A. The law defines childcare broadly as any form of care for a child, including education or any other supervised activity. Ofsted registers childcare on two registers: the Early Years Register and the Childcare Register.
There are different types of registered childcare. These include childminders, nurseries, play groups, pre-schools and some crèches and out of school clubs. The type of childcare depends on: where the childcare takes place; how many people are providing the childcare; and the ages of the children who are cared for. Some types of childcare are exempt from registration with us.
- Childminder – This is a person who is registered to look after one or more children to whom they are not related, for reward on domestic premises. Childminders work with no more than two other childminders or assistants.
- Childcare providers – Childcare providers care for at least one individual child for a total of more than two hours in any day. This is not necessarily a continuous period of time. Childcare providers can work on domestic or non-domestic premises. A childcare provider on domestic premises works with at least three other people.
For further information please visit the childcare section and read our Information for parents and carers using childcare services leaflet.
A. Your local family information service (FIS) will help you find a childminder or a childcare provider like a nursery. Your local FIS will have lists of registered providers, including those with vacancies. To get contact details for your nearest FIS please visit the Family Information Service website or your local authority website (A–Z of local authority websites), or look in your telephone directory.
On our website, you can find information about registered childcare in the inspection reports section. We have details there about all registered childcare, including their conditions of registration and latest inspection reports. You can find out more by reading the registration and inspection FAQs below. Please note that we currently do not publish names and addresses for childminders, home childcarers and childcare on domestic premises.
A. We have three easy read publications covering Ofsted’s work, childcare and school inspections. Please see the right-hand column for links.
A. If you wish to provide childcare – for example, as a childminder or nursery – you have to apply to register before you can do so, unless the type of childcare you offer is exempt from registration. Please see the FAQs below for more information.
Ofsted registers most but not all childcare providers – see our Registration not required factsheet. We register childcare providers on the Early Years Register and/or the Childcare Register. A registered childcare provider will receive a certificate of registration that the childcare provider must display at all times. The certificate will have details of any conditions of registration and a childcare provider must meet their conditions of registration at all times. For further information please read our Information for parents and carers using childcare services and Registering childcare providers from September 2008 leaflets, or go to the childcare registration section.
A. If you are interested in becoming a childminder or childcare provider then you should contact your local family information service. You will find contact details on the Family Information Service website, or from your telephone directory. On our website:
- Childminder – The childcare registration section has information on how to apply.
- Childcare provider – The childcare registration section has information on how to apply and the forms that you need to complete.
A. The forms that you need to complete will depend on the childcare that you wish to provide and if you are applying to register on the Early Years Register and/or the Childcare Register.
- Early Years Register – childminder Checklist; Application form for the Early Years Register: childminder (EYC); Declaration and consent form for all individuals connected with a provision registered on the Early Years Register (EY2); Health declaration booklet; Preparing for your registration visit; Paying fees
- Early Years Register – childcare on domestic or non-domestic premises Checklist; Application form for the Early Years Register: childcare on domestic or non-domestic premises (EYO); Declaration and consent form for all individuals connected with a provision registered on the Early Years Register (EY2); Notification to Ofsted (EY3); Health declaration booklet; Preparing for your registration visit; Paying fees
- Childcare Register If you are applying for the Early Years Register, then forms EYC and EYO include a section where you can apply to register on the Childcare Register.
For further information and how to register on the Childcare Register only please visit the forms to complete page in the childcare section.
A. You can register online if you only need to register on the Childcare Register; this is explained in the childcare section.
If you only need to register on the Childcare Register, then please first read the how we register page in the childcare section. You can then visit the Ofsted Online website. This has registering on the Childcare Register as one of its services; please note you will need to create an account to use Ofsted Online.
In future, we hope to be able to allow all childcare providers the opportunity to apply to register with Ofsted online.
A. People who care for children in the child’s own home do not normally need to register with Ofsted. However, you can opt to register on the voluntary part of the Childcare Register if you wish to do so. You can find out more about how to apply in the Guide to registration on the Childcare Register.
A. Information is in the childcare inspection section.
A. This depends on which register the childcare provider is registered.
- Early Year Register – Childcare providers on the Early Years Register must deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). The EYFS came into effect in September 2008; we will inspect all providers registered on the Early Years Register at least once between September 2008 and 31 July 2012. Thereafter, we will inspect all providers on the Early Years Register within three to four years of the date of their last inspection.
- Childcare Register – We will inspect a random selection of childcare providers on the Childcare Register. We will always inspect a provider on the Childcare Register if we receive a complaint about the provider.
We inspect all childcare providers with little or no notice.
A. We normally send the inspection report to the provider within 10 to 15 working days after the end of the inspection. We will publish the report on our website 20 working days after the end of the inspection. All providers are required by law to give parents, and anyone who asks, a copy of their inspection report. They may charge a fee for doing this.
A. As mentioned in the 'Can anyone provide childcare?' FAQ, Ofsted registers providers on the Early Years Register and the Childcare Register. We inspect all childcare providers on the Early Years Register, but only a random sample of those registered on the Childcare Register.
- Early Years Register– You can find reports in the inspection reports section. All registered childcare providers must give each parent of a child regularly using their service a copy of their inspection report.
- Childcare Register – A Childcare Register inspection does not lead to an inspection report. We send a letter to the provider saying whether or not they have met the requirements; we publish the letter on our website in the inspection reports section. The provider does not have to provide parents with a copy of the letter.
To find a childcare provider’s inspection report or letter, go to the inspection reports section. There are three ways to find a report or letter.
- There is a postcode search box on the left-hand side and you can use this to find childcare near you.
In the middle column you can enter the childcare sub-section and browse for childcare near you.
Please note that childminders, home childcarers and childcare on domestic premises are listed by their Ofsted Unique Reference Number (URN) and not by their name. If you are interested in one of these providers after reading the inspection report, you can go to your family information service with the provider’s URN to make contact with the provider. For further information on the Family Information Service see the ‘How do I find childcare…’ FAQ above.
- The middle column contains a specific provider search box. If you have the URN for a childminder or childcare provider, you can use this search box.
A. The two main reasons are:
- our website only has registered childcare providers and some childcare providers do not need to register with Ofsted – further information is in our Registration not required factsheet
- our website only has registered childcare providers that offer childcare services available to the public.
If you want to find out if a provider is registered then ask to see the certificate of registration; this should always be on display.
A. On a registered childcare provider’s page you will find any conditions of registration and any published inspection reports. If the childcare provider that you are interested in does not have any inspection reports available, then the main reasons are:
- the inspection may have taken place recently and the report is not yet published; a report will be on our website 20 working days after the end of the inspection
- the provider is newly registered on the Early Years Register (see 'How do I find an inspection report...' FAQ) and we have not inspected them yet – we aim to inspect all newly-registered providers within seven months of registration
- the provider is on the Childcare Register and has not been selected as part of the random sample of providers on that register that we inspect (see 'How do I find an inspection report...' FAQ).
A. Please call us on 0300 123 1231, or email us at email@example.com. If you email us, please help us to help you by putting ‘Childcare provider inspection: [name of provider]’ in the subject box.
Contacting Ofsted about childcare
A. Please call us on 0300 123 1231, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you email us, please help us to help you by putting ‘Childcare query: [a short description of your query]’ in the subject box.
A. Please go to the complaints FAQs.
A. If you are judged outstanding you will receive a certificate and logo, and guidelines for the logo’s use. These are sent out monthly and we will aim to include you in the first batch possible.
A. You can visit the childcare careers website: www.childcarecareers.gov.uk.