To register as a childminder you must complete training that is approved by your local authority. You can find out more about this when you attend your authority’s pre-registration briefing, but it will usually be the CYPOP 5 course Understand How to Set Up a Home-Based Childcare Service. This is a unit of the level 3 diploma for the children and young people’s workforce.

It covers all the relevant childcare legislation, business procedures, how to set up learning and play activities, work with parents and other important areas such as how to deal with an accident.

In order to register, childminders also need to complete a 12-hour paediatric first aid course such as this one run by the British Red Cross. First aid training must be renewed every three years.

There is a legal safeguarding responsibility on childminders under the Early Years Foundation stage to understand and recognise what might be signs of neglect or abuse and to know how to act accordingly in order to protect children. It is therefore advisable to undertake safeguarding training, for which there are a number of online courses as well as single-day sessions for childminders for a small fee.

It is also good practice to have food hygiene training, which you can do online. You can get more food hygiene advice from the Food Standards Agency, which has a special pack for childminders.

Continuing professional development is vital for childminders to keep abreast of legistlative changes as well as to ensure that skills are up-to-date in order to provide the best possible service.

Other areas of training important for a childminder in their on-going development and readily available online and from colleges or local authorities include areas such as special educational needs, business skills, equal opportunities or marketing. These might be short courses or even one-day sessions at weekends to fit in with a childminder’s working week.

There is a list of early years and childcare qualifications for those childminders keen to build on their CYPOP 5 on the Department for Education website.

The Council for Awards in Care, Health & Education (CACHE) is the specialist awarding organisation for the childcare sector. Its early years educator and childcare courses are offered through a range of providers and centres nationwide.