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Keeping children safe in childcare

Information for parents 

How Ofsted regulates childcare

Childcare is registered depending on factors such as, what service they provide, age of the children they care for and how long they are open for.

Ofsted carry out checks and visits to see if they application is suitable before they can be registered.

Each provider would apply to be on these registers depending on their circumstances;

The early years register

This is for people who provide childcare for children in the early year's age group (0-5 years)

The childcare register

This has two parts and is for childcare which is either;

  • Compulsory, for those who care for children from 1 September following their fifth Birthday up to the age of eight.


  • Voluntary
    - Home childcarers, including nannies, who care for the children of no more than two families at the home of one or both families, caring for children from birth until their eighteenth birthday
    - Childcare, including childminders, who care for children aged eight or over, until their eighteenth birthday
    - Providers who are exempt from compulsory registration such as activity-based provision like sports coaching
    - Providers who are open for less than two hours per day

Ofsted uses these registers to regulate what childcare providers, can, can't and should do.

Visit the OFSTED website for more details.