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How to become a registered childminder in Suffolk | Community Directory

How to become a registered childminder in Suffolk

This information has been put together to guide you through the process of becoming a registered childminder in Suffolk.

Reading this information will help you to understand what is required to become a childminder and successfully register with the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted).

What is a Childminder?

A registered childminder is a self-employed professional, who can work with up to two other people at any time, caring for children on domestic premises for reward where at least one child attends for a total of more than two hours a day.

  • Domestic premises means someone lives there: it is usually the home of one of the childminders. This can include up to 50% of their time outside of their domestic premises.
  • Reward is usually money but can be any form of payment (see the When you do not need to register section for more information on rewards).
  • By law, childminders must register on Ofsted’s Early Years Register, the compulsory and voluntary parts of the Childcare Register, or both. Please refer to Page 6 for further information on registers.

Childminding takes place on domestic premises – this means it is someone’s home that is mainly or wholly used as living accommodation. This is usually your own home but can be any domestic premises. For example, you can work with another registered childminder at that person’s home. It is not usually the child’s own home. If four or more people work together on domestic premises on any one day, the law does not count this as childminding, but as ‘childcare on domestic premises’.

Skills and knowledge

Below gives an overview of the knowledge and skills needed to be a childminder.

  • Communication skills - to liaise with parents and carers, other professionals and the children.
  • Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) - knowledge of the play based curriculum to support children in meeting Early Learning Goals and being able to evidence this.
  • Health and safety - good understanding to ensure a safe and healthy environment for children to play and learn.
  • Childcare development knowledge - to meet each individual child's welfare needs.
  • Nutrition - children must be offered nutritionally balanced food and drinks throughout the day.
  • Safeguarding – knowledge of Suffolk Safeguarding Board advice and information regarding keeping children safe.
  • Training – access training to ensure your continued professional development is kept up to date.
  • Working with others - childminders will be supporting the provision of the 30 hours free childcare and must build working relationships with other settings and the local community.
  • Advertising - to market and advertise your own business.
  • Book keeping - essential skills to ensure ongoing records such as attendance registers, learning records, accounts, policies and procedures, risk assessments etc. are maintained and regularly updated. Additionally, keeping your own accounts, self-assessment tax and National Insurance records.

What would a typical day be like as a Childminder?

A typical day, may include, children being dropped off around breakfast time, a walk to school, play activities or a toddler group to visit, lunch, more play activities, a school collection, evening meal and finally home time.

You will need to consider how you will implement the following:

  • Provide a safe and secure, inclusive environment for play, learning and development (indoors and outdoors).
  • Promote partnership working with parents, carers and other professionals to ensure the individual needs of all children are supported.
  • Observe, plan and record children’s learning and development.
  • Visits to the local community such as children’s centres, childminding groups and libraries.

Consider the impact childminding will have on yourself and your family

As you will be childminding in your own home you need to consider the following:

  • Impact on the other household members
  • Suitability of house and garden
  • Safety equipment – such as smoke detectors and fire blankets
  • Additional storage for toys and equipment
  • Pets
  • Family/friends living at the premises aged 16 years and over must have a Disclosure and Barring Services Check (DBS)

Research if there will be a demand for your service

You are advised to undertake some research to find out what childcare already exists in your area. It is useful to look at what existing childcare provision is in your locality on Suffolk County Council’s website: www.suffolk.gov.uk/infolink

Look at the most recent Childcare Sufficiency Assessment | Suffolk County Council

Who needs to register as a Childminder?

You must register with Ofsted or with a Childminder Agency if:

  • You look after any children aged under eight; and
  • You look after at least one child for a total of more than two hours in any one day (or more than three hours if you are only looking after a friends’ child); and
  • The care takes place on domestic premises; and
  • You receive reward for doing so.

A Childminder Agency is an organisation that registers childminders and provides them with support and training. Joining an agency is voluntary.

Further information can be found on Ofsted’s website:

When you do not need to register

You do not need to register if you:

  • Only care for a child or children who is/are related to you for whom you have responsibility. This includes anyone with parental responsibility, a step parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt.
  • Are a foster parent to the child.
  • Only care for children for two hours or less a day, provide care for friends where no payment is made, or three hours or less per day where you accept payment from your friend.
  • Care for the child between the hours of 6pm and 2am only.
  • Provide home education.
  • Provide no more than two types of the following activities for children aged 3 and over and any care is incidental to these activities:
  • school study or homework support
  • performing arts, arts and crafts or sport
  • religious, cultural or language study.

