Setting up your childminding business

Introduction

When you set up your childminding business there are a number of steps you need to follow to make sure you have done everything you need to do to be legal and qualified to work with young children.

I have based this list on requirements for English Childminders who are registering with Ofsted. However it is very similar for Scottish and Welsh childminders registering with the Care Inspectorate and CSSIW. Here is a plan to help you.

Download a printable PDF version of this guide.

At the start of the registration process…

Before you contact Ofsted / local early years about registration advice you should consider the following…

Things to do… Why? Who can help me? Done
Am I physically fit enough to be a childminder? I will be lifting children and buggies and toys all day – childminding is a physically demanding job My doctor if I am unsure about any medication I am taking or about whether any medical conditions might prevent me from registering  
Make sure my family is supportive Things will go wrong and your family will need to be there for you. If they have reservations now is the time to discuss and resolve them My family

Other childminders might be able to give advice and help about what to expect – www.childmindingforum.co.uk

 
Ask my family (partners etc) if there is anything in their past that might prevent me from childminding This happens a lot – people apply to be childminders and partners’ (or their own) murky pasts come back to haunt them… so ask the question now My family  
Check with my landlord (if my house is rented) that I can childmind from the premises There is little point in going through the registration process if I do not have written permission My landlord  
Check if childminders are needed in my area There is no point in setting up as a childminder and then not getting any work

Local early years

Childminding support coordinator

Local parents at school

Local schools

Childcare.co.uk

 
Check how many children I will be registered to care for There is little point me registering if I want to look after little ones and already have 2 year old triplets… or 4 children of my own who are under the age of 8 The EYFS online –

www.education.gov.uk

Ask advice from other childminders – www.childmindingforum.co.uk

 
 Check if I need planning permission to work as a childminder  Local Authority requirements vary  Local Authority Planning Department  

Find out about the different childcare registers 

Early Years Register – the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS, 2012) is the statutory register for all children until they start Year 1 at school (well the end of August before Year 1 if you want to be precise). This means that all children who are in Reception class are still within the remit of the EYFS. However once they start full time, 10 sessions a week school they are classed as 5 (regardless of their age) for the purposes of your ratios.

Childcare Register – this covers older children from Year 1 upwards and is split into 2 parts –

  • For children aged 5 – 7 years you will be expected to show you are complying with the regulations contained in the Compulsory Childcare Register
  • For children aged 8 ­plus, you will be expected to show you are complying with the regulations contained in the Voluntary Childcare Register

Decide what register(s) you want to apply for – most childminders are on all the registers and registration on all of them does not cost any extra money.

However the registers are slightly different and you will need to understand the differences and be ready to discuss them when your Ofsted inspector visits.

Work your way through the registration process

Now you have decided you want to start on your childminding journey you will need to…

Things to do… Why? Who can help me? Done
Book an introduction to childminding course It is a requirement that I have attended a course before starting work as a childminder Local early years  
Find out if there are any start-up grants in my area Money would be useful about now Local early years  
Apply to Ofsted It is a requirement that I am registered with Ofsted before starting work Local early years will tell me when to make the application -

Ofsted – 0300 123 1231

 
Pay an Ofsted registration fee It is a requirement that a fee is paid annually – it is currently £35 (Aug 2013) Ofsted – 0300 123 1231  
Apply for an enhanced DBS (formerly known as CRB) check It is a requirement of the EYFS that everyone over 16 in my home has a DBS check Ofsted and / or my early years course provider will tell me when to do this – DBS checks cost £52 and you have to pay for them.  
Apply for a medical check It is a requirement of the EYFS Ofsted and / or my early years course provider will tell me when to do this – I will have to pay for it! Check with my local surgery about the cost  
Attend a 12 hour Paediatric First Aid training course It is a requirement of the early years register – EYFS Local early years – I should be given information about the course while doing my introduction to childminding course. I might have to pay – I need to check  
Complete the pre-registration booklet from Ofsted  

Other childminders

E-book 56 from Knutsford ChildmindingPre-registration course

 
Think about how I will keep children safe in my home – now is the time to consider if I need stair gates, fire guards, new fences in the garden etc It is a requirement of the EYFS and Ofsted that my home and garden are safe Local early years

Other childminders

The EYFS will give me information about the requirements – www.education.gov.uk

 
Receive a visit from Ofsted to check my suitability and safety check my house and garden It is a requirement of Ofsted that me, my house and my business arrangements are checked before registration Ofsted – 0300 123 1231

Pre-registration course

 

How am I getting on?

The DBS checks are back… my health check has been completed and signed off by Ofsted… my pre-registration course has finished…

I should be well on the way to competing the required paperwork so I am ready to work with children such as -

Required policies and procedures;

Required documents used for the children...

Now is the time to plan for running my childminding business from my home.

What I need to do next…

In order to legally run a childminding business from your home you need to do the following…

Things to do… Why? Who can help me? Done
Register as a food business It is a local government requirement My local council Environmental Health Department  
Do a Level 1 Food Hygiene course This might be a requirement of my local council Environmental Health Department if I serve food or snacks to children My local council will tell me if it is a requirement – I can usually do it online or locally  
Set a budget for resources, equipment, advertising costs, printing etc I need to be a professional business person and must consider how much money I am going to spend and where it is coming from Other childminders via www.childmindinglforum.co.uk

Childminding support coordinator

 
Read the National Standards for my country – the EYFS and the Childcare Registers are written for English childminders* The EYFS and Childcare Registers are legal requirements – I need to check how I can comply with them Other childminders

E-books, books from the library and help online

Introduction to childminding course

www.education.gov.uk

 

If I intend to childmind in Scotland I need to comply with the National Care Standards regulated by the Care Commission. I can become a member of the Scottish Childminding Association - http://www.childminding.org/ (see e-book 36 for more advice).

