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Becoming a childminder

Route 1

Becoming an Ofsted registered Childminder

If you are thinking about becoming a childminder:

  1. complete your market research to ensure that there is a demand for childcare in your area
  2. follow the government's guidance on how to register as a childminder: quick guide and specific guidance for nannies, register as a nanny: quick guide
  3. ensure you have knowledge and understanding of the early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework - in Essex, we recommend that you complete the Cache level 3 award in Preparing to Work in Home-based Childcare before registration
  4. complete paediatric first aid training
  5. refer to Ofsted's pre-registration briefing and the childminders and childcare providers: register with Ofsted guidance

Once you have completed all of the above, you will be ready to start your online registration with Ofsted. Ofsted aims to complete the registration process within 12 weeks.


Route 2

Become a childminder with a registered Childminder Agency

Childminder agencies were introduced in 2016 by the Department for Education. They are private companies that register childminders as an alternative to registering with Ofsted. They choose their own business model and create a bespoke service for their childminders.

Differences between registering with Ofsted and a Childminder Agency

As a childminder, if you register with Ofsted directly, you will organise your own support, finances, record-keeping and all general administrative tasks involved in managing your own business. You will have to pay an annual fee and you will receive your first Ofsted inspection usually within 30 months, and then every 6 years afterwards as a maximum. There are no additional costs for registering with Ofsted.

If you register with an agency, you'll still be a self-employed childminder running your own business, but you will have additional support when it comes to regulation, safeguarding, finance, continuing professional development (CPD), marketing and finding new clients. Partnering with an agency typically involves paying a monthly fee or a percentage of your earnings in exchange for this support.

The diagram, differences between Ofsted and CMAs demonstrates some of the differences further. 


There are currently two Childminding Agencies working across Essex. 

Suffolk Childcare Agency


Services and fees differ between agencies, so you are encouraged to explore all options to ensure you find the right agency for your business.

Pacey offer further support becoming a childminder.

Alternatively, please watch the short video 'become a childminder'  for more information.

In addition to any registration fees charged by the Childminding Agency, you may also be required to undertake some mandatory training (if this is not delivered by your agency), for example paediatric first aid, food hygiene, and health declaration. This is in addition to any relevant safeguarding training.


Childminder start up grants 

The childminder start-up grant is now open. The scheme, which has been allocated £7.2 million over the next two financial years, will support new childminders by providing them with grant funding, helping childminders with the cost of setting up their own businesses.

Apply for a childminder start-up grant.

The childminder start-up grants will be available to all new childminders who have completed their registration on or after Wednesday 15 March 2023. Individuals who have previously been registered as childminders and wish to re-register into the sector may also apply for the scheme. There must be at least a 12-month gap between the date of their previous registration being cancelled and their new registration being finalised.

As previously announced, the Department for Education (DfE) will offer £600 to new childminders registering with Ofsted, and £1,200 to new childminders registering with a childminder agency. The £1,200 grants will be paid in two instalments, with a 6-month limit on claiming the second instalment. Childminders must apply for the grant within two months of registering as a childminder, or within two months of the scheme launching.


After you have registered

Once you've registered:

  • view the safeguarding training and development page for information on the training requirements that apply to all Essex early years settings
  • log in to the Essex provider portal so that your setting / provision will appear when parents are searching for childcare services through the Essex Family Information Service

Financing your business

Visit our funding section to see what financial benefits are available to you as you build your business.


HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has a range of digital support for childminders, this includes:

You can ask questions at any time on the HMRC's online customer forum.


Need more help?

If you have any further enquiries about becoming a childminder, please email