Childminding can be a very rewarding and lucrative business, and the advantages of working from home make it very appealing. The process of becoming a childminder is not complicated and you can be up and running in as little as 12 weeks. Our guide takes you through all the steps on how to become a childminder. We look at qualifications, registration, and other legal requirements.
About being a Childminder
A childminder works from their own home or in rented property such as a church hall. They can work as sole traders or have up to three staff working at one time on the premises.
Childminders can earn a good living but their own young children count in ratio numbers which need to be considered. Most will agree though that having your children with you will cut down on costs elsewhere – such as childcare fees.
People considering a career in childminding will have a passion to work with children but what else does the process involve? The good news is that you do not need any previous qualifications to become a childminder but there is a strict registration process. This article explores the training, legal aspects, and qualifications you need to become a registered childminder.
Please note: This article has been written about the steps you need to take to become a childminder in England. Most steps are the same throughout the UK but we e have highlighted how the process is different in Scotland and Wales at the end of this article.
You will need to undertake a course that is specific to home-based childcare and which covers all you need to begin your new vocation. If you already have a relevant qualification, you don’t need an additional course.
These courses will prepare you for the knowledge you will need to provide a safe and warm environment for the children. There are many different courses to choose from and you can check with your local council which ones are accepted in your area. These can be done online which is both convenient and flexible. If you already hold a relevant qualification such as teacher status in the Early Years then you may not need to do this course.
You can expect a childminding course to cover the following:
- How to implement the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
- The legislation you need to be aware of.
- Safeguarding and child protection.
- Aspects of health and safety in the home.
- How to promote an inclusive environment.
- Working in partnership with other professionals and parents.
- The importance of play, learning, and development.
- How to implement the business side of things.
- All registration requirements.
This training only needs to be completed once at the beginning of your childminding journey.
Pediatric First Aid Training
All childminders must have a current pediatric first aid certificate and this can not lapse for any period of time.
Should you plan to work with an assistant and plan to leave them with children at any point, then they too, need this training. You should ideally speak to your local council before booking one to ensure it is an approved one. Alternatively, the training provider should be able to tell you if it is the right one for you. These courses can be face-to-face, or they can be blended which is a combination of online and face-to-face.
You cannot become a childminder until you have completed this training and have your certificate. Applicants must book onto training that is a 12-hour course, anything under this means it is not OFSTED approved.
You can expect a Pediatric First Aid course to cover the following:
- Emergencies such as choking and bleeding.
- How to use a defibrillator.
- How to administer CPR for babies and older children.
- Dealing with burns and scalds.
- Heat exhaustion and hypothermia.
- Illnesses such as vomiting, meningitis, asthma, and anaphylactic shock.
- Head injuries
- First aid box contents.
- How to put bandages on.
First aid training must be taken every 3 years and this means the full 12 hours – not a refresher course. You should not allow your current certificate to lapse as it will invalidate your registration certificate which can lead to closure.
Safeguarding is an essential part of the registration process and anyone being paid to look after children should undertake this training.
Working alone with small children who have no voice needs people looking out for them and recognising the signs of abuse and neglect. These courses are designed so that you are knowledgeable about all the latest guidance and policies.
Your top priority as a childcarer is the child’s wellbeing and safety. Due to being the sole business owner, you should do Level 3.
You can expect a safeguarding course to cover the following:
- The responsibilities of the designated safeguarding leader.
- Definition of safeguarding and why training is necessary.
- Outline of laws such as The Children Act of 1989.
- Looking at documents such as Working Together To Safeguard Children.
- Exploring different situations and coming up with suitable courses of action.
- Learning the signs of abuse and the different types.
- Record keeping and your duty of care.
- Importance of knowing all the safeguarding numbers you may need.
- How to establish what course of action to take.
- Topics such as female genital mutilation and radicalism.
Food Hygiene Course
When you register as a childminder you legally must register as a food business with your local council.
This means you may be inspected so it is highly recommended to do a food hygiene course to learn the basics. Even if you do not make any meals, you will still be serving drinks and storing food such as lunch boxes. It’s important to have a good knowledge of UK food safety laws.
You can expect a Food Hygiene course to cover:
- Importance of good personal hygiene.
- How to make and maintain a good cleaning routine.
- The correct way to store food in the fridge and freezer.
- The basics about cross-contamination and its implications.
- How bacteria spreads and the risks.
- Food safety and how to minimise the risks.
- The importance of using the correct cleaning supplies.
Other Courses Open To Childminders Include:
- Autism Awareness.
- Health and Safety.
- Children’s Mental Health.
- How to deliver the EYFS
- Online Safety.
- GDPR and Data Protection.
- Business and Marketing.
- Our guide answers the question do childminders need a food hygiene certificate in more detail, including which certificate is best suited for your business, and what aspects of food safety you must be aware of.
The 10 Legal Steps To Becoming A Registered Childminder
We have covered the courses you need to become a fully-fledged registered childminder, but what other legal requirements are there?
Below, we set out the 10 legal steps you need to take before you can open for business.
- You need to register with Ofsted for a small fee that is paid annually. This will involve a pre-registration inspection whereby your childminding house requirements will be discussed and assessed You cannot open until you have had this inspection and have received your registration certificate. You can opt to register with a childcare agency rather than Ofsted. The certificate you receive should then be displayed somewhere visible to your clients.
- You must have carried out the necessary courses as set out in the first section of this article.
- Another must as a childminder is registering as a business with HMRC.
- Register as a food business with your local council.
- Take out Insurance for your business and your home.
- If you do not own your home then you will need to ask permission from the landlord before becoming a childminder.
- Register with the ICO for a small fee to help protect all your data.
- Complete a health declaration from your local doctor’s surgery – there is a fee involved and this fee differs hugely within different regions.
- Have a DBS check processed for yourself and anyone else over the age of 16 in your household.
- There are two registers childminders can register on – Early Years Register (Children 5 and under) and Childcare Register (over 5s).
How Does The Childminding Process Differ In Wales?
- In Wales, childminders register with the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW), not Ofsted.
- A briefing session must be attended by anyone in Wales wanting to become a childminder.
- There is a Home-Based Childcare Course for anyone looking to start out as a childminder.
How Does The Childminding Process Differ In Scotland?
- In Scotland, those wanting to become a childminder must register with the Care Inspectorate, not Ofsted.
- They need to complete an induction program as part of the registration process.
- Registration will require becoming a member of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme.
About the Author
Kelly Thomas was a registered childminder for 12 years, before leaving the industry in 2020. Kelly achieved an Ofsted rating of Outstanding for her childcare business. She worked in childcare settings for her whole career prior to starting her own business, and has an expert knowledge of childminding and childcare topics.