Childminder information

What is a childminder?

  • A childminder is registered with and inspected by OFSTED or a registered childminder agency
  • A childminder is registered to look after children on domestic premises for more than two hours each day
  • Childminders provide childcare in a home based environment for children within a variety of ages linking to the Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
  • Childminders are self employed childcare practitioners who work in their own home
  • All childminders must have an up to date DBS check and meet the needs of Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation stage. Ofsted website [external website] and hold a current paediatric first aid certificate
  • All childminders must have completed training which helps them understand and implement the EYFS before they can register with Ofsted or a childminder agency
  • Many childminders have other childcare qualifications. Childminders are all encouraged to access continuous professional development, some of which can be accessed through the local authority
  • Most childminders pick up and collect from local schools, playgroups and nurseries

How do I choose a good childminder?

You should feel happy and confident leaving your child. You know your child best – look for a childminder who you feel will be best suited to your child, yourself and your needs

The advantages of choosing a childminder:

  • Your child will be in a home environment
  • Childminders support families for years as they grow up, siblings are able to be cared for together
  • Can offer flexible hours and personalised childcare
  • Childminders can make use of local parks, toy libraries, drop in groups and children’s centres
  • Parents who work are able to claim tax relief towards their childcare as childminders are registered with OFSTED
  • Children have the chance to make good friends with the other children who go to their childminder and the family
  • As a parent you should ask to view the childminders latest inspection report

For more details of childminders in your area contact the Families Information Team or complete a childcare enquiry form [online form, opens in new window]

Becoming a childminder

  • A childminder is registered to look after children, to whom they are not related, on domestic premises for reward and for a total of more than two hours per day.
  • Childminders are registered and inspected by OFSTED or a childminder agency
  • All childminders must have an up to date DBS check, first aid certificate and meet the requirements of the early years and or childcare register
  • Childminders are self-employed and work in their own home on their own or jointly with another childminder
  • This type of care offers a personalised and flexible service for service for families and often pick up from local schools, playgroups and nurseries.

Before considering becoming a childminder you should first think about whether there is demand for this service in your area.

We carry out an annual childcare audit every year to identify what provision there is in the town for childcare and the results of the childcare audit continues to show the demands for the following areas are not being met:

  • after school care
  • holiday care for older children
  • childcare for disabled children

The audit also highlighted that demand is higher in certain areas to town (contact us to find out more).


If you want to become a childminder, you need to attend one of the Local Authority pre-registration briefings - this is a legal requirement. The briefing will provide you with information about:

  • the Ofsted registration process
  • what it is like to be a childminder
  • the support you can expect from us
  • the training you will need to undertake in order to be a registered childminder

Please contact the Childcare Development Officers on 01325 406011 or 01325 406208 for further details.

To become a childminder in Darlington you can access a council led training course that is delivered electronically with some face to face meetings in a flexible way. The full course cost is £150. Paediatric first aid is also required.

Alternatively you can access online training [external link] - charges for these services are variable and you should check with the provider.

Are you considering opening a new childcare setting in Darlington?

If so - we can offer guidance and training. Contact the Childcare Development Officers on 01325 406011 / 01325 406208.


Government grants are available to help people set up new childcare businesses, including childminders, nurseries and after-school clubs. You will have access to a free business mentor to help you through the start-up process and be directed to specialist advice.

To find out more visit the GOV.UK website [external link] or telephone 0844 2642546.

Further information