The Education Network for Waltham Forest
Supported by Waltham Forest

Registering with Ofsted

Education in Waltham Forest

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Which register do I need to join?
Types of childcare provider
Types of childcare provision
Ofsted inspections



Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They inspect and regulate services which care for children and young people, and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages.

Childcare that is provided at any time for children under eight years, on premises other than domestic premises, for more than a total of two hours a day, must be registered and inspected under the Children Act 1989. Providing childcare without being registered is an offence and could lead to prosecution and sizeable fines.

Ofsted regulate for the following reasons:

  • To protect and ensure the welfare of children                     
  • To ensure that children are safe, well cared for and take part in activities that contribute to their learning and development
  • To ensure that day care providers and childminders meet the National Standards
  • To promote high quality in the provision of care and learning
  • To provide re-assurance for parents regarding the quality of the service provided

There are two registers which childcare providers can apply to join. A childcare provider can apply to join one register or both registers at the same time (depending on the age ranges of the children they intend to care for).

  • the Early Years Register
  • the Childcare Register – this is divided into the Compulsory and Voluntary parts

Which register do I need to join?

1. The Childcare Register is for people for whom registration is either:    

- compulsory because they care for children aged from 1 September following their fifth birthday up to the age of eight and at least one individual child attends for a total of more than two hours in any one day

- voluntary because they care for children for whom compulsory registration is not required, for two or more hours in any one day; or for a period less than two hours where this includes care immediately before or after a school day. This includes:

  • home childcarers such as nannies (who care for the children of no more than two families at the home of one of the children) caring for children from birth until their eighteenth birthday
  • providers who care for children aged eight or over, until their eighteenth birthday
  • activity-based provision like sports coaching for children of all ages

2. The Early Years Register is for people for whom registration is compulsory because they care for children aged under 5 and the child/children attend for a total of more than two hours in any one day. All pre-schools and day nurseries must be registered on the Early Years Register.

Types of childcare provider

Ofsted register four types of early years and childcare:

  • Childcare on domestic premises: a group of four or more people working with children in someone’s home.
  • Childcare on non-domestic premises: a person or organisation providing care on premises that are not someone’s home, such as a purpose-built nursery, or a village hall.
  • Home childcarer: home childcarers care for children from birth up to the age of 18 at the home of one of the children. The children must be from no more than two families at any one time. Nannies and au pairs are the most common examples of home childcare.
  • Childminder: childminders on the Early Years Register provide care for one or more children aged between birth and five, to whom they are not related, for reward in someone’s home – usually their own; childminders on the Childcare Register provide care for one or more children aged between five and eight, or from eight to 18, in someone’s home – usually their own.

Types of childcare provision

There are various types of childcare, these include:

Full Daycare – ‘Facilities that provide daycare for children under 8 for a continuous period of four hours or more in any day in premises which are not domestic premises’.

Sessional – ‘Facilities where children under 8 years of age attend day care for no more than 5 sessions a week, each session being less than a continuous period of 4 hours in any day.  Where 2 sessions are offered in any one day, there is a break between sessions with no children in the care of the provider.  This is intended to cover provision which offers children part-time care and the opportunity to engage in activities with their peer group e.g. preschools/playgroups.’

Out of School – ‘Facilities that provide daycare for children under 18 years of age which operate during one or more of the following periods:

  • Before school
  • After school
  • During the school holidays

The total care provided is for more than 2 hours in any day and for more than 5 days a year.  A main purpose of the provision is to look after children in the absence of their parents.  This form of care can include children from 3 years old and children over 8 years may use it. e.g. summer camps, holiday play schemes, breakfast and after school clubs.’

Ofsted inspections

Important information published by Ofsted and relating to Ofsted Early Years inspections can be found in the 'Getting ready for Ofsted' section of The Hub.

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Last updated: 
Friday, 3 August, 2018
Last updated: 3 August 2018 by Admin Admin