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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

How to register as a childminder and receive a grant worth up to £1,200

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Childcare, childminders

become a childminder

We’re making the biggest investment by a UK government into childcare in history. Parents have the flexibility to choose how they spend their government-funded hours – and many are opting to use childminders.

Being a childminder is a rewarding role where you can have a real impact on the lives of children and their families. It’s also a flexible career which you can fit around your life.

If you’re new to the profession, you may also be entitled to a grant worth up to £1,200 to help start your business.

Here we explain everything you need to know about how to become a childminder and where to apply.

What do childminders do?

Childminders care for babies, toddlers and children in a home-based environment.

Lots of childminders do this alongside looking after their own children.

As a childminder, you will help develop children’s wellbeing and kickstart their learning, so they are ready for school when they reach the right age.

Your responsibilities could include:

  • Offering safe play activities, both indoors and outside,
  • Providing learning activities,
  • Planning, preparing and serving meals,
  • Speaking to parents and carers about their child's day.

Childminders are self-employed, so you’ll be running your own business and acting as your own boss.

How much do childminders earn?

The amount you earn as a childminder depends on a few factors, including the number of children you look after and the hours you offer.

Being self-employed is one of the benefits of being a childminder, as you can fit your work around the other commitments you have – including caring for your own children.

Childminders are benefitting from our investment in childcare. We are investing more than £400 million this year to increase hourly funding rates, meaning the national average funding rates for 24/25 are:

  • £11.22 for under twos. This is almost double the mean hourly fee charged to parents in 2023 at £6.05 per hour.
  • £8.28 for two-year-olds, up from £6.00 per hour in 23/24. This is significantly higher than the mean hourly fee charged to parents in 2023 at £6.07 per hour.
  • £5.88 for three- and four-year-olds, up from £5.29 per hour in 23/24. This is roughly the same as the mean hourly fee charged to parents in 2023 at £5.90 per hour.

To help you start-up your business, new childminders joining the profession may be able to apply for a childminder start-up grant of £600 if registering with Ofsted, or £1,200 if registering with a childminder agency. The grant size reflects the different costs of registering.

What qualifications do childminders need?

You don’t need any prior experience or qualifications to become a childminder, but you must complete a registration process.

To do this you'll usually need to:

  • demonstrate that you understand and can implement the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS) if you’re looking to care for young children in the early years age-group. Childminders looking after school-age will also need to complete training. Find out more on Ofsted’s website here.
  • complete a paediatric first aid course.
  • complete child protection safeguarding training.

New childminders might be eligible to receive a grant to cover costs associated with registering, and once you’re registered, you could take further training, like a  free online course covering child development during early years.

Find out more here.

How do I apply to become a childminder?

To become a childminder, you must register with Ofsted or a childminder agency.

You can register with Ofsted online here.

To register with a childminder agency, you must contact them directly. A list of agencies is available here.

Should childminders register with Ofsted or a childminder agency?

You can choose whether to register with Ofsted or a childminder agency.

If you register with Ofsted, you will need to organise your own support, finances and record-keeping. Ofsted charges an annual fee.

In contrast, childminder agencies provide you with practical support, and can also offer a range of additional services, such as help with the administrative side of your business. Childminder agencies are likely to charge you a monthly fee or percentage of your earnings. You can find out about childminder agencies and the services they provide here.

How many children can I look after as a childminder?

Childminders can look after a maximum of 6 children under the age of 8 per adult.

Of these 6 children, a maximum of 3 may be young children, and there should only be 1child under the age of 1.

The EYFS contains more information here.

Can I work with other people as a childminder?

Currently, childminders can work with up to two other people (childminders and/or assistants) under their childminder registration – meaning there can be a total of three people working together under a single registration.

We’re planning to expand the number of people who can work together as childminders to four people in total – this change will likely come into later this year.

Can I work as a childminder outside my home?

Childminders can currently operate from suitable location outside their home, such as a school site or community centre, for up to 50% of their time. Childminders can also organise outings, like a trip to a park or a local library. More information is available here.

We’re working to allow childminders to spend more time working from outside a home-based location – these changes will also likely come into effect later this year.

I’m a parent. How do I find a childminder?

Contact your local authority to find a childminder in your area. You can find your local authority website here.

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