Ofsted Regulations

Who is Ofsted?

Ofsted regulates and inspects services for children, young adults and learners.  As part of their work they register and inspect those who provide childcare for children aged from birth up to their eighteenth birthday.  This helps to reassure you that when your children are in registered childcare, they are cared for by people who are suitable.  Ofsted registration helps to make sure children and young people are cared for in the safe environment they need. 

Changes to registrations

From September 2008 Ofsted have operated two registers – the Early Years Register and the Childcare Register.  Most childcare providers are already required to register with Ofsted. Changes in the law mean that those not previously obliged to register can now join the voluntary part of the Ofsted Childcare Register.

The Early Years Register

The Early Years Register is for those who provide childcare for children aged from birth to the 31 August following their fifth birthday: this is known as the early years group.  Providers must offer care and early learning to meet the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which sets the learning, development and care for children from birth to the end of the stage.

The Childcare Register

The Childcare Register has two parts.

  • Compulsory part
    Those who provide care for children aged from birth to the end of the early years age group (1 September following the child’s fifth birthday) to under eight must register with Ofsted on the compulsory part of the Childcare Register.  This includes childminders, nurseries and preschools.
  • Voluntary part
    Those who provide care for children aged from eight up to their eighteenth birthday e.g. childminders, out of school clubs, holiday clubs, playschemes, play centres and open access play provision provide short term or temporary care e.g. crèches provide activity-based services such as coaching or tuition such as sports, drama, language or arts clubs can choose to register on the voluntary part of the Childcare Register. 

Why register

Registration with Ofsted: 

  • Reassures parents that basic standards designed to safeguard children are met.
  • Allows eligible parents to receive help with childcare cost through Working Tax Credits and employer supported childcare schemes.
  • Ensures that childcare providers meet the required standards of learning and education.
  • Ensures that children are safe, well cared for and take part in activities that contribute to their development and learning.
  • Promotes high quality in the provision of care and learning.