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Home childcare and nannies

What is a home childcarer?

A home childcarer cares for children in the parents own home, or in another parents home (e.g. a nanny share arrangement, although the children must be from no more than two families at any one time). Nannies and au pairs are the most common examples of home childcarers.

Home childcarers can often provide quite flexible childcare, fitting in with unusual working hours, or they may even live-in. The position may also involve taking on additional jobs around the home, such as cleaning or cooking. 

As a home childcarer you will be employed by the family and in addition to paying your wages, the parents will also need to be responsible for your tax and National Insurance contributions, as well as things such as sick pay or holiday pay. Only in certain exceptions will HMRC grant a home childcarer self-employed status, eg. if the home childcarer works in a series of temporary positions. You should contact HMRC directly for further information.

Additional expenses may also be built into the contract, such as a mobile phone for emergencies, or being added to the family’s car insurance if part of your role involves you driving the family car. Wages will vary depending on a number of factors including your level of experience, the number of hours you are expected to work, and if you live-in.

Whilst some home childcarers hold a recognised childcare qualification or nursery nurse training, this is not compulsory.

Home childcarers do not need to register with Ofsted but you can however choose to register on the voluntary part of the Childcare Register.


Why register?

Being Ofsted registered can be quite a selling-point as it confirms you have been checked to work with children. In addition, by employing a registered home childcarer the parents of the children you care for may be able to receive support with childcare costs through the childcare element of Working Tax Credit or through employer supported childcare vouchers. The Family Information Service can also promote your services directly to parents.


Before applying to register

Carefully read the following guidance notes prepared by Ofsted:

Guide to registration on the Childcare Register

Requirements for the Childcare Register: childminders and home childcarers


Pre-registration requirements:

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check

As part of your registration you will need to undertake an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check through the Ofsted website. This involves submitting your details online, paying the relevant processing fee, and then completing an identity checking form. The form must be signed by a responsible person.

If you already hold a DBS check and have signed up to the update service you may not need to apply. Contact Ofsted for further information.

First aid training

Home childcarers must ensure that they have an appropriate first aid qualification. If you are intending on looking after children from birth to puberty we recommend that you complete paediatric first aid training.

Additional training:

As specified in the ‘Requirements for the Childcare Register’ document: ‘Childminders and home childcarers must have successfully completed a qualification at a minimum of level 2 in an area of work relevant to childcare. Or training in the core skills as set out in the document ‘common core of skills and knowledge for the children’s workforce’.

The ‘common core’ referred to above is a set of principles and values which sets out the basic knowledge and skills needed by people working with children. The aim of the document is to help people work together more effectively in the interests of children by supporting and improving practice, and sharing understanding.

The common core skills and knowledge have the following six main areas:

  • Communication
  • Development
  • Protecting and promoting the welfare of the child
  • Supporting transitions by helping children to move from one setting to another or from one phase of development to another
  • Working with many different agencies
  • Sharing information.

There is not a specific course offered in York which covers the ‘Common Core’, or is tailored specifically for home childcarers. The Local Authority strongly recommends however that in addition to undertaking a DBS check and first aid training relevant to the ages of the child or children you are looking after, that you also consider completing the following, which are free:

Apply to register

Once you have a DBS Disclosure Notice and have completed the above training and assessments, you can apply online to register as a home childcarer on the voluntary part of the Childcare Register.

As an Ofsted registered home childcarer you will also need to have public liability insurance to cover you in the event of an accident, whether it is your fault or not. Various companies provide public liability insurance specifically tailored for childcarers. Whether you pay for the insurance, your employer pays for the insurance, or you split the cost is something you will need to explore.




Professional membership and additional support

You may also like to consider becoming a member of a professional association for additional support, training, and benefits.  Organisations such as the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), The British Association of Professional Nannies (BAPN), and others provide a range of membership services for nannies, including free legal help, advice on employment rights, and general guidance.