They inspect services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. They also inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people.
Ofsted handbooks and guidance
- Early years inspection handbook
- School inspection handbook
- Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings
- Early years: Ofsted compliance handbook – for those registered on the Early Years and/or the Childcare Register.
- Ofsted EIF inspections and the EYFS
- Inspecting schools: guidance for parents
- Inspecting registered childcare providers: information for parents
- Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks: childcare providers
Information about registering childcare with Ofsted
The law defines childcare as any form of care for a child, including education or any other supervised activity. There are some exclusions from this definition, such as care provided by relatives, and education provided by a school for children from the September following their fifth birthday.
Ofsted registers childcare on two registers: the Early Years Register and the Childcare Register. You can read more about the registers on the Ofsted website. People can apply to join one register or both registers at the same time.
Ofsted's Guide to registration on the Early Years Register includes information for all applicants who wish to register as a childminder or a childcare provider on domestic or non-domestic premises. It provides an overview of how to make an application; the registration process; inspection and other visits Ofsted may undertake.
Find out which to join and how to change registers.
Early Years Register
- Childcare Register requirements for childcare providers on domestic or non-domestic settings
- Guide to registration on the Childcare Register
- Conducting Childcare Register inspections
- Framework for the regulation of provision on the Childcare Register
- Registration not required
- Applying to waive disqualification: early years and childcare providers - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Suspension of a childcare provider's registration. Guidance for providers, parents and carers on the suspension of a childcare provider’s registration.
How to appeal: guidance for childcare providers. How a prospective or registered childcare provider can appeal if Ofsted plans to take steps that will affect their registration.
Use this form if you need to report a serious childcare incident - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Use this form to contact Ofsted with your questions and comments. Early years applicants/providers should not use this form to resign or make changes to your application or registration. Email email@example.com from the email address that you used for your application/registration.
Always quote your Ofsted Unique Reference Number (URN), as shown on your registration certificate. This may begin with ‘EY’ and is usually a six-figure number.
Always keep evidence of your contact with Ofsted, for example:
- When telephoning, always ask for the name of the Ofsted Helpline operator you speak to. Keep a record of the name, as well as the date, time and details of the call.
- When emailing, keep your ‘sent email’
- If writing or sending forms, keep a copy of your documents. Our advice is to always send correspondence by the Royal Mail ‘Recorded Signed For’ service.
These measures provide evidence for inspections and enable you to track that correspondence has been received.
You must always notify Ofsted as soon as possible in case of:
- Any proposal of to employ an assistant to look after children
- Any change of persons of 16 years or over living or working on childminding premises
- Any proposal to change the hours during which childcare is provided which will entail the provision of overnight care
- Any change to the premises from which childcare is provided which may affect the space available to children and the quality of childcare available to them
- Any change in my name or address
- Any change in the address of premises on which I am providing
- Any criminal offence committed by me after the time of registration.
- If complaints are made against me (allegations of abuse)
- Serious accident, illness, injury or death while in my care
- Food poisoning