You can choose to register, even if you don’t have to.

You may care for children without registration on domestic premises if you do not accept a reward for doing this. This allows people to care for friends’ children as a favour.  However, if you are paid for caring for children, you must register as a childminder if:

  • One of the children is under eight.
  • You care for at least one child for more than two hours in any day.
  • The care takes place in your own home or another home that is not the child’s home.
  • In addition, if you are only caring for the children of a friend on domestic premises, but you are receiving payment, you can do this for three hours or less per day without needing registration.

Payment may be money or other types of payment, such as vouchers; for example, for use in a supermarket or department store. It does not matter if this is a regular payment, a one-off payment, or full or part payment for the total amount you are charging. It also includes payment towards the costs involved in the childcare, such as a contribution towards heating and lighting, or paying for food or repairs to the place where the childminding happens. If you receive any type of payment other than an occasional gift, such as a box of chocolates, a bunch of flowers, or a bottle of wine, you must register as a childminder if you care for children under the age of eight.

Planning and permission

You will need to request permission from your Landlord or inform your mortgage lender that you are setting up a childminding business from your home.

You will also need to make enquiries to the planning department of your Local District or Borough Council (the Council you pay your Council Tax to) prior to registration, to check if planning permission is required.

You may find the link to the planning portal below useful


Types of registration

As a registered childminder you must meet the requirements of the register(s) you are on. If you’re applying to both registers, complete only the form for the Early Years Register.

The Early Years Register – Childcare providers who are registered to care for children in the early year’s age group (0-5 years).

For this register, you must meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework. This is the statutory framework for the early education and care of children from birth to 31 August following their fifth birthday. The EYFS includes requirements for young children’s safeguarding and welfare and their learning and development that all providers must meet.

The Childcare Register - This register has two parts:

  • The compulsory part – Providers must register on this part if they care for one or more children following their fifth birthday until they reach their eighth birthday.
  • The voluntary part – Providers who are not eligible for compulsory registration may choose to register on this part. These are mainly people looking after children aged eight and over or providing care in the child’s home (usually nannies).

Childminders cannot provide care before they receive their certificate of registration from Ofsted.


What regulations you need to meet

The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The overarching aim of the Early Years Foundation Stage is to ensure children are in an environment that helps them learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. All childminders on the Early Years Register must by law meet the safeguarding and welfare, and the learning and development requirements, which can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-framework--2

The safeguarding and welfare requirements are set out as specific legal requirements.

  • Child protection - the steps providers must take to safeguard children’s welfare. This includes having a policy and procedure in line with Suffolk Safeguarding Partnership: Safeguarding Children www.suffolkscb.org.uk/
  • Suitable people - the steps taken to ensure that adults looking after children, or having unsupervised access to them, are suitable to do so.
  • Staff qualification, training, support and skills - the arrangements providers must put in place to ensure that anyone caring for children (including themselves) have appropriate training and experience. For childminders, this includes pre-registration training in the Early Years Foundation Stage and Paediatric First Aid (PFA).
  • Key person - the relationship that children make with adults caring for them. For childminders the key person may be an assistant.
  • Staff:child ratios - the maximum number of children a childminder can have and the exceptions to these ratio’s in certain circumstances.
  • Health - the policy and procedure for children with infectious diseases and the administration of medicines.
  • Managing behaviour - providers’ responsibility for managing children’s behaviour in an appropriate way, and making corporal punishment to a child an offence.
  • Safety and suitability of premises, environment and equipment - the safety and suitability of outdoor (including outings) and indoor spaces, furniture, equipment and toys, provides the space requirements and requires a policy and procedure about the management of risk.
  • Special educational needs - the arrangements childcare providers must put in place to support children with SEN or disabilities.
  • Information and records -the type of information providers must share with parents and carers, other professionals, the police, social services and Ofsted. Childminders must keep a record of any complaints received and their outcome. It also requires providers to tell Ofsted about certain things.

Non-Statutory guidance to support your practice

Development Matters and Early Years Outcomes  - www.foundationyears.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Development-Matters-FINAL-PRINT-AMENDED.pdf


These documents provide information and age appropriate guidance to support children’s development.

Prime Areas

  • Personal Social and Emotional Development
  • Communication and Language         
  • Physical development

Specific Areas

  • Mathematics
  • Literacy
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

You must supply parents and carers with a short written summary of their child’s development in the three prime areas when their child is aged between 2 and 3 years of age.

The following document provides guidance on how to carry out the progress check.


