Find a nursery or childcare

Information about finding nurseries and childcare in the borough

How to choose a childminder

Choosing a childminder

Choosing the best childcare for your child is one of the most important decisions you will make. Childminders must be registered by Ofsted if they look after children up to 8 years old, for more than 2 hours a day, in their home for payment or reward.

Reasons to use a childminder

The benefits of using a childminder include:

  • quality care in a home environment in smaller groups so your child gets more individual attention
  • flexible hours to suit the needs of you and your family
  • consistency and stability from birth to secondary school
  • your child learns through play, connecting all areas of Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
  • your child can enjoy real life experiences such as cooking, shopping, gardening and outings
  • some of our most experienced and highly trained childminders can offer free childcare to children aged 2, 3 and 4 years

Ofsted certificate and rating 

All childcare providers registered with Ofsted and must legally present their registration certificate. Providers must also supply parents with the most recent Ofsted inspection rating and report if requested. This information can also be found on the Ofsted website by going to 'find inspection report'. The highest and recommended ratings are 'Outstanding' and 'Good'.

Childminders are inspected by Ofsted to ensure:

  • they are meeting the requirements of the early years foundation stage
  • they and their homes are suitable and safe
  • they have completed all relevant training courses including first aid, food hygiene and child protection
  • the childminder and any person over 16 in their household have been checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service
  • all childminders have a support network available to them

Local childminders at work

Barking and Dagenham childminders provide a caring and fun environment for children to learn and develop in.

Childminder checklist

We recommend that you check details with providers to ensure that their service meets your requirements. Before your visit, spend some time thinking about what you are looking for in a childminder. Follow the checklist below.

  What parents and carers should look for What parents and carers should do
Childminder inspections All registered childminders must have their home and childcare practice inspected regularly by Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) to ensure the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage are being met. Inspections are graded as outstanding, good, satisfactory or inadequate.

Read the inspection report carefully and if you have any questions discuss them with the childminder.

Inspection reports can be viewed on the Ofsted website or you can ask to look at the childminder’s copy of the report.

Insurance All registered childminders must have an up to date public liability insurance certificate.  Ask to see the childminder’s public liability certificate and check that it is up to date.
First aid All registered childminders must have an up to date first aid certificate.  Ask to see the childminder’s first aid certificate and check that it is up to date. 
Training All registered childminders must have completed a childminding course before or within six months of registering with Ofsted.  Ask to see the childminder’s certificate to show that they have completed the course. 
Ofsted registration All registered childminders must have a current Ofsted registration certificate. This must be displayed for parents/carers to view.  Ask the childminder where their Ofsted registration certificate is displayed. 
Contract It is important to agree a written contract at the start of your childcare arrangement. This will set out clearly what you expect from the childminder, and what is expected from you. Make sure you agree issues such as payments, holidays and sick leave in a written contract. This will help prevent disagreements later on.