partners will advise you about local procedures.

What would you do if you lost a child?

This should be set out in your Lost / Missing Child Procedures - these are statutory, required by the EYFS and usually part of your Safeguarding / Child Protection Policy. Your Local Safeguarding Partners will advise you about local procedures.

What would you do if a child was absent for a long time or regularly?

You need to encourage regular attendance because lack of attendance can be a safeguarding concern – and children cannot benefit from early education if they are not brought regularly. If a child does not attend and they are funded, you are required to report any concerns to the Local Authority. If you think lack of attendance might be linked to safeguarding concerns, you should report it to your Local Safeguarding Partners.

If a child did not arrive and parents had not booked them for a holiday, you would make every attempt to contact parents and record the absence in the attendance register.

Wider safeguarding questions

You may be expected to answer wider safeguarding questions during your inspection, for example ...

Show me your safeguarding training certificate… how often do you update it?

This varies depending on your Local Authority requirements – please check locally. provide free online safeguarding courses for gold members that may be acceptable for your LA.

Regardless of when your Local Authority expect you to update safeguarding training, you should regularly review your skills and knowledge, audit compliance with the EYFS, update your documentation, review your policy etc.

Show me your paediatric first aid certificate

Your training must be up to date (within the last 3 years) Ofsted approved paediatric first aid course - even if you are taking a break / ‘no children on roll’.

You must make your first aid certificate available to parents. members can receive a discount on Tigerlily first aid courses.

Show me your DBS certificate

The Ofsted early years inspection handbook was updated to state that inspectors will not ask for childminder DBS checks – however, this does still happen sometimes. If you don’t have a DBS, your police check / CRB check is held by Ofsted.

How do you check staff suitability?

If you have staff. you must have the equivalent of a school’s ‘single central register’ with a list of DBS check numbers and other staff details.

Show me your public liability insurance certificate

Your insurance must be paid up to date even if you are taking a break, on maternity leave or do not have any children currently on roll. gold members can apply for free childminder insurance.

Show me your car insurance certificate

You should keep a copy in a folder for parents and easily accessible for Ofsted to see.

Note that if you have staff who drive the children, you will need a copy of their car insurance certificate as well.

What would you do if a child needed to go to hospital?

You should have a policy that is shared with parents – but it does not need to be in writing. As a rule, paramedics advise that you send the child in the ambulance and make every effort to contact parents who will meet their child at the hospital.

What are the links between behaviour and safeguarding?

It is important to monitor children’s behaviour – their wellbeing and involvement (see the Ofsted Scales for more information). You need to recognise that if a child’s behaviour changes suddenly or over time it might be linked to safeguarding and that getting early help for the child can make a difference. You should work closely with parents to ensure you know what is happening in the child’s home and family life.

What would you do if a complaint was made against you?

Share information from your Complaints Procedures – and explain that you provide parents with a copy of the policy to comply with the requirements of the Childcare Register.

If you have any complaints about your service, Ofsted will want to inspect them.

If Ofsted have received any complaints and written to you (rather than come out to do a check), they will be discussed during inspection.

What would you do if your partner was arrested by the police on suspicion of abusing a child?

This also covers what you would do if the police visit your registered premises – during or outside of working hours.

You would inform Ofsted immediately and contact your Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and follow their advice.

Do you allow mobile phones on the premises?

Most providers will say ‘yes’ to this question and then talk about their mobile phone and camera policy (required in writing by the EYFS).

Note the policy will need to be updated from January 2024 to include, for example, smart watches which interact with the internet and may include a camera.

Are you registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO)?

Yes – I am registered with ICO as a data handler.

You should print your ICO certificate to show your inspector.

Do you do regular fire practices with the children?

In our early years setting, we do fire practices every month (talk about your own schedule) with the children and we record them in the setting diary – we note any problems and how we dealt with them.

How do you teach children about keeping themselves safe?

Talk about your curriculum that includes, for example, lessons on road and rail track safety, how you teach children about personal safety and for example, sharing information about the NSPCC PANTS rule.

How do you keep children safe online?

In our early years setting, we provide parents with information about keeping children safe online at home.

We keep our security settings updated and we monitor children constantly when they are online.

We also talk to the children of all ages about the dangers of going online without supervision and websites, online safety etc.

You should be ready to explain your online safety information to your inspector.

When would you inform Ofsted if you had concerns about a colleague?

Whistle blowing should be part of your safeguarding policy – you would inform Ofsted immediately if you had concerns about a child’s wellbeing or safety eg a colleague is over-minding or we suspect children are being abused.

If a staff member was suspected of abusing a child, you would immediately suspend them, pending investigation by the local authority. You would also inform Ofsted.

Note that if you are 2 childminders working together, you are equally responsible for child protection and reporting concerns about each other’s practice.

How long do you have to report concerns to Ofsted?

The statutory framework, the EYFS, states that Ofsted must be informed within 14 days, but we must report immediately / as soon as possible.

What is the statutory safeguarding paperwork?

Ofsted have reduced the paperwork they will ask to see to that which is required by the EYFS. Therefore, it is best practice to go through the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements of the EYFS and Childcare Register and to make sure you have everything it says including, for example:

• Medication Administration Records

• Accident, Injury and First Aid records

• Local Authority safeguarding documentation

• Physical intervention record

• Child Protection / Safeguarding Policy

• Attendance Registers etc.

What would you do if parent arrived drunk or under the influence?

This should be a procedure in your Safeguarding Policy, approved by your Local Safeguarding Partners. Your Local Safeguarding Partners might have sample wording for you to use.

How do you keep updated with changes?

You might say, for example:

• I do regular Local Authority training.

• I use websites such as NSPCC to read about changes.

• I attend live safeguarding update webinars or watch them on their Webinar Player

• I do regular professional development from my Local Safeguarding Partners.

• I have updated my safeguarding policy for the revised EYFS 2024.

You will find it useful to schedule regular checks of your Local Safeguarding Partners website to look for ‘latest information’ and updates. This will tell you about the most common local threats.

Safeguarding and older children

You will be expected to answer questions about safeguarding scenarios that are typically relevant to older children – for example, county lines drug dealing, cuckooing or contextual safeguarding.

You should know what these terms mean and research them as part of your wider safeguarding knowledge for your professional development. provides a Glossary of safeguarding terms their Childminder Paperwork section which is a good starting point.

Safeguarding is a complex area of inspection and inspectors might ask a range of questions to test your knowledge and understanding. Regular professional development opportunities will keep you up-to-date and help you to feel confident about this part of the inspection.​

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