Open a new childcare setting

Information and advice on starting a childcare setting

Starting up

Childcare is like any other business. Without proper planning it is likely to fail. The first step in opening a childcare business is to start with a business plan.

A good business plan will help you to:

  • find the right location for your business
  • identify problems and how to deal with them
  • understand what you need to do to be successful.

You can contact the sustainability officer for business plan templates.

A good understanding of what childcare is needed in a particular area will help you decide where to open your setting. You can find the details of childcare in each ward within the borough.

It is a good idea to ask people in your chosen area if they need a new childcare setting. The government has more details on market research.

Further information on setting up a day nursery is provided by Morton Michel Ltd.


The Childcare Act 2006 clarifies the regulation and inspection of childcare settings. It introduced the Early Years and Foundation Stage and a set of registers maintained by Ofsted.

Before you open new childcare provision you need to understand how Ofsted registers work and which register(s) your setting needs to be on.

Early Years Register

All childcare settings providing care for children from birth to the 31 August following their fifth birthday must register with Ofsted on the Early Years Register and deliver the Early Years and Foundation Stage.

Childcare Register (compulsory)

Providers must register on the Childcare Register if they care for one child or more from 1 September following their fifth birthday until they reach their eighth birthday.

Childcare Register (voluntary)

Some providers may wish to register with Ofsted even if they do not need to. These include:

  • home childcarers
  • providers who care for children aged eight or over
  • activity-based provision like sports coaching

Ofsted also provide details where registration is not required.


With the exception of childminders, most new childcare settings will be registered by Ofsted as childcare on non domestic premises. Non domestic premises is a property that is not used as a home or a place where people live.

Finding premises

We do not have a list of available properties that can be used for childcare. You will need to find a suitable place yourself.

When looking for a property you need to think about:

  • the statutory requirements for the early years foundation stage (EYFS)
  • is there a need for childcare in the area
  • if you need planning permission

Statutory framework for the EYFS (PDF, 236.26 KB)

The Childcare Sufficiency Audit gives more information about childcare needs in the borough.

Planning Permission

Properties have a use class assigned by the government. A property to be used for childcare (except childminders) needs to be D1 class. If your property does not have this then you will need planning permission for change of use.

You may also need to get planning permission for some changes to buildings to make sure you meet the statutory requirements mentioned above.