Register as a Childminder

Providing high quality childcare can be enormously rewarding and give children a great start in life. Opening a new provision requires commitment and research.

There is a lot to consider including knowing about your community, the competition in your area and sustainability.

We have included some advice and suggestions which should be useful as a starting point, however all new provisions are different and will have individual considerations.

If you are interested in becoming a childminder in Somerset there are a number of stages you should go through. First, contact us by using the button below to register an interest and to request an information pack.

The form has 1 page and should take 5 minutes to complete.

What it involves for childminders

There are some other training costs associated with registering as a childminder – your initial information pack will explain these.

You will then need to read the Ofsted pre-registration briefing session where you will be advised about the registration process and requirements.

An Early Years officer will support you through the entire process.

Prospective childminders must have completed training, which helps you to understand and implement the early years foundation stage (EYFS) before you can apply to register with Ofsted or a childminder agency.

You will need to apply for a disclosure and barring service (DBS) check and sign up to the portable update service for yourself and anyone else in your home aged 16 or over.

You will be signposted to the relevant Ofsted forms, which must be filled in once you have completed all the relevant training.

Once Ofsted has received your completed application form, they will contact you within 12 weeks about your registration visit and a fee must be paid. You must have public liability insurance to operate as a childminder. Your early years officer will advise you how to arrange this.

As soon as your Ofsted registration certificate and public liability insurance certificate are in place you can start childminding.

Ofsted will give us the details of your service. You will be able to update information as changes in your service are implemented.

Once registered, Ofsted will first inspect you within 30 months. After that they will carry out inspections approximately every 3 to 5 years, depending on your inspection outcome, or sooner if a complaint is made about your service. The Early Years Locality Officer will support you until you have received your first full inspection.

You must remember to keep Ofsted informed of your changes, for example name, address and the service you offer.

Ofsted charge an annual fee to keep your registration active.

PACEY now offer a free business toolkit for all childminders.

Starting a nursery

National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) have created a factsheet for anyone who wants to open a nursery provision, which includes helpful information for you on Regulations, Finance and Health and Safety.

Golden hello grant

If you are a newly registered Childminder and want to offer entitlement funding you could get a one-off grant to help you with the cost of your new business.

Eligibility requirements
You must

  • be a Childminder who is newly registered on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and operating in Somerset
  • apply for this grant within 4 months of being registered with Ofsted and must not have received a start-up grant from Somerset County Council or the government
  • have been accepted to join Somerset’s Directory of entitlement funded providers and registered as an active user on the Entitlements portal
  • offer the funded childcare entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds universal and extended offer and offer places for eligible funded 2 year olds
  • have an Ofsted registration certificate and insurance in place
  • commit to operating your business for at least a year

Finding suitable premises - all childcare providers

Often the hardest part of starting a new childcare business is finding suitable premises. You should have an idea about what age ranges you wish to care for, and how many children. Children under two years must have 3.5 square metres of floor space available per child, falling to 2.5 square metres for two-year olds and 2.3 square metres for three and four year olds. Providers must also ensure that as far as reasonably practical, the facilities, equipment and access are suitable for children with disabilities.

Remember, it is likely that planning permission will be required, so consider whether there is enough parking, suitable drop-off points and whether neighbours are likely to object.

You should also consider where you expect parents to come from, what clientele you and whether there are other childcare groups in the area (see Childcare Sufficiency Assessments below).

Cost of premises

  • If a building is leased, what are the terms of the lease?  Are there break clauses? Can alterations to the building be made? What is the notice period?
  • If the building is to be purchased outright, how will the purchase be funded?
  • What are the business rates?
  • Will there be a need for repairs and maintenance? How much is likely to be needed?

Childcare sufficiency assessments

A childcare sufficiency assessment provides an overview of the local childcare market, comparing the supply of childcare in an area to the demand for childcare. Demand for childcare is based on the number of children in the area and the average national usage. By comparing supply with demand, we can see whether there is a requirement for more childcare in an area.

If you would like a childcare sufficiency assessment of a target area, please contact at sfis@somerset.gov.uk or phone 01823 355828.

Early Years Officers can provide practical advice and support on everything from suitable premises to operational delivery. Please contact sfis@somerset.gov.uk for more information.

What are you planning to offer?

  • What age ranges will you offer care for? Babies? Two-year olds? Three and four year olds? After school care?
  • What opening times will you offer?  It is worth researching the local need: Do parents need full day care, hours that fit within the school day or just mornings or afternoons?
  • What resources and equipment will you need? Budget for the costs of equipment
  • What fees will you charge? How does this compare with other providers in the area?
  • Have you completed a business plan? A business plan is vital as it helps you consider all aspects of your business in detail.
  • Pick up from schools?
  • Will you be offering entitlement places?

Staff and timescales

Staff
Staff are usually the single largest cost for any nursery. Statutory staffing ratios must be considered. You must also meet the ratios of qualified staff (see the EYFS Framework) and consider whether you will have an Early Years Teacher or Early Years Professional on the staff team.

Timescale
The overall timescale will vary depending on individual circumstances, such as locating premises, whether planning permission is required and recruiting staff. Ofsted registration can take up to six months and Ofsted will only do a registration visit when the setting is ready to open for business, so planning ahead is crucial.

Whilst every effort has been made to provide up to date and correct advice, we make no representations or warranties of any kind. Any reliance placed on this information is strictly at your own risk.

Last reviewed:July 4, 2022 byPaul

Next review due:January 4, 2023

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