In Wales I need to comply with the National Minimum Standards (see e-book 33 for more information)

Things to do… Why? Who can help me? Done
Complete the paperwork I need to run my business including risk assessments and policies and procedures It is a requirement of the EYFS, Childcare Register (for older children) and Ofsted I should receive some help with this as part of my introduction to childminding course.  
Buy resources I might need new buggies, equipment for the house or toys – sometimes I am best waiting until I have children on my books or I might buy things I do not need Local early years

Local childminders

Online websites, catalogues, shops etc

 
Advertise I need to make sure as many people as possible know who I am and what I am doing Local childminders

Childminding support coordinator

Websites such as www.childcare.co.uk

Childcare.co.uk Information Guide - ‘Marketing my business’

 
Inform my mortgage company that I am self employed They might want to charge me more as I am working from home but I must tell them or I might not be insured Mortgage company  
Register with the Inland Revenue as self employed – I will receive a tax return to complete in April each year It is a requirement of HMRC that childminders are registered for tax purposes as soon as they receive any income http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/sa/  
Register to pay class 2 self employed National Insurance contributions To protect my pension and other benefits

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/

 
Register with the Information Commissioners Office It is a requirement because I am a data handler. It costs £35 a year. www.ico.gov.uk  
Inform my household – buildings and contents – insurance that I am self employed They might want to charge me more – but if I do not tell them I am not insured if something goes wrong Your insurance company

Now might be a good time to shop around for a new quote

 
Ask my car insurance company to include Class 1 Business insurance on my policy It is a legal requirement that I am insured for carrying children in my car.

They might want to charge me more – but if I do not tell them I am not insured if something goes wrong

Your insurance company

Now might be a good time to shop around for a new quote

 
Tell any benefits agencies that I am now self employed It is a requirement that I inform agencies such as Tax Credits that I have changed my employment

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/

 

When I am registered as a childminder I need to…

Things to do… Why? Who can help me? Done
Buy childminding insurance It is a requirement of my registration that I am insured at all times while I am registered There are a number of companies which provide childminding insurance.

Childcare.co.uk gold members get free childminder Public liability insurance

 
Decide which contracts and other documentation to use It is a requirement of my insurance that contracts are in place Other childminders on www.childmindingforum.co.uk will offer advice  
Set my fees To make sure I am clear about what I am going to charge and when Other childminders – www.childmindingforum.co.uk

Local childminders

Childminding support officers

 
Attend ongoing training including taking a Level 1 Safeguarding Children course It is good practice to constantly update and review the ways I work Local early years

Childminding support coordinator

Online courses designed to help me learn more about child development, the EYFS etc

 
Find the details for my Local Safeguarding Children Board and include them on my safeguarding policy It is a requirement of the EYFS Local early years  
Work closely with parents and other agencies to support children’s learning It is a requirement of the EYFS EYFS – www.education.gov.uk

Other childminders

Local childminding support workers

 
Keep careful financial records It is a requirement of HMRC that I record everything I earn and spend

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/

Accountant - not a requirement, only if you want one

 

Advice from other childminders – www.childmindinghelp.co.uk

 
Keep records about each child’s learning and development It is a requirement of the EYFS EYFS – www.education.gov.uk

Other childminders

Local childminding support workers

 
Plan for the children’s days and keep records of what we have done and where we have been It is a requirement of the EYFS that children’s time with you is carefully planned Introduction to childminding course

Other childminders

 
Prepare for my first inspection It is an Ofsted requirement that all new childminders are inspected within 6 months of registration Ofsted – 0300 123 1231

Local childminding support people

Other childminders

 
Keep advertising We never know what is going to happen and children might leave suddenly. It is good business practice to be proactive

www.childcare.co.uk

Local childminders

Local early years

 


Have fun and enjoy my work and the children who attend each day!

Useful contact details

Doctor –

Landlord –

Mortgage Company –

House / buildings insurance –

Car insurance –

Local contacts -

Local school(s) –

Other childminders –

Childminding support coordinator –

Local early years –

Sure Start centre –

Environmental Health Department –

First aid provider –

Government / national bodies and agencies

Other help and advice

References

  • Early Years Foundation Stage (DfE, 2012) and related documents

  • The Childcare Register (Crown Copyright, 2012)

  • E-books 56 ‘Preparing for your registration inspection’, 33 ‘Childminding in Wales’ and 36 ‘Childminding in Scotland’ (© 2009 – 2012) from Knutsford Childminding and the references therein

About websites used in this information guide

In places this information guide links to other websites. The author and distributor cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites.

Disclaimer

However carefully researched the material in this information guide might be it is not possible to guarantee its accuracy or completeness. The author and distributor therefore accept no liability for any inaccuracies or any loss or damage arising from the use of or reliance on details obtained from this information guide. Individual Ofsted (England), CSSIW (Wales) and Care Inspectorate (Scotland) inspectors might expect different ways of doing things from others and the ideas contained in this information guide are indicators of best practice only.

About information taken from EYFS statutory documents

Information for this guide to the learning and development requirements of the EYFS has been taken from the following source – www.foundationyears.org.uk.

Information sourced from the Department for Education has been reproduced as per the Open Government Licence for Public Sector Information, which can be viewed on the following website – http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence. The source of the information is acknowledged as EYFS © Crown Copyright 2012.

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