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Ofsted is a government department that inspects and regulates institutions in England providing education to learners of all ages and providers of care for children and young people.


Childcare providers who look after children aged between birth and eight are should be registered


What is Registered Childcare?

A childcare provider is registered, it means that they have met certain standards set out by Ofsted. These standards include the suitability of the staff for working with children, and the suitability and safety of the premises. 


As part of the registration process, Ofsted carries out a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check to make sure all staff are suitable for working with children.


Do all childcarers have to be registered?

It is compulsory for all childcarers to be registered with Ofsted if they are paid for looking after children aged under eight years for more than two hours a day.


Other childcarers that do not have to be registered with Ofsted can choose to become voluntary registered.  This allows eligible parents to claim
tax credits or use childcare vouchers to help with childcare costs.


Example of types of childcarers that don't have to, but can choose to register include:


  • Those providing care for children aged over seven, such as childminders, breakfast clubs, after schools clubs, out of school activity clubs and holiday playschemes
  • Activity based care (sports, drama, language or art clubs)
  • Care provided in the child's home such as nannies and au pairs or home based care for disabled children.


Is my childcare provider registered?

All registered childcare providers will hold an up-to-date registration certificate, ask the provider to let you see this.  If they refuse or can't show you, you can contact your local Children, Young People and Families Centre or Ofsted on 0845 404045 to check if they are registered.


Ofsted reports

When you visit a childcare provider you should ask to see a copy of their Ofsted report along with their registration certificate, alternatively you can find them directly from the Ofsted website


An inspection report gives information about how well the provider's doing, tells you what they're doing well and has recommendations about what the provider should do to improve further.


After inspection, childcare providers are given one of four gradings:


  • Outstanding

  • Good

  • Satisfactory

  • Inadequate


Staff to Children Ratio

Ofsted sets the minimum number of childcare workers that should be responsible for the care of your child at any one time.  These are:


  • One carer for every three children under the age of two

  • One carer for every four children aged two

  • One carer for every eight children aged three and over


Childminders can be registered to care for up to six children, of these:


  • Only three may be under five years of age and

  • Only one or two aged under one

These figures include the childminder’s own children


Making a complaint about childcare

If you have a complaint or concern about your childcare you can contact the Ofsted helpline on 0300 123 1231 or email them at enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk.


Concerned about a child's safety at childcare provision?

If you are concerned about the safety and welfare of a child in Leicester, contact Children's Social Care  on 0116 454 1004 (24 hour service) or the police on 0116 222 2222.