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Childminders in Dorset

What is a childminder?


  • provide flexible care
  • work with small groups of children in a home environment (domestic premises)
  • can look after siblings of different ages

The childminder can work with up to 2 other people at any time. Childminders are registered with and regulated and inspected by Ofsted.

If 4 or more adults work together to provide childcare they become Childcare on Domestic Premises. This is a different registration category to a childminder. They must meet the legal requirements that relate to childcare rather than childminding.

Who do they care for?

Most childminders will offer:

  • full day care for children aged from birth to 5 years
  • before or after school and holiday care for older children up to 14 years

They can care for up to 6 children under the age of 8 years at any time. Of these, 3 can be in the early years age range* and of these, one can be under 12 months. Some exceptions can be made.

For more information see the  early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework or the  parent's guide to the EYFS.

When working with an assistant or another childminder the numbers of children can increase. Yet they must consider the space available as set out in the EYFS.

*Birth to the 31 August after their fifth birthday.

Free early education

You can use 30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 years old or 15 hours free childcare for 2 year olds, with childminders registered to the scheme. To register for:

  • 30 hours they must have either a good, outstanding or satisfactory Ofsted rating
  • 15 hours for 2 year olds they must have either a good or outstanding Ofsted rating

If they are not registered you can ask them to consider signing up to the scheme.

Find out more about childcare funding.

If you're related to your childminder

You can claim tax credits for childcare if your relative:

  • is a registered childminder
  • cares for your child away from your home

You will be unable to claim 15 or 30 hours funding for your 2, 3 or 4 year old.

Interested in becoming a childminder?

Visit GOV.UK to find out about registering as a childminder.

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