Childcare registration exemptions

The Ofsted guidance indicates when a provider does not need to register on either the early years register or on the compulsory part of the childcare register

However, a provider may choose register on the voluntary part of the childcare register, this supporting parents and carers to make payments through tax credits, tax free childcare savings and childcare voucher schemes. 

Annex A of the early years and childcare registration handbook gives the exemptions as:

  1. If they care for children who are aged eight and over.

  2. If they provide care where a child does not stay with them for more than two hours a day, even if the childcare service is open for longer than two hours.

  3. If they only care for a child or children aged under eight who they are related to. A relative means a grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother or sister of a child (or half-brother or sister) or someone they are related to through marriage or civil partnership.

  4. If they care for children aged under eight on domestic premises as a childminder without receiving any payment or reward for the services. Domestic premises can be their own home or someone else’s home.

  5. If they only care for a child or children as a foster carer. 
  6. If they are a local authority approved foster carer, providing childcare for another child already placed with any local authority approved foster parent.

  7. If they only care for the children of one or more friends in their own home or someone else’s home:

    if no money or payment changes hands
    for three hours or less per day, and some payment is made.

    Payment is defined as a ‘payment of money or money’s worth’ but does not include the provision of goods or services; it means payment for or towards the costs involved in the childcare, such as a contribution to heating and lighting, or paying for food or repairs to the place where the childminding happens.

  8. If they provide care for children in their own home. This includes caring for children of up to two sets of parents completely or mainly in one or both sets of parents’ homes. However, they need to register as a childminder if they look after the children of three sets of parents in any or all of the parents’ homes.

  9. If they only provide care between 6pm and 2am on domestic premises (babysitting arrangements). Domestic premises can be their own home or someone else’s home.

  10. If they are providing a home-education arrangement where a child of school age receives full-time education outside school, and is partly or completely taught by a person other than a parent of the child. Care provided to the child is incidental to (not the main focus of) the education offered.

  11. If they provide no more than two activities from the following list.  This only applies if they care for children who are aged three and over, and do not care for children aged under five for more than four hours in any one day.

    - school study support or homework support
    - sport
    - performing arts
    - arts and crafts
    - religious, cultural or language study
  12. If they provide care as part of their organisation’s activities in any of the following places:  

    - children’s home
    - care home
    - hospital in which a child is a patient
    - residential family centre
    - young offenders institution or secure training centre
    - residential holiday scheme for disabled children

  13. If they are a school or academy that provides education or care for children aged two and over, where at least one child being cared for is a pupil of the school.

  14. If (excluding childminders) they care for children under eight for four hours or less each day and the care is for the convenience of parents who plan to stay on the premises where they are providing care or within the immediate area. This type of provision has no long-term commitment to provide care for children – for example, a shoppers’ crèche, a crèche attached to a sports centre or adult learning centre, or an exhibition – and covers services where children do not necessarily attend every day.

  15. If they provide an open-access scheme for children who are not in the early years age group . However, if they also offer provision for children in the early years age group who attend for more than two hours in any one day, they must register on the Early Years Register and meet its requirements. Childminders are not allowed to provide an open access scheme for children under eight.

  16. If (excluding childminders) they care for children under eight from specific premises for 14 days or less in any year, and they let Ofsted know in writing at least 14 days before starting the service.

  17. If they care for children between 6pm and 2am in hotels, guest houses or similar places. The care is for children of no more than two different clients, staying at the same place at the same time (babysitting arrangements).

  18. If they wish to operate from an open space or other area with no building (for example as a forest school) they must still register with Ofsted unless they meet one or more of the exemption criteria outlined above in numbers 1–17.