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. 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.

Register an interest in becoming a childminder

This form has 1 page and will take approximately 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 complete the training. This helps them to understand and implement the early years foundation stage (EYFS) before they 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 for 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 Year’s officer will advise you on 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 charges an annual fee to keep your registration active.

Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (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. This includes helpful information for you on Regulations, Finance and Health and Safety.

The Department for Education Start Up Grant Scheme

The Department for Education Childminder Start-up Grant Scheme will open for applications by 30 November 2023, offering £600 for childminders who have registered with Ofsted since 15 March 2023.

You can find more information on the GOV.UK website – Childminder start-up grants scheme update: September 2023 – GOV.UK 

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 2 years old must have 3.5 square metres of floor space available per child, falling to 2.5 square metres for 2-year olds and 2.3 square metres for 3 and 4 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 are 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, contact or phone 01823 355828.

Early Years Officers can provide practical advice and support on everything from suitable premises to operational delivery – contact for more information.

What are you planning to offer?

  • What age ranges will you offer care for? Babies? 2-year olds? 3 and 4 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 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.

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 6 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: October 9, 2023 by Paul

Next review due: April 9, 2024

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