How to start a day nursery – Key steps


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Day nursery licenses and regulations

The regulations, licenses, and legal cover that you require for starting a day nursery differ depending on whether you’re going to be based in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland.

But there are some core regulations that stay the same. These are:

Registering your day nursery 

No matter where you’re starting your day nursery in the UK, you’ll need to register your day nursery with your country’s specific regulator. And you must make sure that your nursery meets the standards of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework before you approach the relevant authority.

It’s best to take a look at the registration process for your country early on, as there’s usually some pre-registration boxes to be ticked, including DBS checks and health checks.

The regulators for the different UK countries are:

For England – this is Ofsted (Office For Standards in Education). Take a look at the Ofsted nursery registration page for more information

For Wales – this is CSSIW (Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales). Take a look at the gov.uk page on starting a nursery in Wales for more information

For Scotland – this is the Care Inspectorate. Take a look at the Care Inspectorate nursery registration page for more information

For Northern Ireland – this is the Health and Social Services Board (HSSB). Take a look at the gov.uk page on day care registration in Northern Ireland for more information

Taking out the relevant day nursery insurance cover

You’ll also need to make sure you’re fully covered for things like public liability and sickness.

The full list includes:

You should make sure that your insurance policies cover staff and children away from the nursery, too – in the event of a nursery trip.

It may also be a good idea to look at business interruption insurance, which will cover you if your business has to close for a certain period of time.

Food safety and hygiene

Adhering to food safety and hygiene standards is essential. If you’re responsible for managing your day nursery’s food handling and preparation, you’ll need to have qualifications as noted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

In fact, the FSA goes one step further in helping you to adhere to the specific requirements with its Safer food, better businesses pack for childminders. It’ll tell you all about the necessary hygiene regulations needed for storing, cooking, and chilling food in a day nursery context.

Health and safety requirements

There are strict health and safety requirements that you’ll need to adhere to, too. And you’ll need to put a health and safety policy in place to demonstrate how you’ll conduct things like:

  • Risk assessments
  • Fire safety and risk
  • Reporting injuries
  • Evacuation procedures
  • Maintenance
  • Storing and handling hazardous substances

Staffing regulations

There are some pretty strict regulations that you need to follow when it comes to staffing. Not only does there need to be a certain number of staff present per child, there also needs to be a specific number of staff with specific qualifications. Here’s what we know:


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