How Many Children Can a Childminder Look After?

June 13, 2016 8:10 am
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Are you thinking about becoming a childminder? Or are already a Childminder and just want to double-check what the laws and regulations that are in place here in England regarding how many children a childminder can look after?

Although there are ratios that apply across the board as to how many children of different ages a childminder can have in their care, there are also some exceptions (such as siblings) which we’ll look at below.


Basic Childminding Ratios

Registered childminders can look after up to six children up to the age of eight. Of these, a maximum of three can be under-fives, who are classed as ‘young children’* and a single childminder can only have one child under one year old. This ratio includes the childminder’s own children if they are under age eight.

If childcare is being provided for older children at the same time, this must not have an adverse effect on the care of children receiving early year’s provision.


Childminding Ratios Variations/Exceptions

  • Exceptions can be made when a childminder is looking after a sibling baby, or their own baby, if the childminder can show that the individual needs of all the children are being met. This would have to satisfy parents and inspectors.
  • If children aged four to five only attend the childminding setting during school holidays, or before and after school, they can be looked after at the same time as three other young children – as long as the total number of children under eight years old does not exceed six.
  • If a registered childminder partners with another registered childminder, or employs an assistant, each one of them can care for the number of children specified by the ratios above (subject to any restrictions imposed by Ofsted on registration).
  • Children may only be left in the sole care of an assistant for a maximum of 2 hours at most in any one day, and childminders must obtain parents/carers’ permission to leave children in the care of an assistant.
  • The ratios above also apply for childminders providing overnight care.

These are the childcare ratios for childminders set out in Ofsted’s new Statutory Framework for the EYFS which applies from September 2014 and is still current.

Proposals for new, increased ratios for childcare in the UK, put forward by early years minister Liz Truss in January 2013, have not been well received and it remains to be seen if any changes will be made.


Useful and Practical Information for Childminders

For information from the Department of Education on what a childminder needs for an Early Years Setting, you can order printed copies of our Essential Handbooks online, which include the EYFS Statutory Framework, Development Matters and A Know How Guide.

These three handbooks are continuously updated to coincide with the Early Years Foundation Stage and can be used by any Early Years practitioner working from EYFS Framework.

Childminding Accounts Book – Suitable for HMRC tax return

Resources Popular With Childminders:

Daily Childminder/Parents Communication Diaries:


*The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage states: ‘A child is a young child up until 1st September following his or her fifth birthday.’

*Content checked June 2016