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Working in childcare

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working in childcare

Working in childcare can be a hugely rewarding career. Whether you are thinking about what to do after leaving school, are already working with children or looking for a change of career you can now gain a recognised qualification in a way that suits you. There are many full and part-time careers available to suit your own lifestyle and family arrangements.

If you want to build a career working in childcare and are interested in working in early years childcare, education, playwork or becoming a childminder contact Sandwell Early Years and Childcare Team for more advice and information.

Contact Sandwell Early Years


telephone: 0121 569 4960

Different types of childcare

Different types of Ofsted Registered childcare in Sandwell


Registered childminders look after children under 12 years (sometimes older) in the childminder's own home. They can offer full time, part time, before and after school pick ups and school holiday care. 

Childminders are able to offer parents of disabled children many benefits including flexibility and a highly individualised service.Children are able to mix with other children in a family home environment.

Day Nursery

Day Nurseries look after children up to the age of 5 years. They provide daycare and education for children in age related groups. Day nurseries deliver the Free Early Learning for 2, 3 and 4 year olds. 

Day nurseries can offer before and after school pick ups and holiday care.

Nursery School

Nursery Schools provide Free Early Learning and care for 3 and 4 year olds (Nursery Education).  They are normally based at infant and primary schools.

Pre-School playgroup

Pre-school playgroups provide part time play and some of them offer Free Early Learning for 2, 3 and 4 year olds.  Most sessions are 3 hours either in a morning or afternoon.

Out of School Care

Out of school care is care outside normal school hours these include breakfast clubs, after-school clubs and school holiday playschemes/clubs.


Playworkers support children and young people to create their own spaces and opportunities for play.

Early Years Teacher

Early years teachers are specialists in early childhood development and work with children up to the age of 5.

Early Years qualifications finder can help you find out the qualification requirements for different childcare roles.

Types of Childcare

PACEY has information on different childcare options for parents, including group based childcare and one to one care.

Childcare Chooser Chart

A comprehensive overview of childcare options for under 8's

Becoming a nanny

A nanny is a professional childcarer who works in your home, caring for your child or children.


If you are unable to find a job where you can work and train at the same time, you might like to contact local childcare providers to see if they have any volunteering opportunities to help you get started.

Find childcare providers in Sandwell

Starting a new childcare business

There are many different childcare businesses including day nurseries, pre-school playgroups and wraparound out of school provision.

You may wish to start your own business but don't know where to begin.

Contact Sandwell Early Years for business and Ofsted registration support


telephone: 0121 569 4960

Business Planning

Good business planning is essential for all childcare settings, whether you are a day nursery with staff or an individual childminder working from home. Set goals and develop strategies to achieve your business objectives for sustainability, profitability and growth.

Contact Sandwell Early Years for business planning support

Sandwell Childcare Sufficiency Report 2021-22

Detailed analysis of the childcare market in Sandwell. Research the area before setting up a new childcare business.

Think Sandwell

Think Sandwell provides business services to help companies thrive. They provide support that’s tailored to suit individual needs.

Early Years Business Zone

Interactive tools to help early years settings achieve long-tern sustainability, including business appraisal tool, financial management and staff cost calculator

Early Years business sustainability

GOV.UK advice, examples and resources to help early years providers run a sustainable childcare business. 

Ofsted Registration

Find out what you must do to register as a childcare provider with Ofsted, as well as how you must run certain parts of your service.

Sandwell Family Information Service

Details of all Ofsted registered childcare in Sandwell on the Family Services Directory

The Professional Association of Childcare and Early Years (PACEY)

PACEY is the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years supporting everyone working in childcare and early years to provide high quality care and early learning for children and families. They provide training, practical help and expert advice to practitioners working throughout England and Wales.


Staff qualifications 

All early years providers working with children from birth to 5 years old must follow the regulations on early years foundation stage (EYFS) staff:child ratios. This is the number of qualified staff, at different qualification levels, an early years setting needs to have in order to meet the needs of all children and ensure their safety.

