National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare

The National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare (NMS) are designed to assist providers and settings to meet the regulations that are relevant to the service they provide. Registered persons must have regard to the standards. The Welsh Government updated the standards in November 2023.

Download The National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare for Children Up to the age of 12 years.

What has changed in the National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare?

A summary of the changes made in the National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare 2023 update can be found at the beginning of the document.


It is important that all providers are familiar with these changes and have taken the necessary steps to ensure they are compliant with the updated standards from November 2023. The changes that affect the full day care sector are outlined below.

What has changed in the National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare?

Paediatric First Aid (Standard 10).

Paediatric First Aid (Standard 10). –  The requirements for mandatory first aid training have been strengthened and details can be found in Annex B of the standards. At least 1 member of staff for every 10 children present must have a full 12 hour Paediatric First Aid qualification. All other staff members must have a 6 hour Emergency First Aid qualification. New members of staff have 3 months in which to achieve the relevant qualification during which time they can be included in the ratio ( as long as other staff have the relevant qualification).

There is a lead in time of 18 months (up to November 2024) to allow settings to ensure all staff have the relevant qualification

  1. The 1:10 ratio relates to the number of staff and children present at any given time or place, not the ratio for the setting as a whole.

These qualifications are separate to the First Aid at work qualification which is required under Health & Safety Legislation as well as the National Minimum Standards.

What should providers do next? – Read Annex B carefully to ensure that all Paediatric First Aid training meets the criteria and ensure all staff receive the relevant qualification. Contact your Local Authority Family Information Service to see if they will offer appropriate training at a subsidised cost.

Safeguarding (Standard 20)

Safeguarding (Standard 20) – This standard now provides a clear path for all staff and volunteers to receive suitable safeguarding training. Annex C of the standards list the roles and responsibilities in childcare and playwork and the corresponding level or group of safeguarding training required.

Social Care Wales will publish the Safeguarding training, framework as part of the National Safeguarding Training, Learning and Development Standards in late summer 2023 which will outline the requirements of safeguarding training further. For example, giving details of how often refresher courses will be required.

There is a lead in time of 18 months (up to November 2024) to allow settings to ensure all staff have the relevant qualification

What should providers do next? – Read through the National Safeguarding Training, Learning and Development Standards and  Annex C of the NMS and check that all staff and volunteers have received appropriate training. Your Local Authority Safeguarding Board or Family Information Service may offer subsidised training or give advice on acceptable providers.

For Group B and above (all those having direct contact with children) training should be face to face where possible. CIW have indicated that online training will only be acceptable where every effort has been made to attend face to face training. If using online training it is  advisable for providers to keep evidence to show how they have tried to access face to face training and the reasons why this was not possible.

Childcare Qualifications (Standard 13: Suitable Persons)

Childcare Qualifications (Standard 13: Suitable Persons) – This standard has been amended to allow 20% of staff included in the relevant staff ratios to be ‘working towards’ a childcare qualification.  This means that of all the staff or volunteers included in the ratio 60% must have a relevant qualification, 20% can be working towards a qualification and 20% can be unqualified or untrained volunteers.

What should providers do next?- To be classed as ‘working towards’ a staff member must be

  • Competent and responsible
  • Have evidence of actively working towards a level 2 or 3 qualification (eg. enrolment on a course) and have an agreed timescale for completing the course (eg. evidenced by staff appraisals)
  • Have completed (or be actively undertaking) relevant induction training, this must include the All Wales Induction Framework for Early Years & Childcare.
  • Be working alongside suitable fully qualified staff.

Supernumerary Member of Staff (Standard 15: Staffing Ratios)

Supernumerary Member of Staff (Standard 15: Staffing Ratios) – There is no longer a requirement to have a supernumerary member of staff in settings registered for more than 20 children. However, the standards have been strengthened to ensure that all emergencies and unexpected staff absences are covered as well as time needed for staff breaks, training, time spent with parents or preparing snack.

There must also be sufficient staff present to allow for the completion of management and administrative tasks and domestic or maintenance tasks to be carried out outside of the ratio.

What should providers do next?- Review the operational plan and procedures to see if you can operate with all staff present being included in the ratio. Remember staff included in ratio are expected to be working with children, not carrying out other duties even though they may still be in the room. If you no longer have a supernumerary member of staff make sure that your operational plan can show CIW how you will maintain the staffing ratios throughout all eventualities. For example, if a manager is included in the ratio, make sure you can show they have time outside of ratio to complete management tasks.

Childminders working with Assistants (Standard 13)

Childminders working with Assistants (Standard 13) – This standard does not affect full day care but relates to the qualification now  required by childminding assistants. If you require further information on this contact PACEY Cymru.


