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Guidance for childcare providers

Various guidance for childcare providers.

Childcare register requirements for childminders and home childcarers Toggle accordion

Training needs analysis (TNA) form Toggle accordion

Food allergens regulations Toggle accordion

14 allergens to avoid

There are 14 allergens in the European list. These represent the most common and potent allergens across the EU and these foods are responsible for the majority of the allergic reactions occurring within the food allergic population:

  • celery
  • cereals containing gluten (you need to specify if there is wheat (such as spelt and khorasan), rye, barley, oats and their hybridised strains)
  • crustaceans (for example crab, lobster, crayfish, shrimp, prawn)
  • eggs
  • fish
  • lupin
  • milk
  • molluscs (for example mussels, oysters, squid)
  • mustard
  • tree nuts (you need to specify if there is almond, hazelnut, walnut, cashew, pecan nut, Brazil nut, pistachio nut and macadamia nut (also known as Queensland nut)
  • peanuts
  • sesame seeds
  • soya
  • sulphur dioxide and sulphites (at concentration of more than ten parts per million)

What this means for a setting

The regulatory requirements of your home nation will state that settings must obtain information about any allergies or intolerances that a child may have and provide information to parents on the food and drinks they provide.

Settings are required to know what to do in the case of an allergic reaction/emergency.

Early years and childcare providers are required to provide allergen information about the food they provide. They can do these quite simply by providing this information on their current weekly menus.

Settings are not being asked to list all the ingredients in the food that they produce, they are being asked to document the allergens contained.

A lasagne, for example the ingredients used are:

  • minced beef
  • tomato puree
  • tinned tomatoes
  • garlic
  • mixed herbs
  • lasagne sheets - allergen as contains durum wheat and egg
  • cheese - allergen as contains milk
  • milk - allergen
  • flour - allergen as contains lupin, gluten

On the menu next to lasagne, settings will need to list cereals (containing gluten), eggs, milk and lupin as the allergens contained. Menus must be reviewed regularly and any changes or additions made, for example substituting an ingredient or deciding to create a dressing for a salad displayed.

The legislation requires that menus are accurate, consistent and that information is verifiable upon challenge.

Risk assess when you may be eating food away from the setting either provided by another practitioner or when eating in restaurants or cafes. All food businesses will have to comply with the regulation. 

This guidance is based on information from the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY). More detailed allergens guidance is available from the Food Standards Agency.


Medicines Toggle accordion

Guidance on supporting the individual needs of a child when administering medicines.

Medicines sample policy (DOC, 870.00 KB)

Parental consent form (DOC, 51.50 KB)

Diabetes Toggle accordion

Diabetes guidance (PDF, 585.00 KB)

Prevent duty Toggle accordion

A duty to prevent radicalisation and / or extremism.

Prevent guidance

British values Toggle accordion

Information that may be of interest around fundamental British values.

British values (PDF, 356.16 KB)

Top important policies and procedures Toggle accordion

Some examples of childminders polices and procedures. This list is not exhaustive and every childminder should include what they feel is relevant to their business:

  • child protection – safeguarding children (including self awareness)
  • complaints and compliments
  • camera/mobile phone/video policy
  • behaviour management
  • settling in policy
  • confidentiality
  • collection of a child
  • equal opportunities
  • accident and emergencies
  • health and safety (fire evacuation, first aid procedures, equipment, risk assessments, childminder’s health/medication)
  • bullying
  • lost/missing
  • visits/outings
  • sick child
  • parental involvement, working in partnership.
  • food/nutrition
  • inclusion
  • intimate care policy
  • risk assessment policy
  • learning and development

Complaints Toggle accordion

If you have a complaint made against you, make sure you inform your Early Years Development Officer and return your completed form to them.

Complaints form (DOCX, 41.14 KB)

Sample complaints policy (DOC, 870.50 KB)

Photo and video guidance Toggle accordion

Use this policy information below to help support you in creating a policy for using a mobile phone/ camera to take pictures or a phone/camera/camcorder to take videos.

It is a specific legal requirement that providers have a policy and procedure that covers the use of mobile phones and cameras in the setting (P13, Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage 2012). If you are going to be taking photographs/videos of children that you are minding it is advisable to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Mobile phones:

  • consider the benefit to you, the children and the parents of having a well thought-out procedure regarding the use of a mobile phone (with or without camera facility) for use within and outside of your setting.
  • explain the benefits of having access to a mobile phone. For example, being able to contact the parents in the event of illness or an emergency and that parents are able to contact you.
  • describe the steps you would take to keep the phone usable. For example, always having the battery charged and have credit (if appropriate).
  • describe the type of information that will be stored on your mobile phone. For example, emergency contact numbers. Are parents aware of this? Do you have permission to store these details on your phone?
  • consider - do you take photographs on your mobile phone? This is not considered to be appropriate however; if you do take photographs, what do you do next?
  • any photographs must be sent to the parents/carers as soon as possible and then deleted immediately or transferred to a password protected folder on your personal computer.
  • describe how you will ensure other visitors to your home do not use their mobile phones inappropriately.
  • do any of your older children have their own mobile phone? Do they bring it to your setting after school or in the holiday? How will you ensure they use their phone appropriately? For example not taking photographs of other minded children.
  • consider what you will do if your phone is lost or stolen. If your phone has a password facility, consider setting this up.


  • consider the benefit to you, the children and parents of having a well thought out policy and procedure regarding the use of a camera within or outside the setting.
  • explain the benefits of being able to take photographs of the children. For example, for the parents to see and for observations. Do you have written permission to take photographs? Check whether you need to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office - the UK independent body, to protect personal information under the Data Protection Act 1988.
  • describe when you will use your camera.
  • detail what you will do with any photographs taken. Then what? Detail what you will do afterwards. For example, is it necessary to keep all photographs once they have been seen by parents or used for observations? Will they be deleted? Photographs should only be kept if they are useful.
  • if not, where will they be stored? It would be good practice to have a password protected folder just for childminding photographs. The password should be known only to you.
  • state that no photographs of minded children will be put on social networking sites.
  • have all parents signed the photo/video consent form?
  • all policies and procedures need a date and signature and should be reviewed at least annually or sooner if there have been any changes to legislation or to the provision and/or processes.

Safeguarding Toggle accordion

It is good practice to have in place a safeguarding policy. Find out more in our safeguarding guide.

Safeguarding at risk children

Ofsted's role in regulating childcare: poster for parents Toggle accordion

Childcare services must display this poster. It has information about Ofsted's responsibilities and contact details.

Ofsted poster for parents (PDF, 1.01 MB)

Education, health and care plan guidance and forms Toggle accordion

Documents, forms and guidance for completing education health and care needs assessments and plans.

EHC - overview (DOC, 43.00 KB)

EHC - guidance and pathways (DOC, 1.78 MB)

Guidance for annual review (DOC, 1.62 MB)

EHC - views (DOC, 1.63 MB)

Request for EHC needs assessment including SEND timetable (DOC, 1.60 MB)

Parental request for EHC assessment (DOC, 1.58 MB)

EHC - plan (DOC, 135.00 KB)

Education advice template (DOC, 1.54 MB)

EY education advice template (DOC, 1.55 MB)

Parent friendly guide to EHC (DOC, 381.00 KB)