These regulations are set out in the statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (EYFS)

Providers must make sure staff have the appropriate qualifications to count in the ratios, including the need to have at least one staff member trained in paediatric first aid

The Department for Education (DfE) defines the qualifications that staff must hold to count in EYFS staff:child ratios

Early Years Practitioner Level 2 

Early Years Educator Level 3

Staff Ratios

EYFS Section 3.28  outlines staff:child ratios requirements for all childcare providers

Occupancy and staff ratios at early years providers

Research into occupancy, spare capacity and staff ratios for early years providers

EYFS Staff:Child Ratios

Lists of qualifications that meet DfE's criteria for counting in the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework staff:child ratios

Early Years Qualifications and Ratios

The staff:child ratios regulations that providers working with children at early years foundation stage (EYFS) must follow.

Pathway into early years education

Career planning information and tools for those interested in working in the early years education sector.

Becoming a childminder

A person who works at home looking after children aged under 8 years for more than 2 hours a day and for payment or reward must register as a childminder with the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) or an Ofsted registered Childminder Agency (CMA).

Childminders and providers of childcare on domestic premises can choose to register with either a CMA or Ofsted.

It does not count as childminding if it is in the home of one of the children being cared for, unless the care is for more than 2 different families at the same time.

Find out more

Registering as a childminder in Sandwell

Your first step to becoming a childminder in Sandwell is to attend a briefing session.

This session will tell you about

Registering with Ofsted

Legal requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework

Being self-employed

Training required

Childminder Briefing Sessions in Sandwell

Registration Requirements

There are a number of things you must do before you register with Ofsted.

Once you have completed these you can register on the GOV.UK website.


Childminder Agency

Childminders can register with either Ofsted or a Childminding Agency (CMA).

CMAs are private companies that register childminders as an alternative to registering with Ofsted. They choose their own business model and create a bespoke service for their childminders. They can also register providers of childcare on domestic premises – 4 or more childminders working together.

A childminder agency has a legal obligation to ensure a childminder is suitable to care for children and can deliver Early Years Foundation Stage.

The agency has to support development and training of the childminder. They must also monitor the standard of care being provided by the childminder.

There are no childminder agencies in Sandwell.

Find out more

The ‘List of childminder agencies’ provides contact information for childminder agencies (CMAs) that are open for applications.

List of childminder agencies

Ofsted’s CMA inspection report page lists all registered CMAs including those who are not registering new childminders.

Ofsted CMA inspection reports

Childminder Agencies 

Managing your childcare business

Find out more about managing your new childcare business including marketing, paperwork and buying and choosing equipment.

Training and Development

Childcare training and development courses in Sandwell

Information for registered childcare providers

Information on 2, 3 and 4 year old funding for Ofsted registered providers


You will need equipment in the following categories:

Safety baby monitors, smoke alarms, first aid kit, fireguards, fire blanket

Feeding highchair, seating, child-friendly cutlery

Sleeping cot, separate bedding for each child

Bathroom potty,toilet seat, booster step, changing equipment

Travelling buggy, car seat, wrist straps or reins

Toys and Play

You will be expected to have a variety of toy and play equipment to meet the developmental needs of the children in your care. You should think about toys in the following categories:

Social development  cooking, role play, dolls, garages, cars, animals, bricks etc

Physical development outdoor play equipment, balls, hoops, trikes, threading beads

Intellectual development shape sorters, jigsaws, counting games, number puzzles, water play

Communication development nursery rhymes and songs, reading books, writing equipment

Creative development mark making tools, paint, pencils, crayons, junk modelling

All equipment and toys should refelect equality of opportunity and accessibility so that children can play regardless of their age, ability, gender, cultural and social background.

Children should not be not restricted to gender stereotypical toys. 

Children with disabilities must have the additional equipment they need and make sure activities are accessible to them.

There should be a range of toys, games, books, dressing-up clothes etc. that show people of different cultures, genders and backgrounds in a positive way

Insurance, policies and procedures

Childminders must register themselves as self-employed with the tax office and 
take out Childminder Insurance as soon as you are registered with Ofsted.

