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Registered Childminders in Dorset

What is a registered childminder and how can I find one in Dorset?


Childminders help your child have a great start in life by providing opportunities to learn new skills and understanding through play. They can often provide very flexible care, as they normally work with small groups of children in a home environment. They can also look after siblings of different ages. They usually offer full day care for children aged from birth to five years, and before or after school and holiday care for older children up to 14 years old.

A childminder is one person who can work with up to two other people at any time, looking after children on domestic premises for reward (money or any form of payment), where at least one individual child attends for a total of more than two hours a day (Ofsted Oct 2015). Childminders are registered with and regulated and inspected by Ofsted.

A childminder can care for up to six children under the age of eight years at any time. Three of these can be in the Early Years age range (birth to the 31 August after their fifth birthday) and of these, one can be under 12 months. In exceptional circumstances variations to this requirement can be made. This is explained further in GOV's early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework (opens in a new window) and the  parent's guide to the EYFS (opens in a new window). When working with an assistant or another childminder the numbers of children can increase but consideration must be given to the space available, as set out in EYFS.

Childcare on Domestic Premises

Sometimes childminders will work with other childminders or assistants and as long as only three of them work together at any time they continue to be classed as a childminding setting. However when four or more adults work together to provide childcare they become Childcare on Domestic Premises which is a different registration category and they must meet the specific legal requirements that relate to childcare rather than childminding. This includes such things as having suitably qualified staff and different adult to child ratios.

The EYFS statutory framework provides details of the registration requirements for all types of registered childcare provision.

Free early education

Childminders have the option to register to access 30 hours of free early education for 3 and 4 year olds (unless they are rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted). Some two year olds may also be eligible if your family meets the criteria, but if you wish to use a childminder for a funded 2 year old they need to be rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted. When using the Family information Directory (opens in a new window) to search for a childminder you can filter by OfSTED inspection outcome, and each childminder's record will state if they are registered to claim this funding on your family's behalf for either 2 or 3/4 year olds. If not you can ask them to consider registering.

Visit the Childcare Funding section for details, plus other sources of funding your family may be eligible for, such as working tax credits.

Searching for childcare

Use the Family Information Directory to search for a childminder. The directory contains records of all Dorset childcare settings, and each record links to the setting's Ofsted report.

Search For Childcare

Further information

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Interested in becoming a childminder?

Visit our page on registering as a childminder.

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