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A childminder is a self-employed person who looks after a small group of children in their own home.

Childminders must be inspected and registered by Ofsted for any number of children up to 8 years old. All adults (people aged 16 years or more) living and working in their homes will be police checked.

Childminders are not required to be registered to Childmindercare for children older than 8 years but can become part of Ofsted's Childcare Register (OCR) voluntarily. The OCR helps parents to claim help with their childcare costs through the childcare element of working tax credit if they qualify for it.


Childminders are self-employed and set their own fees and charges. All 3 and 4 year-olds, and some 2 year-olds, in Medway are entitled to 15 hours of free nursery education for 38 weeks of the year. Some childminders are able to offer free nursery education.

From September 2017 some 3 and 4 year olds may be entitled to 30 hours of free early education funding. 


Childminders decide on their own working hours. Most are willing to work early mornings, evenings and weekends, as well as part-time. Some childminders are registered for overnight care.

All registered childminders are required to undertake a basic training course, including first aid, and most go on to do further training and professional development.

Age range and number of children

Registered childminders are allowed to care for up to 6 children less than 8 years old, including their own. Only 3 of them can be less than 5 years old. Only 1 may be younger than 1 year old, unless the childminder has made a special application to Ofsted to be registered to care for twins.

For more information

For help in choosing a childminder, take along our 'childminder helpsheet/questions' (pdf 108KB) when visiting carers. 

Visit the Family Information Service Directory for lists of childcare providers.