There are number of policies and procedures you will need in place before you start caring for children. Ofsted will expect to see these policies and procedures in place when they visit. 

Contact Sandwell Early Years for more information

Other Requirements

You may need to have planning permission to run your childcare business. There may be restrictions on the property so it is best to contact Sandwell Planning

Sandwell Planning Portal

All premises must have an up-to-date Fire Risk Assessment.

All providers need to protect the safety and health of everyone in your workplace, including people with disabilities.

Health and Safety Executive provides guidance and tools to help small businesses comply with this

If you offer, handle or store food as part of your service, your business must be registered with Sandwell Environmental Health 

Business Planning  speak to someone about business planning and get support writing a business plan.

HMRC, Employment and Self Employment

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) offers online training, webinars and videos to help with Tax, National Insurance (NI), record keeping and business expenses.

Tax advice for childminders

Help and support if you are self employed. Watch videos, sign up for email alerts and register for free webinars to get help if you're running your own business.

Getting started as an employer

Help and support for employing people. Watch videos, sign up for email alerts and register for free webinars to get help if you're an employer.

HMRC You tube channel

HMRC's You Tube channel has a series of 'bite sized' videos. These include a 10 minute video specifically for childminders, within the HMRC guides for customers section.

Self Assessment Ready Reckoner

The ready reckoner allows you to budget for your Self Assessment tax bill.

Record Keeping 

HMRC has worked with software suppliers that have produced simple record keeping applications. This list includes some cash basis and simplified expenses specifications. Most of these are free.

Tax Free Childcare

You will only be able to receive Tax-Free Childcare payments from your parents if you’ve signed up to Tax-Free Childcare.  Sign up to Tax Free Childcare

2, 3 and 4 year old free childcare

Contact Sandwell Early Years to find out more about offering free 2,3 and 4 year old childcare places to families.

Useful Resources

Foundation Years

The latest news, policy and resources for early years professionals

Food Standards Agency

An independent government department, responsible for food safety and hygiene across the UK. The department works with businesses to help them produce safe food, and with local authorities to enforce food safety regulations.

Nursery Milk Scheme

Under this scheme, children under five can receive 189 ml (1/3 pint) of milk, free of charge. This is for each day they attend approved day care facilities for 2 hours or more.

Babies under 12 months old can receive dried baby milk made up to 189ml (1/3 pint) instead.

Day care providers, approved to supply milk under this scheme, can be reimbursed the cost of the milk they supply.

Early Years business sustainability

GOV.UK advice, examples and resources to help early years providers run a sustainable childcare business.

Marketing and promoting your childcare business

Marketing your childcare business

Sandwell Family Information Service Hub is a free website to advertise your childcare business locally. Keep your information up-to-date and make the most of the FIS to promote your setting to families.

Register your childcare business

Marketing your Early Years Business is a key element of any business plan and directly contributes towards improving your long-term sustainability.

Marketing helps you better understand and anticipate your customer needs. It gives you expertise and the right tools to adapt quickly to a changing market and ensures your childcare business competes successfully.

Every provider wants to manage a childcare business where their childcare places are either full or occupancy high. In an increasingly competitive early years sector, actively marketing your service enables you to continually attract new enquiries from parents. It also retains the loyalty of those families already registered with you.

Business Smart Marketing

Marketing your business doesn’t have to cost a fortune and you don’t have to be a creative genius. Online technology has made it easier than ever to reach potential customers. PACEY has some ideas to help you advertise your services, as well as promote all the great things you do to existing parents

Promote your setting to parents

Nursery World 5 key tips to promote your setting to parents.

1) Know what local parents are looking for

2) Identify your unique selling points

3) Sell your setting to the outside world

4) Present your setting in the best light

5) Maintain a high profile


National Day Nursery Association (NDNA) advice on marketing your childcare business. Membership costs apply.

Social Media

HubSpot free online courses on Social Media including Facebook and Instagram marketing

Social Media

Social Media Basics

Getting on social media