This section contains information about starting a new nursery, preschool or other group childcare business in Merton.

Planning your new childcare business

1. Select a type of childcare business

  • Some types of childcare will be more suitable than others, depending on your location, premises and staffing options. Ofsted registered childcare providers in Merton are also detailed in the Merton Family Services Directory.
  • You can also read Merton's Childcare Sufficiency Assessment, which highlights any gaps in the childcare market. 
  • The Professional Association of Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) has information about different types of childcare

2. Premises

3. Business Plan
For help and support writing a business plan for your new childcare business, visit the GOV.UK website. You can also speak to your Small Business Adviser at your bank or building society.

4. People
You can find out more about the registered person's responsibilities on the GOV.UK Website You will need to know about requirements relating to staff recruitment, training and qualifications, which can be found in the on the GOV.UK website

Ofsted registration

Childcare providers in Merton caring for children under 8 years old for more than 2 hours a day in England must be registered with Ofsted.

  • The Merton Early Years and Childcare Service can offer support through this registration process. We can also visit you at your premises to evaluate your proposed business. This visit costs £100 and lasts 2.5 hours, please use the Pay-As-You-Go services request form on the Training and Development page to book.
  • The Childcare Registers You must register on the Early Years Register if you intend to care for children with ages between birth and 5 (up to 31 August after they turn 5 years old) for payment or reward. You must register on the Childcare Register if you intend to care for children aged between 5 and 7 years old for payment or reward. You can apply to join one register or both registers at the same time.
  • For details of those types of childcare for under 8's where registration is not required, visit the GOV.UK website. If you are not sure whether your proposed business needs to register, you can contact Ofsted
  • If your proposed childcare service is exempt from full Ofsted registration, you may be able to apply to join the Voluntary part of the Childcare Register which will enable working parents to access tax credits/tax-free childcare schemes to help fund placing their children in your care.

Register with Ofsted

  • Complete and submit your Ofsted application via the Ofsted Online website. Your application is subject to a non-refundable application fee.
  • See the GOV.UK website for information about the registration process and fee details.
  • See the GOV.UK website for information about registration requirements

You must be fully ready to begin caring for children at the point of Ofsted's visit. If Ofsted are satisfied that all the requirements have been met, they will send you a Certificate of Registration.

Running your childcare business

Once registered, the team at Merton Council will contact you with details of services available to support you, such as:

  • Training and Development for childcare providers. Visit this page to find out about our training and networking opportunities and to join our Firm Foundations Network for access to best practice information and discussion, updates, input from peers on their practice and much more
  • Information and advice for registered childcare providers This page forms part of our Universal Offer which is fully funded for all Ofsted registered childcare providers in Merton. Our Universal Offer provides access to essential information, both locally and nationally, and a range of useful support services.

Useful Websites

Contact details

Early Years, Childcare and Children's Centre Service
10th Floor, Civic Centre
London Road
Morden
SM4 5DX

providers@merton.gov.uk