Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. Their job is to regulate and inspect to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages.
UK law defines childcare as any form of care for a child including education or any other supervised activity. Most childcare providers caring for children aged under eight must register with Ofsted unless the law says they are not required to do so.
Ofsted have a fact sheet that tells you about the types of care that are not required to register with them and this can be found by following this link: Registration not required.
If a childcare provider is not required to register with Ofsted, then in some circumstances they may choose to do so by joining the voluntary part of the Childcare Register.
If you are not sure whether you need to register, you can ring the Ofsted helpline on 0300 123 1231 for more information.
The Early Years Register
All childcarers – such as childminders, day nurseries, pre-schools and private nursery schools – providing for children from birth to the 31 August following their fifth birthday (known as the early years age group) must register with Ofsted on the Early Years Register and deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Maintained and independent schools that are directly responsible for provision for children aged from birth to the age of three, where at least one child is a pupil of a school; or who provide childcare for children in the early years age group, where no child is a pupil of the school, must also register with Osted.
The Early Years Foundation Stage is the statutory framework for the early education and care of children in the early years age group. The EYFS includes requirements for the provision of young children’s welfare, learning and development that all providers must meet, as well as good practice guidance.
From September 2008 the EYFS must be delivered by all registered early years settings and all schools with children in the early years age group, whether or not they are registered on the Early Years Register.
You can find out more about the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) by visiting http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/earlyyears/eyfs