Career Profile – Childcare Inspector

Childcare inspectors make sure the quality of childcare for children from birth to eight years is as good as it can be. Their inspections include crèches, childminders and school care. It also includes local authority or privately owned nurseries. If you love children and want to help make sure they get the best possible care, this job could be perfect for you.

To be a childcare inspector, you should have good organisational skills. You will need to manage your work schedule well and meet deadlines. You’ll also need to be able to give advice and feedback in a sensitive way.

To be a childcare inspector you would need a degree in a subject related to childcare, health, social work or education. You would also need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly the Criminal Records Bureau).

The work

As a childcare inspector, you would work as part of a team of inspectors making sure that childcare services meet national standards. The standards cover:

  • the suitability of the premises
  • the suitability of the people caring for the children or in contact with them (for example partners of childminders)
  • provision for the welfare and development of the children.

Your role would normally include:

  • visiting and observing childcare services
  • gathering information by observing, examining documents and talking to providers
  • working from home to complete inspection reports
  • submitting your reports online
  • arranging Disclosure and Barring Service and health checks, and checks on premises as part of the provider registration process
  • looking into complaints or information suggesting that childcare providers are not meeting standards.


You would be based at home and would be allocated work within reasonable travelling distance. You would usually work 36 hours a week, Monday to Friday.

Although you would meet regularly with members of your team, you would spend a lot of time working alone, so you would need to be able to plan and organise your own time.


Childcare inspectors can earn between £24,000 and around £27,000 a year.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Entry requirements

To be a childcare inspector you would need:

  • a degree, preferably in a subject related to childcare, health, social work or education
  • a substantial amount of experience in childcare.

You would also need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). See the following website page for more information.

As your work would involve a lot of travel, you would need a driving licence and access to transport.

Training and development

As an inspector in England, you would receive full training from the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) when you start work. This will take about three months, and will include some overnight stays away from home. You would then complete a probationary work period, and you may receive support from a mentor within your team at first.

Throughout your career you would keep in contact with colleagues through regular meetings, telephone calls and emails. There would also be regular opportunities to discuss your progress and any problems with your team manager, and to go to workshops in your region or around the country.

In Wales, you would be recruited and trained by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate.

Skills, interests and qualities

To be a childcare inspector, you should have:

  • organisational skills
  • the ability to prioritise work and meet deadlines
  • self-motivation and flexibility
  • a professional, courteous and tactful approach
  • excellent spoken and written communication skills
  • observational and interviewing skills
  • the ability to gather, analyse and interpret evidence
  • the ability to make objective judgements based on evidence
  • IT skills
  • the ability to give advice and feedback in a sensitive way.

Related industry information

Industry summary

Early years, children and young people’s services are represented by the Skills for Care and Development Sector Skills Council. This includes those working in early years, children and young people’s services, and those working in social work and social care for children and adults in the UK. The social care sector comprises two sub-sectors:

  • Adult social care – with a workforce of nearly 1.5 million, accounting for 5% of England’s workforce, and 38,000 employers
  • Children and young people – with an estimated workforce of 2.7 million

Early years, children and young people’s services provide publicly funded services accessed by between 1.5 and 2.5 million families per year, including early years education, childcare, children’s social care, family support, child protection, fostering and adoption services. There are more than 500,000 workers delivering these services in England.

[N.B. Following the change of Government on 11th May, all statutory guidance and legislation referred to here continues to reflect the current legal position unless indicated otherwise, but this document may not reflect Government policy.]

Key facts:

  • The children and young people’s social care workforce includes:
    • Over a quarter of a million people working within early years and childcare settings, with 165,200 employed in full day care and 58,300 workers in sessional day care
    • An estimated 111,484 nannies
    • An estimated 1,152 portage workers in England (who provide a home-visiting service for pre-school children who have developmental or learning difficulties, physical disabilities or other special needs)
    • About 1,985 in the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS)
    • An estimated 7,500 residential childcare workers in children’s homes and 2,100 in care homes for disabled children
    • 25,460 full-time equivalent social workers
    • Approximately 37,000 foster families in England
    • Approximately 14,000 learning mentors
    • 2,247 educational psychologists
    • Between 3,000 and 5,000 education welfare officers in England
  • 65% of full day care provision is privately run, with 22% of settings run by a voluntary organisation.
  • The majority of sessional care settings are run by voluntary organisations or are privately run.

The children and young people’s workforce includes a wide range of workers, jobs and professional occupations, including:

  • Early years and childcare – Early years/nursery teachers; Nursery nurses/workers; Portage workers; Nannies; Home Child carers; Heads of children’s centres; Volunteers in childcare settings
  • Children and young people’s social care – children and family court advisory and support service officers, foster carers, residential childcare workers, children and family social workers
  • Learning, development and support services (LDSS) – learning mentors, educational psychologists, education welfare officers, behaviour and education support teams, family support workers

Further sources