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Streamlining the early years registration process

Young children being helped to colour with crayons

Being a right-touch regulator is one of our new strategic priorities. This means ensuring that our regulation promotes high-quality care, education, and safeguarding for children, while being proportionate in our approach and reducing any unnecessary bureaucracy or burden.

We’re also making giving children the best start in life a strategic priority. Children only get one childhood. All children deserve the opportunity to get the most out of theirs. We value the excellent work of the early years sector highly and want to play our part in making high-quality childcare available to parents.

With these two priorities in mind, we are always looking at ways we can make improvements to our work for the early years and childcare sector. We have received feedback that the process for early years childcare registration could be quicker. We have listened and we understand the pressure on small businesses trying to register quickly, especially childminders.

We want to find ways that enable the early years application process to move more quickly, without losing any of our regulatory rigour - so that only those who are suitable to be in regular contact with children are registered.

Up until now, we have waited until we completed all the suitability checks before contacting the applicant to schedule the registration visit. This added extra time to the end of the application process trying to find a date that suited the applicant and the inspector. We will now begin testing whether we can register people more quickly if we pre-book their registration visit at the start of the process, instead of waiting until all the suitability checks are complete.

We will pilot this new way of arranging Ofsted registration visits for new registrations in the South East and in the North East, Yorkshire and Humber regions. We hope this will speed up the process and give applicants a more streamlined service.

On the rare occasions where suitability checks are not completed by the time the registration visit is due to take place, we may need to reschedule it. We will be unable to make a final decision until we have all the information that we need.

We will inform you by phone when your application is accepted if you are part of this pilot. Unfortunately, applicants outside the South East and the North East, Yorkshire and Humber regions cannot request to take part.

The pilot is likely to run for at least 4 months from November 2022 as we will need to see this through to registration of those who have been chosen to take part. We will review the pilot, including how the pre-scheduled visit works, and then determine our next steps.

We’ll continue to keep you updated on this work in future blogs. For those applying to register, you can read the full guidance collection on how to register here.

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