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Becoming a childminder

Aim of this page

The focus of this information is in registering to become a childminder with a criminal record.

Why is this important?

For anybody thinking about becoming a childminder, you will need an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check in order to register with Ofsted. This will be used to assist Ofsted in making a decision as to whether you should be allowed to practice as a childminder.

Although Ofsted give little guidance on how they deal with criminal records, in general they will treat each case on its own merits. It’s important however to know what may disqualify you from becoming a childminder. On the Ofsted website, there is guidance on registration to the Childcare register.

Do you need to register to be a childminder?

You’ll need to register with Ofsted if you’re a childminder and paid to look after children under the age of 8 for more than 2 days in your home.

You don’t need to register if you:

  • Look after children aged 8 or over
  • Look after children of any age for under 2 hours a day
  • Are the child’s parent or relative
  • Are babysitting children between 6pm and 2am
  • Look after children in their own home (this means you are a nanny).

Further information about registration exemptions can be found here.

Why you might want to register even if you don’t need to

Even if there’s no legal requirement for you to do so, there may be some advantage to registering.

  • You may be able to get a childcare business grant to help you set up your business if you apply within 3 months of registering.
  • Registration means that parents can apply for help with childcare costs. This can make it easier for you to find work.


Prior to applying for registration you will need to:

  1. Apply for your enhanced DBS check. Anyone over 16 who lives with you will also need a check.
  2. Complete a health declaration form and get it signed by your GP. Your GP may charge you for this.
  3. Complete a first aid qualification.
  4. Find out if you need any further training.

Are you disqualified from registering as a childminder?

Some people are disqualified from registering as a childminder with Ofsted. This is either because they, or somebody they live with has been:

  • Convicted of a relevant offence against a child
  • Convicted of certain offences against an adult; for example murder, kidnapping, rape, indecent assault or assault causing actual bodily harm
  • Included on the list of those who are barred from working with children.

If you are disqualified as a result of your own criminal record or the criminal record of somebody that lives or works in your household (referred to as ‘disqualification by association’) you will need to apply for a waiver from Ofsted before you can work as a childminder.

Will you be able to register if you have a criminal record?

When coming to a decision about your suitability, Ofsted will consider some of the following:

  • The seriousness of the offence
  • The accuracy of your self-disclosure on the application form compared with the information provided on your enhanced DBS check – if you’re unsure of the details of your conviction, make sure you apply for a copy of your police records (referred to as a subject access request) prior to completing the application form
  • The age you were at the time of the offence
  • The amount of time that has elapsed since the offence
  • The relevance of the offence.

If, after reviewing your application and carrying out an interview and inspection of your home, your application is successful, Ofsted will issue you with a registration certificate.

Should Ofsted decide to refuse your registration, a ‘notice of intention to refuse’ will be sent to you. If no response or objection is received within 14 days of the notice, a ‘notice of decision to refuse registration’ will be sent, together with information on how to appeal.

Discuss this with other

Read and share your experiences on our online forum.

Below you will find links to useful websites relating to this page. More specific details (including addresses and telephone numbers) of some of the organisations listed below can be found here.

  • Ofsted – The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people
  • Childminding UK – A registered charity offering professional support to all Ofsted registered childminders.

More information

  1. To discuss this issue with others – Read and share your experiences on our online forum
  2. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline.

Get involved

Help us to add value to this information. You can:

  1. Comment on this page below
  2. Send your feedback directly to us
  3. Discuss your views and experiences with others on our online forum



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Photo of Head of Advice, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Head of Advice

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