‘What to expect when’ is a document that you can use to share with parents when discussing their child’s development.


What training you must do before you register as a Childminder

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) 2017 paragraph 3.24 states “childminders must have completed training which helps them to understand and implement the EYFS before they can register with Ofsted or a childminder agency”. This means that as a prospective childminder you need to judge whether you feel you have the knowledge, skills and competencies to fulfil this.

Whilst there is no longer a requirement to take a ‘Home Based Childcare’ qualification, if you are applying to the EYFS register, many childminders still do this and it is good practice. 

There are further childcare qualifications and training opportunities that you can also access. More details can be found on the following websites:

PACEY: www.pacey.org.uk/training-and-qualifications/training-from-pacey/pre-registration-courses/preparing-to-work-in-home-based-childcare/

National Extension College: www.nec.ac.uk/course-categories/childcare-early-years

Suffolk College: www.suffolk.ac.uk/courses/cache-understand-how-to-set-up-a-home-based-childcare-service

As a prospective childminder you can create an account on www.suffolkcpd.co.uk . This is an online resource from Suffolk County Council to enable childcare providers to manage their continuous provisional development. You can also access www.suffolklearning.co.uk to access a range of resources to support your childcare business.  

Please use www.suffolklearning.co.uk/early-years/training-and-qualifications to book onto an Introduction to the EYFS course and access any other training you feel you will need to demonstrate your understanding of the above.

At this point in the registration process you will not be able to add an Ofsted registration number and will therefore pay a non-subsidised fee for any training for which you will receive a certificate of attendance.  Once you are Ofsted registered you can add your registration number to your account and you will then be charged a subsidised fee for any future training.

12 Hour Paediatric First Aid Training

The EYFS 2017 paragraph 3.25 states that ‘Childminders, and any assistant who might be in sole charge of the children for any period of time, must hold a full current Paediatric First Aid (PFA) certificate. PFA training must be renewed every three years and be relevant for workers caring for young children and where relevant, babies’. See Annex A of the EYFS Statutory Framework for criteria for effective PFA training. www.foundationyears.org.uk/files/2017/03/EYFS_STATUTORY_FRAMEWORK_2017.pdf

When choosing a PFA training provider it is important that you ensure the training adheres to the paediatric first aid requirements as detailed in the EYFS statutory framework 2017. www.suffolklearning.co.uk/early-years/training-and-qualifications/paediatric-first-aid


The EYFS 2017 paragraph 3.5 states that ‘a practitioner must be designated to take lead responsibility for safeguarding children in every setting. Childminders must take the lead responsibility themselves. The lead practitioner must attend a child protection training course that enables them to identify, understand and respond appropriately to signs of possible abuse and neglect (as described at paragraph 3.6)’. Childminders should have knowledge of and follow the Suffolk Safeguarding Partnership processes when you have concerns about a child or if there is an allegation made against you or a member of your family.

Suffolk Safeguarding Partnership www.suffolkscb.org.uk/

For details of safeguarding training in Suffolk www.suffolklearning.co.uk/early-years/training-and-qualifications/safeguarding

Childminders must have regard to the governments statutory guidance ‘Working together to safeguard children’. www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-safeguard-children--2

Prevent Duty and Promoting British Values

Registered childminders need to know about the Prevent Duty. The Prevent Duty is the duty in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 on specified authorities, in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. Part of this requirement is to promote Fundamental British Values. The Fundamental British Values in the Early Years are implicitly embedded in the EYFS www.foundationyears.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Fundamental-British-Values-in-the-Early-Years-2017.pdf

Competency in English

Providers must ensure that all staff have sufficient understanding and use of English to ensure the wellbeing of children in their care. For example, settings must be in a position to keep records in English, to liaise with other agencies in English, to summon emergency help and to understand instructions, such as those for the safety of medicines or food hygiene (3.26 EYFS2017).

If you need to undertake training in learning English as an additional language, please contact: Realise Futures www.realisefutures.org/learning-development-

What opportunities are there for Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?

There will be opportunities to undertake further training workshops or qualifications to develop your service through www.suffolkcpd.co.uk .This is a website to book training and record professional development. It is an online searchable directory and booking system for learning opportunities. It has been developed to ensure that Suffolk has a highly skilled and professional workforce who are able to support the achievement and wellbeing of all children and young people in Suffolk.

For more information and for advice about training and qualifications email eyc.wfd@suffolk.gov.uk

How you can offer funded entitlement places

Once registered, childminders are encouraged to join the Suffolk List of Providers (LoP). This allows childminders to offer funded places for eligible 2 year olds and 3 and 4 year olds. Some eligible working parents will be entitled to 30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds.

