Reading Family Information Service

Childminders provide childcare in their own homes, and are OFSTED Registered, to find out more, please see below.


Next review date June 2024

What is a Childminder?

Childminders are anyone who provides care for children under eight years of age, for more than two hours each day, on domestic premises, for some kind of reward. They are inspected at least once every three years, and they are given one of four grades: Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate. All Ofsted registered childminders follow the Early Year Foundation Stage Framework just like day care settings and pre-schools.

The Family Information Service are the only organisation that receives information directly from Ofsted about Childcare providers in Reading. Please check with your childcare provider that they are on the relevant Ofsted registers. 

How do I find a childminder?

Call the Family Information Service on Tel: 0118 9373777 (Option 2) for a full list of registered childminders in your area or Childminder Search to search our online database. 

From April 2003, Childminders have the option to become "Home Childcarers" - a scheme that enables them to look after children in the parent or carer's own home. For more information on this scheme please telephone Ofsted 0300 123 1231. 

Childminders can often be flexible about the hours they work and they provide children with lots of fun, care and learning. Most childminders will offer a pick up/ drop off service from local schools, nurseries and pre-schools. 

Childminders can make the most of local parks, playgrounds, toddler groups, children centres, leisure centres and activities. Often children have the chance to make friends with other children who go to their childminder. 

Every childminder is different, so look for someone who will suit your family. 

Childminder Registration with OFSTED

Ofsted has to keep a register of all childminders and arrange an inspection at least once every three years. Ofsted visits each childminder's home to make sure it is a safe and suitable place for young children. 

Checks are also made on the health and experience of the childminder as well as DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) on them and anyone else over the age of 16 in the household. All people wishing to become childminders are expected to attend information and training sessions, which include pre-registration and first aid courses and all have to follow the EYFS. They will also have to have insurance

Choosing a Childminder

You should try to plan in advance and give yourself plenty of time. Childminders know that parents will want to visit a number of places before making a decision. Please see attached Choosing a Childminder leaflet.

What about Payments and Contracts ?

PACEY strongly recommend that you have a written agreement or contract even for a short-term arrangement. Once you and the childminder have signed a contract it is a legally binding document. It is recommended that you and your childminder review your contract every 6 or 12 months. This gives you a chance to talk about your child's needs and how things are going. 

Money is always a delicate subject but needs to be sorted out before the childminding arrangement starts. Ask about any extras that might be charged for such as food, nappies and outings. Agree on hourly and weekly fees but also make sure you talk about holidays, sickness or overtime payments. Also find out what happens if you are late in picking up your child, whether they charge a retainer fee, what notice period you both need to give to make any changes to the contract and if the childminder has back up cover for times when she is sick or on holiday. Remember a childminder's fees have to cover many things such as food, toys, equipment, safety equipment, insurance and of course, their time. 

What are the benefits of using a Childminder?
  • Your child will be in a home environment.
  • Flexible hours to suit your working hours. 
  • Consistent care - childminders often look after children from being a baby to starting secondary school, so the child benefits from the stability that other forms of childcare don't provide. 
  • Adaptable - because childminders do not follow a strict timetable they can be spontaneous about what they do and where they go. 
  • Part of the community - as childminders live locally your child can go to nearby toddler groups, playgroups and after school clubs with their friends.
  • Childminders can provide 3 & 4 Year Funded places - 3 & 4 Year Old Free Early Years Funding

Childminders who have a Outstanding or Good Ofsted rating can offer 2 year funded places, to find out more 2 Year Old Education & Childcare Funding

How do I know my child will be safe and secure?

First of all you know your child best and where they will be happy - so take time to look for a childminder you feel will be suitable for your child. 

Childminders must be registered before they begin to work with children. This means checks are carried out to make sure they are suitable to look after children. People over the age of 16 living in the childminder's house are also checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to make sure they have not carried out any offence against a child. A check on the childminder's home is carried out to make sure it is safe and suitable for children. 

After a childminder is registered, inspections are carried out to make sure that the childminder is continuing to provide a safe and suitable service. By law, childminders must be insured in case a child they are looking after has an accident or damages someone else's property. They must have first aid training which covers giving first aid to babies and children. 

You can ask to see a childminder's registration certificate and latest inspection report. It is illegal for an unregistered person to look after children for reward. 

How many children will there be with a childminder?

Childminders can care for up to six children under the age of eight of whom no more than three can be aged under five. 

Ofsted decides on the number of children a childminder is registered for and will take the childminder's own children into account and size of property when settling this number. 

Childminders were limited to caring for one baby under 12 months. From September 2003 a special arrangement can be made with Ofsted, which enables childminders to care for more than one child under one if they can demonstrate that they can meet the varying needs of all children in their care. 

Childminders can work with an assistant to enable them to care for larger groups of children. 

What age range are the children with a childminder?

Children can go to a childminder from a few months old until they reach secondary school although they are only registered to look after children aged under eight. 

When are childminders open?

Childminders are self-employed and so they decide on their working hours. Most childminders can provide care between 8am and 6pm with many offering more flexible hours to include early mornings, evenings and weekends. You will need to negotiate hours, terms and conditions with the childminder. 

What about part-time childcare?

Many childminders provide part-time care for children. They often drop off or collect children from schools, nurseries or playgroups. 

How much does a childminder cost?

Childminders set their own charges but must take care of their own tax and National Insurance. There is no national rate. Costs may vary depending on what area you live in and what services they offer. Childminding is a responsible and demanding job and childminders have lots of overheads to meet such as insurance, safety equipment, toys, food, toiletries, heating, lighting and training costs. 

You may be able to get help with childcare costs through Working Tax Credit / Universal Credit. Visit Childcare Costs

There are some childminder's who also offer 2, 3 & 4 (including 30 hours) Early Years Funded Places, to find out more visit 2 Year Old Education & Childcare Funding & 3 & 4 Year Old Free Early Years Funding (including 30 Hours Childcare)

NOTE: For 2 year funded places the setting has to have a 'good' or 'outstanding' OFSTED rating.

Childminders on non-domestic premises

From January 2016, childminders can provide childcare on non-domestic premises (e.g. at an after school club) for up to 50% of their time. This will give childminders the flexibility to provide childcare from different settings - if they wish to do so - by expanding the range of premises from which they can operate without registering separately as a childcare provider.

Related Advice

Childcare Providers Day Nurseries Out Of School Care Childcare - Frequently Asked Questions Pre-Schools Childcare Costs Childcare Contracts and Complaints

Page last reviewed: 09/11/2023

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