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Will my child be safe?

The key concern for most parents' when choosing childcare is whether their child will be safe, happy and well cared for. There are a range of safeguards in place to ensure that your child will be well looked after by people who are required to go through a range of checks.

Ofsted

Who are Ofsted?

In September 2001, Ofsted became the single regulatory body responsible for registering and inspecting all existing and future childcare providers.  They do this to help reassure you that when your children are in registered childcare they are cared for by people who are suitable.

Who are registered by Ofsted?

People who want to provide childcare for children under eight, for more than two hours in any one-day, for more than five days a year must register with Ofsted before they can become childcare providers.

However if the parents are going to remain on the premises where the childcare is taking place this number is increased to four hours.

How can I view Ofsted reports?

Your childcare provider can show you a copy of their report along with their registration certificate; alternatively they can be viewed on the Ofsted website.

To view childcare providers reports online, you will need either their name or their unique reference number (URN), you can get this from the provider themselves and then go direct to Ofsted to look at the inspection reports online.

The Early Years Register (EYR) and the Ofsted Childcare Register (OCR) 

Ofsted hold two different registers for childcare providers: the Early Years Register (EYR) and the Childcare Register (OCR). The Childcare Register is in two parts - a compulsory part and a voluntary part.  Each register and type of childcare has different requirements that registered childcarers must meet.  People can apply to join one register or both registers at the same time.

Most childcare providers caring for children aged under eight must register with Ofsted unless the law says they are not required to do so. 

What is the Early Years Register?

The Early Years Register is for all providers such as childminders, day nurseries, pre-schools and private nursery schools that work with children aged from birth to five (known as the early years age group).  These providers must register with Ofsted on the Early Years Register and deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage which brings together standards of care and learning.

Will schools have to register on the Early Years Register?

No, schools are exempt from registration but they will still need to deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage for children until the end of their Reception Years. But if schools can offer care to children under the age of three then they will need to register on the Early Years Register.

What is the Childcare Register?

The Childcare Register has two parts: a compulsory part and a voluntary part.

Registration on the Childcare Register relies on the applicant making a declaration to confirm that they will meet the requirements of registration.

Ofsted carries out a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check on the applicant but does not normally carry out any other checks.

Compulsory part

A childcare provider  must register on the compulsory part of the Childcare Register if they care for children from the 1 September following their fifth birthday up to the age of eight, unless they are not required to register. This is usually six and seven year olds, but could include some five year olds. 

Voluntary part

Other providers who are not required to register on the compulsory part of the OCR will be able to join the voluntary part of the OCR if they meet the requirements. This includes:

  • home-based care in the home of the child (nannies)
  • activity-based settings such as sports coaching or tuition
  • short-term care such as crèches
  • care that is only for children aged eight to their 18th birthday

Registration on the voluntary part of the Childcare Register can assure parents that essential standards have been met and parents will have greater reassurance about the welfare of their children.

It will allow the childcare to become qualifying childcare for the purpose of working tax credits and employer childcare vouchers. This means that eligible parents can access financial support from the Government for the cost of their childcare.

Childcare provided by schools

Childcare for children aged three and over will not be separately registered by Ofsted if the care is provided by a school's governing body and providing at least one pupil of the school attends. The governing body will be expected to meet the requirements of registration, and the care it offers will be included within the school's regular Ofsted inspections. Eligible families using the childcare can still claim Working Tax Credit or join employer-supported schemes. Schools using external organisations to deliver childcare are encouraged to choose a registered provider.

How do I know if my Childcare provider is registered?

Providers must display their certificate of registration during their hours of operation, so that you can see it easily. Home childcarers should show their certificate if you ask to see it. Each certificate gives information about the childcare provided and any conditions of registration that apply.

What do I do if things go wrong?

It is important for you to develop a good relationship with your childcare provider to help your child's wellbeing, development and progress. You can deal with most concerns by talking to your childcare provider.

If the issues cannot be resolved from discussions with your childcare provider or you have any concerns about your childcare provider that you cannot discuss with them, it may be necessary to contact OFSTED on 0300 123 4666, or by email at enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk.

More information regarding Ofsted or the Early Years and Childcare Registers can be found on the Ofsted website. 

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks (previously CRB checks)

What is the Disclosure and Barring Service?

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.

What is a DBS check?

A DBS check is a process for gathering information about someone's criminal convictions and other cautions, reprimands and final warnings given by the
Police.

Who needs a DBS check?

Anyone who will have unsupervised access to children in their care. The DBS's aim is to help organisations identify candidates who may be unsuitable to work with children or other vulnerable members of society.

For more information

Contact the disclosure customer services department if you have any questions. If you send an email, include your full name, address, telephone number and any DBS reference numbers.

Email: customerservices@dbs.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 0870 909 0811