If you are interested in offering the funded entitlement for eligible 2 year olds and 3 and 4 year olds you can find out more by emailing: childcare.planning@suffolk.gov.uk and request the Suffolk Agreement and Suffolk Agreement Sections information for List of Provider Members.

If, after reading the information which explains the conditions all providers must comply with in order to receive funding, you wish to apply to join the Suffolk List of Providers (LoP), please make your request by emailing: childcare.planning@suffolk.gov.uk

The Early Years and Childcare Service send regular broadcast emails to LoP members to keep you updated with relevant information and reminders.

PLEASE NOTE: Childminders are unable to receive Early Education Funding for their own children or children related to them.

Before applying to Ofsted you must

Apply for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

You and anyone connected to your childminding business, including family or household members over the age of 16 must complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check online via the Ofsted portal. Ofsted strongly recommends applicants join the DBS update service: www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service paragraph 28 of the Early Years and Childcare Registration Handbook. Ofsted will not accept any application without a DBS certificate number www.ofsteddbsapplication.co.uk

Fill in and submit a health declaration booklet.

Here is a link to the form which needs to be completed if you are applying as a childminder on the Early Years Register or working directly with children


Apply online for a Government Gateway Account.

The Government Gateway enables you to sign up for any of the UK governments services that are available over the internet. To apply online you will need to create a Government Gateway account https://online.ofsted.gov.uk/onlineofsted/ofsted_online.ofml?page=Guidance

Register with Ofsted and Ofsted Registration Visit

Apply directly online using your Government Gateway account. All applicants must have the right to work in the UK. There are guidance notes to help you complete the forms correctly and the process will guide you through the application so that you only need to complete the relevant sections. Receipt of your application will be acknowledged by Ofsted and you will be informed how to pay your application fee. Ofsted aim to complete the registration process within 12 weeks of receiving your completed application https://online.ofsted.gov.uk/OnlineOfsted/Default.aspx

Ofsted have also launched a facebook page for childminders www.facebook.com/ChildcareRegistration/

Registration Visit

At this visit, the Ofsted inspector will check your identity, that you are ready to start childminding and that your home is suitable to run your childminding business. You will need to demonstrate that you fully understand the requirements of the EYFS in order for Ofsted to be able to register you. See further information www.gov.uk/government/publications/become-a-registered-early-years-or-childcare-provider-in-england

What else will you need to do?

  • Register with HM Revenue and Customs as self-employed.
  • Purchase Public Liability Insurance prior to starting your business – Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) www.pacey.org.uk or Morton Michel www.mortonmichel.com.  These are specialists in Childminding insurance.
  • Inform your motor insurance company that you are a registered childminder and require business cover.
  • You must comply with food safety and hygiene regulations if you provide food and drink for children or babies. For a food agency start up pack see the following link www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/caterers/sfbb/sfbbchildminders
  • Inform your house insurance company that you are running a childminding business from your home.  
  • Register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to comply with Data Protection. You can either complete your notification online at www.ico.org.uk  or request the forms by calling the Notification Helpline on 0303 123 1113 (local rate).

Once Registered

Ofsted will publish your details online (if you agree). Inspect you (if you are joining the Early Years register) and publish your inspection report online.

Suffolk Early Years and Childcare Service provide information for Childminders  www.suffolklearning.co.uk/early-years/support-for-registered-childminders

One of the resources you can access from this link is an ‘EYFS checklist’ to ensure you have everything in place.

What documentation will I need to run my business?

  • Contracts.
  • Child record form.
  • Accident, Incident and Medication book.
  • Accounts book.
  • An Operational Plan is a folder containing all your working documents, you may find this useful to have everything together.
  • Policies and Procedures. The EYFS states - ‘Childminders are not required to have written policies and procedures. However, they must be able to explain their policies and procedures to parents, carers, and others (for example Ofsted inspectors or the childminder agency they are registered with) and ensure any assistants follow them’. It is therefore our advice that for your own protection and that of the children you care for, best practice is to have all policies in writing. The Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) and the Pre-School Learning Alliance (PLA) and Morton Michael offer policy templates that childminders can purchase, adapt and use. Any policies you have in place should be reviewed and signed on an annual basis.
  • Attendance register.
  • Records of Children’s progress. The Statutory Framework for the EYFS seeks to provide quality and consistency in all early years’ settings, so that every child makes good progress and no child is left behind (EYFS, 2017, p.5). You can choose to use Suffolk’s ‘My Learning Journey record’ and ‘Starting Points documentation’ available on Suffolk CPD online resources or your own version to track children’s progress.
  • The EYFS progress check at age 2 years old, available on Suffolk CPD online.
  • Risk assessments.

