What is a registered childminder and who needs to register?

Childminding is a very rewarding and important role and is not something to enter into without very careful consideration and preparation. In September 2014, new legislation introduced Childminder Agencies. Prospective childminders are now able to choose whether to register with an agency or with Ofsted, who have been registering and inspecting childminders for many years. The information on this webpage covers points to consider before entering into childminding as a profession, but only covers the steps to registration for those wishing to become an Ofsted Registered Childminder. There are currently no Childminder Agencies in Northamptonshire.

There are certain conditions of caring for children that mean Ofsted registration is not required. Read the Ofsted factsheetEarly Years and Childcare Registration Handbook. Page 6 includes information about those who are exempt from registration.

Once you have decided that childminding is for you, you may wish to see what resources we have that you would find useful?

All childminders in England must comply with the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). This link will take you to the EYFS document. Visit our sister site Childminding UK for general information to help you decide if childminding is for you including: What is a childminder and who needs to register, the numbers/ ratios of children you can care and a guide to the inspection process. The information below includes aspects that are particular to Northamptonshire.

What will my start up costs be?

As with any business, there are costs involved in becoming a registered childminder. The Government has introduced a 'Childcare Business Grant Scheme' whereby prospective childminders can apply for a grant of £500.00 to help with start up costs and £1,000.00 if you are setting up a childminding business to cater for children with disabilities. Grants will only be paid on successful registration so it is important to keep receipts of all expenditure. Please note: this grant is only available until March 2018- or sooner if the funds are all used up.

  • Registration fee with Ofsted will either be £35.00 or £103.00 depending on which registers you join
  • DBS check fee for each person over 16 who lives or works in your home. Approximate cost £52 per person
  • Introductory Training that meets the requirements of the EYFS and equips you to start your own childminding business needs to be in place before you can apply to Ofsted. (unless you hold a current early years qualification). Visit our shop to find our online Childminder Introductory Training course priced at only £100.
  • Paediatric First Aid course needs to be in place before registration. Approximate cost £100.00
  • Public Liability insurance has to be in place as soon as you register even if you don’t have minded children. Approximate cost £90.00
  • Car/house insurance. Some companies charge additional premiums to include business use or contents cover if you are childminding
  • Safety equipment. Fire detection and control equipment such as a fire blanket and at least one smoke alarm on each floor of your home and appropriate first aid kit(s) must be provided. These items have variable costings depending on which you buy.
  • GP fee. Varies greatly as each surgery decides their own fees for completing the Health Declaration Booklet.
  • Toys and equipment costs will vary depending on your individual circumstances and what you have already. You may need to purchase extra child car seats, double buggy or travel cot.
  • You will also need to make sure that your house and garden are safe and may need to carry out some improvements - i.e. repair existing fencing in garden.
  • Ofsted may also recommend some other actions that you need to take before they will register you which may cost you money.
  • Ensure that all receipts of expenses are kept for tax and marketing purposes.

Steps to registration

Registration processes vary in each Local Authority and the following information covers the actual process for Northamptonshire.

Please note: The whole registration and training process is likely to take several months.

You must have a secure postal address where Ofsted can post legal documents to, but in addition to this, you must have an email address for Ofsted to send you electronic information and to complete your DBS check. This email address must be an email address accessible to you only and not one shared with others. If you currently have one email address for your whole family, you will need to create an individual one for business use. This should be the e-mail address that you give to everyone who is communicating with you regarding your business. You should not use your personal e-mail address for business use. When creating a name for your e-mail address, think of your business status and make sure it gives a positive message.

In order to register as a childminder in Northamptonshire, you will need to do the following:

Obtain an Information Pack about becoming a childminder in Northamptonshire

You need to request an Information Pack about becoming a childminder by visiting the Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) website. NCC aim to email packs out within one working day, but please allow up to 5 working days. If you haven't received anything by 5 working days, it may be worth checking to see if it is in your junk/spam folder.

.The information pack includes information about:

  • marketing a childminding business
  • how to decide what service you will offer
  • managing your finances
  • how to decide how much to charge
  • how to carry out simple market research to discover if your childminding business would be viable.
  • the date of the next 'Pathways to Registration as a Childminder' session

You will need to work through this pack and then return the invitation that accompanies the pack, to NCC to attend a Pathways to Registration as a Childminder session.

