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Registered and unregistered childcare

Registered childcare providers

This means childcare providers who are registered, usually with Ofstedto look after children under the age of 8.

A childcarer or childminder must be registered with Ofsted or a childminder agency if they want to be paid to look after children under 8 for more than 2 hours a day in England. It's not compulsory for a childminder to be registered if they are only looking after children over the age of 8 however, they can join the voluntary part of the Childcare Register.

By using a registered childcare provider you may be able to get help with your childcare costs through tax credits and Tax-Free Childcare.

These are some of the registered childcare providers:

Using a registered childcare provider

A registered childcare provider must undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to ensure they have no previous criminal convictions that prohibit them from working with children and vulnerable people. They are regularly inspected to ensure they are providing a safe and adequate service.

To become registered a childminder can apply to register on:

  • the Early Years Register to look after children aged 5 and under
  • the Childcare Register to look after children aged 5 to 7
  • both registers to look after children of any age under 8

Find out how to register as a childcare provider.


Certain providers don’t have to register with Ofsted, these include those who provide activity-based care such as sports clubs and Nannies who provide care in the child’s own home. 

Find information about childcare that doesn't need to be registered.

Unregistered childcare providers

This is a person or organisation that's not registered with Ofsted but provides some sort of childcare, usually to those aged 8 and over or from the child's own home.

Unregistered childcare providers

These are some of the childcare providers that don't require registration:

  • babysitters, when the care is between 6pm and 2am in the home
  • nannies and au pairs, caring for a child or children in the child's own home
  • home educators and home tutors
  • blood relatives caring for a child or children they are related to
  • recreational and sporting activity providers
  • some under 8's crèches, of four hours or less with a parent present
  • providing childcare for less than 2 hours per day
  • providing childcare for a friend for up to 3 hours a day for reward

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