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Childminders care for children in their own home, offering a home-from-home environment. They can also make use of local amenities, giving children the benefit of trips out to local parks, beaches, toddler groups, libraries and shops.

They usually offer flexible hours and can provide care for school age children before and after school, including picking up and dropping off children. Some chlidminders may be able to offer care in the evenings and at weekends and provide emergency care. 

Some childminders work from the same premises together and some have assistants or apprentices. In these cases, the number of children that can be cared for can increase, depending on the size of the property.

Childminders are able to work up to 50% of their time on suitable premises away from their home. This allows greater flexibility for parents to access joint childcare with other providers.  

How many children can a childminder care for?

Childminders can care for up to six children under the age of eight.

Of these, a maximum of three can be under fives with only one under one year old. This should include the childminder’s own children if they are also under the age of eight.

Because they care for a small group of children, childminders are ideally placed to care for babies and under twos, giving them the individual attention and secure attachment young children need. Caring for mixed ages also means that siblings can be looked after together.

Ofsted registration and the EYFS

Unlike nannies and au-pairs, childminders looking after children under the age of eight have to be registered with Ofsted. 

This means that they have to work within specific guidelines and regulations and be inspected. Inspection reports can be found on the Ofsted website

All Childminders are required to follow the Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework, just like day nurseries and pre-schools. The EYFS sets standards for the learning, development and care of your child from birth to 5 years old.

Can a childminder work in my home?

No, this is not included in the childminders registration, although some childminders are happy to provide babysitting services.

If you want someone to care for your child in your own home, you should consider employing a nanny or a home carer

Will I need to pay a childminder during holidays?

Your childminder is self employed and running their own business so you'll need to discuss how holiday arrangements will work at the initial meeting. 

Some childminders may charge half fees for time off, whilst others may charge full fees and include an element of paid time off. 

Some childminders work as part of a group or informal network to ensure there is back up for families in case of holidays, sickness or emergencies.  

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Childcare is inclusive and under the SEND Code of Practice, chidminders are required to  have arrangements in place to support children with special educational needs and disabilities.

If your child has SEND, further details of how the childminder can support your child with their needs can be found by looking at their directory record and clicking on the `Local Offer SEND’ section. 

Childcare funding

Many childminders are able to accept early education funding for 2,3 and 4 year olds and some are also registered for Tax-Free Childcare. 

You can read more about these schemes on our main chldcare page.

Find a local childminder

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole has many childminders. Search the Family Information Directory to find a provider that can meet your needs. 

If you need help finding suitable childcare contact the Family Information Service on 01202 261970 or email us on

You can also come to see us in person at the Welcome Desk, above Poole Central Library in the Dolphin Centre or visit the Children's Information Service team in Bournemouth Town Hall.