Attend a Pathways to Registration Session

This 2-hour session will:

  • introduce the Ofsted Registration process
  • explain the registration process
  • prepare you for your Ofsted registration visit

Apply for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks

You and anyone connected to your childminding business, including household members over the age of 16 need to have DBS checks. You will need to pay for these checks yourself and will need to firstly visit the Capita website as they have to check your identity before you can apply for DBS checks. Read more about the process of obtaining your DBS check here.

Please note: you will also need to apply for the DBS update service which costs £13.00 per year and needs to be applied for either at the same time as you apply for DBS checks, or up to 19 days afterwards. If you fail to obtain the update service within this time, you will need to apply and pay for another DBS check so that you can apply for the update service as you will not be able to register as a childminder without it. Read more on the Ofsted website.

Please consider:

  • The email address used to sign up for the update service will receive an email when it is due. If you are paying for the DBS and update service for your family members, consider using your email address so that you get the email reminders that the update fee is due. Failure to pay the update fee in time will result in the person needing (and paying for) a new DBS check.
  • Payment is by debit card and you can select for the annual payment to be taken each year- if you change your debit card, you will need to make alternative payment arrangements.

Want to know more about DBS checks? Ofsted have produced a useful factsheet.

Everyone who has a DBS check will receive a copy of their disclosure by post.

Book First Aid training

A 12- hour Paediatric First Aid course must be completed and then updated every 3 years. You will need to have completed your first aid training or be able to give a date within 8 weeks of applying to Ofsted of when it will be completed. You need to pay for this yourself and you can use a provider of your choice but need to make sure that the course you are considering is appropriate and meets the requirements of the EYFS.

Please note: NCA Premium Members can receive discounts for first aid training courses from FS training and Meditec Global first aid providers. Read more about Premium Member benefits below.

Professional Development Profile (PDP) form

You will need to complete an online PDP form in order to apply for a Training ID number that will enable you to access funding or part funding where applicable for early years training. Once you have completed this online form you will receive a notification number beginning with AF- please note that this is not your training number. You will also need to forward a copy of your paediatric first aid certificate or proof of payment and booking your place to the early years team who will then issue you your training ID number, which you need to keep safe. If you are working within the Early Years sector, you may already have a Training ID number in which case you will not need to apply again.

Introductory Training

There is no specific introductory training course that you need to complete.

If you attend the Pathways to Registration as a childminder session you will be told of any local face to face training sessions they have available.


NCA have produced an online Childminder Introductory Training course which is available in our shop. The cost of this training is £100. There are 5 modules to complete- each taking around 2-3 hours to complete. At the end of each module, you will be able to print off a certificate for that module. Once you have completed all 5 modules, you will be able to access your Childminding Introductory Training Certificate which you will need to show to Ofsted.

The following statements are taken from learner evaluation forms from our Introductory Training Course.

Leading and managing a childminding setting module.

'I am really impressed with the way the course is run. Module was easy for me to understand and engaging throughout. I am not the most academic person in the world and I was impressed that there was not jargon all over the place and there were great visual aids madness links to websites. The hmrc info was very good also and easy to understand for someone who is not good with numbers!!'

'Understanding and Working with the EYFS' module.

'Fantastic! Thank you! I'm currently a teacher and this has module has helped me look at the EYFS from a childminding perspective in preparation for my career transition!'

Developing Children's Learning module.

'The handouts in this course are great - I have some great information but also practical pro-forma to use in my setting. Really enjoyed this module - many thanks'

Complete Ofsted Application

Applications must be made to Ofsted Online using a Government Gateway account which you can apply for here. All applicants must have the right to work in the UK.

The Heath Declaration part of the Ofsted application will need to be printed off and taken to your GP for completion. This needs to be done before you complete the online application.

Before applying, first aid and introductory training must have been completed (or a date given within 8 weeks when it will be completed) and DBS checks applied for.

Ofsted produce a Guide to registration on the Early Years Register.

NCA Home visit to help prepare for your Ofsted registration visit

Northamptonshire Childminding Association Childminding Consultants offer pre-registration home visits to help prospective childminders prepare for their Ofsted registration.

