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Ofsted and the Alliance produce guidance to offer clarity for childminders

Woman and childProviding care for both early years children and school-age children

The Early Years Alliance has received a number of emails from childminders confused about the rules around providing care for both early years children and school-age children.

Many have expressed concerns that an early years inspector will judge them on how they plan, assess, and track the learning and development of school-age children.

We have worked with Ofsted to produce the below information which we hope will offer clarity and ease concerns.

However, if you have any further queries, please do contact us on

I provide both early years and out-of-school care, and have heard that I have to demonstrate planning, assessing and tracking for school-age children as part of an early years inspection. Is this true?

No, this is not the case. When an inspector carries out an early years inspection and older children are present, they will take a holistic look at the care being provided, and this may include observing how the childminder (or other provider) manages the care of older children alongside the early years children, where relevant and appropriate – for example, if the care being provided to older children has either a positive or negative impact on the early years aged children.

However, it is not true that providers have to demonstrate how they are meeting learning and development requirements for school-aged children as part of an early years inspection. During an early inspection, a provider is being inspected against the principles and requirements of the EYFS and what is being provided for the early years children in their care. In terms of the learning and development requirements of the EYFS, these only refer to children in the early years age range.

I provide out-of-school care for a child in reception. Would this form part of an early years inspection?

‘Early years children’ means children from birth to 31 August after the child’s fifth birthday (i.e. the end of reception). If a child is attending reception, they are still within the EYFS. This means that if a childminder or another provider is delivering out-of-hours care for a child who attends reception, this care will still form part of an early years inspection.

However, it is important to note that Ofsted inspects provision as a whole, not individual children. This means that an inspector will take an overall look at what a provider is doing to meet the needs of all the early years-aged children in their care and specifically, to “create high quality settings which are welcoming, safe and stimulating, and where children are able to enjoy learning and grow in confidence” (3.1, EYFS).

This might involve, for example, planning specific activities, or it might involve giving a child space to relax and rest. The approach a childminder takes to caring for, for example, a three-year-old is likely to be different to the approach they take to caring for a reception-age child who attends their setting before and/or after school.

Point 133 of the Early Years Inspection Handbook states that “inspectors must use their professional judgement to interpret and apply the grade descriptors to the setting they are inspecting” and that in doing so, they should consider, among a number of factors, “settings that have children who receive their main EYFS experience elsewhere”.

I provide care for both early years and school-aged children. Does Annex A of the Early Years Inspection Handbook apply to me?

Annex A states that:

Providers (including childminders) registered on the Early Years Register but that only provide care exclusively for children at the beginning and end of the school day or in holiday periods will be inspected without receiving grades against the four judgements (‘Quality of education’, ‘Behaviour and attitudes’, ‘Personal development’ and ‘Leadership and management’) of the inspection framework.

These providers do not need to meet the learning and development requirements of the EYFS. They do have to meet in full the safeguarding and welfare requirements, which are designed to help providers create high-quality settings which are welcoming, safe and stimulating, and where children are able to grow in confidence.

This particular piece of guidance only applies to childminders and other providers who solely deliver out-of-school care, not those who provide a mixed of out-of-school and early years care.

Related pages

Guidance on Ofsted registration and inspections

Ofsted updates

Managing your Ofsted inspection


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