What documentation will I need to display?

  • Word of mouth is an excellent way of informing parents of your service.
  • Advertise in your local shops, playgroup, school and parish magazine.

How much can I charge?

As you will be running your own business you will be responsible for setting your own rates.  Research local prices of other childcare settings to ensure you are competitive.

How many children can I care for?

All childminders on the Early Years register must adhere to the ratios set out in the EYFS Statutory Framework. In particular childminders should read EYFS Statutory requirements 3.14, 3.42 and 3.43.

Full Ofsted Inspection

Once you are registered and caring for children, you will receive a full Ofsted inspection.  This inspection will be carried out 6-9 months after registration and then a re-inspection at least every four years thereafter.

By law you must keep your details up to date and report any changes within 14 days using Ofsted’s online service, this includes changes to where you are working, your contact details, people who work with you or anyone aged 16 or over who lives with you and your childcare hours.

Local Authority Support

The Suffolk Family Information Service provides information, advice and assistance to childcare providers and families to contact us email: childcare.planning@suffolk.gov.uk

Costs involved in setting up your business

You should go to each of the relevant organisations or businesses to get an up-to-date cost.

  • Training Costs - Contact training provider
  • Paediatric First Aid Training (12 hours) - Contact training provider
  • Ofsted Registration - Ofsted 0300 123 1231
  • Ofsted Registration Fee (renewable annually) - Ofsted 0300 123 1231
  • DBS charges for each person in the house 16 years and over - Ofsted 0300 123 1231
  • The GP Fee – Completion of the Health Declaration form is dependent on your GP surgery and you should contact your surgery for details.
  • Public Liability Insurance, contracts and documents available from - Professional Association for Childcare & Early Years membership (PACEY) – 0800 169 4486 or Morton Michel – 0845 257 0900

Additional toys and equipment appropriate to the age and stage of development for the children you intend to care for.

Checklist for registering as a Childminder

1) Read How to become a registered childminder in Suffolk to understand the requirements of becoming a childminder and decide if childminding is for you.

2) Download your copy of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) documents:

  • The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage
  • Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS, non-statutory)
  • Early Years Outcomes (EYFS, non-statutory)
  • A Know How Guide – The EYFS progress check at age two

You need to read this to become familiar with the legal framework you will be working to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-framework--2

3) Apply online for:

4) Register with CPD online to create a new user account.

The Help button contains all the user guides and information you may need to complete this. Your User account will now enable you to book onto all courses delivered by Suffolk County Council. www.suffolkcpd.co.uk

Training you must do before registration:

  • 12 Hour Paediatric First Aid Training Course
  • Early Years Foundation Stage
  • Safeguarding
  • ‘Home-based Childcare course’ - good practice to complete but not compulsory

5)  Complete the Ofsted application online


6) Registration visit by Ofsted inspector

7) Purchase Public Liability Insurance

8) Receive your Registration Certificate from Ofsted

9) Start Childminding!

You will receive your full Ofsted inspection approximately 6 – 9 months after registration

10) The Suffolk Family Information Service (FIS) will automatically send you a form to advertise your services with them free of charge.

11) Recommended additional training to apply for:

  • Prevent duty
  • Food Safety training (Level 2)
  • Introduction to Safeguarding Children (you MUST complete this course) Observation and Assessment
  • Please note: There are more training courses you can apply for to enhance your childminding provision.

12) Important Reminders

  • Register with HM Revenue and Customs as a self-employed childminder
  • Contact your local planning department
  • Inform your house and car insurance companies you are running a business from home
  • Register with the Information Commissioner’s Office
  • You must comply with food safety and hygiene regulations if you provide food and drink for children or babies.


Please note:

The information contained in this guidance section is for general information purposes only. While every effort has been made to keep the information up to date and correct, Suffolk County Council (SCC) make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, reliability, accuracy or suitability with respect to the information contained within the guidance.  Any reliance placed on such information is therefore strictly at the organisations own risk. SCC is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for, damages of any kind arising out of use, reference to, or reliance on any information contained within this guidance.

Any Questions?

If you have further questions please email: childcare.planning@suffolk.gov.uk 

Alternatively you can call 0345 60 800 33 and leave us a message, we will return your call.