At the visit the Childminding Consultant will look around the house and garden with the prospective childminder and advise on:

  • Safety equipment
  • Use of playing and eating areas
  • Storage of hazardous items
  • Use of garden
  • Security
  • Pets
  • Fire escape routes and routines

and will answer questions about:

  • Registration process
  • Childminding ratios
  • Environmental health

This visit can either be purchased alone or can be chosen as the home visit that is included in NCA's Premium Membership package.

The visit will last for 1 hour 30 minutes and will be available Monday to Friday between 9:00am and 5:00pm and cost £50.00.

Book online with a credit/debt card or send a cheque/PO made payable to NCA to Northamptonshire Childminding Association, PO Box 7114, Kettering, Northants NN16 6BG. Please include your name, address and contact details and what the cheque is for.

Once payment has been received you will be contacted within 5 working days by a NCA staff member to arrange an appointment.

If you have any queries please contact us by email or ring the NCA Enquiry Line on 0845 838 3724, which is open Monday to Friday 9:00am-5:00pm.

Premium Membership

NCA offers a Premium Membership package consisting of childminding resources, discounts including Morton Michel insurance, online training, training events and a home visit at the best possible price - giving huge reductions on the cost of buying individual items. Premium Membership is available to all registered and pre-registration childminders in Northamptonshire. Read more about the benefits of becoming a Premium Member.

What happens next?

In order to prepare for your Ofsted registration visit, it will be helpful if you read and work through the Ofsted document 'Early Years Register- Preparing for your Registration Visit'.

Once Ofsted have carried out their inspection and received all your security and health checks, you will receive your Ofsted Registration Certificate and it is now that you can begin childminding but there are several other things you need to do as well.

Public Liability Insurance

This needs to be in place as soon as you receive your registration certificate and maintained even if you are not currently caring for children. NCA Premium Membership includes a discount with Morton Michel

Car Insurance

If you plan to transport children in your car, you need to be covered for business use on your car insurance. Some companies charge extra for this.

Registering with HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs)

Most Registered Childminders are self-employed and run their own business. See here for more information about your responsibilities for Income Tax and National Insurance.

Register as a data controller with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

Childminders must be aware of their responsibilities under the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998.

You do not need to notify them if:

  • all your childminding records are kept on paper
  • you only keep information on your computer about the names, ages and addresses of the children and the names and addresses of the parents
  • details on payments on the computer are purely for accounts and record purposes

However, if you keep observations and plans for children's development on your computer, or use a digital camera (including mobile phones and video recorders) for observationsit is likely that you will need to notify the ICO. Notification costs £35.00 per year. Register at Information Commissioner’s Office

Further support for new childminders

Support from NCA

Northamptonshire Childminding Association (NCA) promotes and supports prospective and registered childminders in Northamptonshire.

The Association is managed by a voluntary management committee of practising childminders and employs a team of eight staff, consisting of an executive director, two operations managers, an administrator and four childminding consultants.

Passionate about home based childcare?

NCA Membership

NCA provides two levels of membership. All registered childminders in Northamptonshire are automatically Basic Members of Northamptonshire Childminding Association and there is the option to upgrade to Premium Membership if you choose. Learn more about NCA Membership.

Childminding Services

Childminders offer a range of different services, inlcuding funded childcare and early learning for 2 year olds and 3&4 year olds.Learn more about how to register for this and details of other services you can offer

Support from Northamptonshire County Council

Families Information Service (FIS) - with written permission, FIS will pass on the contact details of registered childminders to parents/carers looking for childcare through the Childcare Directory. Newly registered childminders will be contacted by their childminding consultant with details of how to complete the Data Collection Form for this purpose.

Training and Career Guidance Advisors can advise on training and career progression routes.

More useful information


Why become a childminder?

Once you have decided that childminding is for you, why not look at our resources section to see what we have that you would find useful?

The wide variety of resources that have been created for you, have been produced by a team of childcare professionals who have many years’ experience of childcare including childminding and are qualified up to Early Years Professional Status. They have been designed to keep you informed and up to date and to save you the hours it would take to produce them for your self.

If you’re still not sure our Guide to Becoming an Ofsted Registered Childminder gives you all this information and more in a handy downloadable booklet- available in our Childminding UK shop

They are available to purchase individually from our Childminding UK shop or are all included as part of NCA's Premium Membership.

Other questions you may have

If you have any other questions or you would like to have an informal chat with NCA about becoming a childminder, please ring us on 0845 838 3724 or email us