If you intend to employ a PA to act as a child minder for your children, you should read this factsheet to check whether they need to register as a child minder. In many situations childminders need to register with Ofsted so that they can be effectively regulated.
My PA looks after my child in their own home
If your PA looks after your child in their own home for some or all of the time they are working for you, you need to consider whether they are required to register as a childminder with Ofsted.
Is my PA a childminder?
According to Ofsted a childminder is
‘a person who is registered to look after one or more children, to whom they are not related, for reward [money, gifts or services]. Childminders work with no more than two other childminders or assistants.’*
Friends who care for each other’s children do not have to register with Ofsted, if the care is without payment of money or for things like food and electricity.
Childminders care for:
- children on domestic premises i.e. someone’s home. It is usually the childminder’s own home, but it can be someone else’s home. It is not usually the home of one of the children.
- at least one individual child for a total of more than two hours in any day. This is not necessarily a continuous period of time.
Childminders are different from home child carers (i.e. nannies) who:
- care for children of any age up to their 18th birthday wholly or mainly in the home of one of the children being cared for. They care for children from no more than two families.
For more information on this see www.ofsted.gov.uk.
Does my PA need to register as a child minder?
Your PA needs to register as a childminder if they are looking after your child in their own home:
- for a total of more than two hours per day
- your child is under the age of eight
- they receive payment or reward in exchange for the care given
- they are not a close relative of your child
There are no formal requirements for registration or inspection of people acting as childminders for less than two hours per day or in cases where the child is over 8 years old. For example:
|…if the PA cares for the same child aged under eight for an hour before and an hour and a half after school then they must register with Ofsted.|
|…if the PA cares for one child aged under eight for an hour before school and then cares for a different child aged under eight for an hour and a half after school then registration is not required.|
- childminders must normally register on Ofsted’s Early Years Register if they want to care for children from birth to five.
- they must register on the compulsory part of the Childcare Register if they want to care for children from five to seven.
- they can choose to register on the voluntary part of the Childcare Register if they want to care for older children.
The application form for the Early Years Register includes a section where a person wishing to register as a childminder can also apply to register on the Childcare Register without completing a separate form or paying an additional fee i.e. because they care for two of your children one of whom is age four and the other is age seven.
A person does not need to register as a childminder if they:
- are the parent, grandparent or other close relative of the child they are looking after. A relative means a grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother or sister of a child (or half-brother or sister) or someone you are related to through marriage or civil partnership
- have parental responsibility for the child
- are a foster carer for the child in various situations (please check with the local authority)
- only look after the child between the hours of 6:00pm and 2:00am i.e. they are a babysitter
- are providing care for friends’ children and look after them for less than three hours per day for some payment
- look after the child wholly or mainly in the child’s own home
- care for an individual child for two hours or less per day
For a full list of exemptions please see: Registration exemptions – Childminders and childcare providers: register with Ofsted – Guidance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
or contact your local authority’s Family Information Service.
In order to apply to become a childminder the individual should go to: Become a childminder or nanny (England): Register as a childminder – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Individuals can contact their local authority’s Family Information Service for advice and support about becoming a childminder. Some, but not all, local authorities hold pre-registration briefings for childminder applicants which will help them through the application process. Some local authorities also provide information about:
- registration courses and training
- first aid training
- advice and support that the local authority and its Family Information Service make available
- obtaining a copy of the Early Years Foundation Stage
Other requirements of the registration process include:
- completion of an Ofsted application pack
- an enhanced with Barred lists DBS check for the applicant and all members of his/her household over the age of 16
- a medical report from the applicant’s GP
- inspection of the home premises by Ofsted
- a suitable person interview with an Ofsted inspector to check that the individual will be able to meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage, including its welfare and learning and development requirements
- successful completion of a paediatric first aid course (min 12 hours)*
- attendance at an Introduction to Childcare Practice, Home-based (ICP) course. These must be completed within 6 months of initial registration. Support with costs may be available through the Early Childhood Service.
- public liability insurance
What standards should childminders work to?
Childminders should work to the specifications of the: Childminding – Early Years standards
This publication sets out the national standards for childminders of children under the age of five. The standards aim to provide a stimulating and safe environment for children’s welfare, development and represents a baseline of quality below which providers should not fall.
The standards cover a separate area with supporting criteria, including: the suitability of carers and the qualifications/experience needed, the quality of the premises, equipment and facilities, the maximum number of children a childminder may look after at any one time, the security of the children, their health and dietary requirements and the provision for children with special educational needs or disabilities.
Can child-minders care for children overnight?
A specified number of children may be included in this service if offered by childminders. They must apply for and be given additional approval by Ofsted and compliance with fire regulations and guidance. Conditions of this are shown on the registration certificate. With this approval, they are not required to train or register as foster carers, providing care is not provided for more than 28 consecutive days.
Can the childminder care for our children in our home as well?
A childminder’s registration covers them to provide care in their home premises, but a registered childminder may apply to be recognised as an approved home child carer as well by applying to be on the Ofsted Voluntary Childcare register.
When working in the child’s home, the childminder is an employee of the child’s parents. This is likely to be relevant to PAs engaged through the DP scheme, where the work is largely in the family home and the PA is employed by child’s parent with DP funds.
When the childminder works in their own home they are self-employed.
Each local authority has a Family Information Service which can give information about local childminders.
West Sussex Family Information Service
Phone: 01243 777807
Portsmouth Family Information Service
Phone: 023 9268 8830
Croydon Family Information Service
Family Space, Croydon
Phone: 020 8604 7154
Phone: 0300 123 1231