Early years and childcare: For childminders

Inspecting early years and childcare

Early years

We inspect early years settings to judge the quality and standards for the welfare, learning and development of children which are set out in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.

We carry out inspections with little or no notice to ensure we can see the setting as it normally is. An inspection takes no more than half a day and is carried out by one inspector.

During their visit, the inspector will look at how well the children are looked after - whatever their need; how well the setting is led and managed; how children are helped to learn; and how children are helped to develop more generally in their health and social well-being.

Inspectors give each setting one of four grades:

  • outstanding
  • good
  • satisfactory
  • inadequate.

To reach an overall judgement, inspectors will ask themselves 'What is it like for a child here?'


We inspect childcare providers to check that they comply with all the requirements of registration, but we do not make any judgements about the quality of their setting.

During the inspection, which normally takes up to two hours, the inspectors:

  • talk to the children to see what they think of their care,
  • talk to the provider and staff members to see if the requirements of registration are in place and that the provider is keeping  to the requirements of registration
  • check the requirements which relate to people, premises and provision.

The inspection result will be measured in one of three ways, indicating how well the provider is meeting the requirements of registration. They are:

  • met
  • not met – and notice to improve
  • not met – and enforcement measures taken. 

Further information