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Guide to Childcare

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Last updated: 10th May 2011

Find out about childcare standards

You should check your childcare provider is registered with Ofsted on the General Childcare Register (GCR)


Nannies registered on the voluntary part of the General Childcare Register need to meet certain requirements, eg first aid. They must also have training in common skills, eg communication with children, young people and families, and they must have public liability insurance. If you’re employing a nanny you should expect them to have a childcare qualification, although this isn’t a legal requirement.

Free early years education providers

All settings receiving government funding to provide free early years education must:

  • be included in their local authority’s Directory of Providers
  • help children progress towards the ‘early learning goals’ set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage
  • be inspected regularly by Ofsted

Children aged 5 and over

Providers of care for children aged 5 and over can register with Ofsted on the General Childcare Register (GCR).

Childcare at school

Any childcare for children aged 3 and over that is provided by a school does not need to be registered with Ofsted. Instead, the school will be inspected as part of the school inspection system, which is also carried out by Ofsted.

What does this mean for my child?

If your childcare provider is registered with Ofsted they must meet certain standards, including the suitability of the staff for working with children, and the suitability and safety of the premises.

As part of the registration process, Ofsted carries out a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check to make sure all staff are suitable for working with children.

Making a complaint

If you're worried about your child's care, you should speak to the provider about it first. If you’re not satisfied, you can contact Ofsted and it will investigate further.

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