As well as those changes highlighted at the beginning of the document there are a number of other changes throughout the standards that providers should be aware of. We have listed the major changes below.

Quality (Standard 18)

Quality (Standard 18) – This standard largely relates to the Quality of Care review and now gives greater detail of how this meets Regulation 16 of the Childminding & Day Care (Wales) Regulations. Its aim is to ensure that children benefit from high quality provision and that there is a continuous process of review, assessment and improvement within settings.

The views of all stakeholders should be a part of this assessment process. This includes the views of the children, parents, staff and other professionals

The annual Quality of Care Review should use quality assurance tools and best practice guides to assess the provision. In June 2023 Welsh Government published the Early Childhood Play Learning & Care (ECPLC) Quality Framework and Reflective Practice toolkit which can be used to  support settings to complete their Quality of Care Review. (This document is referred to as ECEC in the NMS as the framework was published after updating).

Within 28 days of completing the review it must be made available to parents/carers, Local Authorities and Welsh Ministers. It should also be sent to CIW.

Details of what High Quality Provision looks like are laid out at the beginning to the National Minimum Standards document (Page 10). High quality provision is expected to go above and beyond the basic requirements of the NMS. It should apply to all aspects of the provision and it is expected that providers reflect on how they are meeting the requirements and how they can improve.

What should Providers do next? – Review your current processes for reviewing and assessing your provision. Do they meet the needs of Regulation 16? Do you have a process for measuring the views of all people using your service including the children?

Read through and keep for reference the ECPLC Quality Framework. The framework is designed to be easily accessible and is a good basis from which to review your provision. For further support with this contact the NDNA Cymru team or your Local Authority.

Download the Early Years Childhood Play Learning & care Quality Framework.

Meeting Individual Needs (Standard 4)

Meeting Individual Needs (Standard 4) – This standard has been amended to reflect the change in the Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Code for Wales which replaced the Code of Practice for SEN.

There is a new requirement to ensure that a child centred approach is used when planning for children that considers the developmental needs of all children. Their views and the views of their parents must be taken into account in this process. Welsh Government have provided a guide for parents about their rights under the ALN system and links to SNAP Cymru who  can offer support to parents. There is a further requirement that children with additional needs have equal access to all facilities, resources and play.

Where a provider thinks a child may have ALN they should discuss this with the parent and . Either the provider or the parent can then approach the Local Authority.

Settings that are funded to provide Early Education now have a role in working with Local Authorities to identify children with ALN and to have regard to the code in accordance with LA funding arrangements.

What Should Providers do next? – Become Familiar with the ALN Code for Wales and how it affects your provision. Find out who the Early Years Additional Learning Needs Lead Officer (EYALNLO) at your Local Authority is and what their procedures are for supporting children with additional needs. Further information and support can be found in the CWLWM ALN blog

Download the Additional Learning Needs Code for Wales 2021.

Review all policies and procedures to make sure the current language and code are referred to and that they meet the new standards. All NDNA Cymru policies have been updated to reflect the updated standards.

Download NDNA Cymru’s Policies & Procedures.

Review your provision to ensure that all the children in your care have equal access to resources and opportunities for learning and development.


Equality (Standard 16)

Equality (Standard 16) – Examples of good practice and anti-discriminatory legislation have been added to this standard. This includes references to the recently published Anti Racist Wales Action Plan and the LGBTQ+ Action Plan.

What should providers do next? – Make yourself familiar with the relevant legislation and good practice, ensure all policies and procedures are up to date.

Download the Anti Racist Wales Action Plan

Download the LGBTQ+ Action Plan for Wales


Review your provision to ensure planning and resources meet the standard. Consider training for staff to ensure they are familiar with the Action Plan.


Training and resources on anti-racism in the early years can be found at Darpl and can be accessed by leaders and managers and practitioners. There are also anti racist practice resources on the CWLWM website.

Smoking (Standard10.14)

Smoking (Standard10.14) – This standard has been extended to make it clear that smoking in the presence of children is not permitted in both indoor and outdoor areas. Although the outdoor requirement only applies when the setting is being used for childcare purposes.

No smoking signs must be displayed indoors in day care provision. Providers can decide whether it is appropriate to display signs outdoors.

What should providers do next? – Ensure you have adequate, visible signage throughout the setting. Review outdoor areas to choose whether signs are required.

Other Changes.

Opportunities for Play and Learning (Standard 7.11) – The requirement for children under 2 to be changed and fed by key worker or consistent adult has now moved to Standard 10.13.

The standard has been updated to reflect the change from Foundation phase to the Curriculum and it now is encouraged that non funded settings will incorporate the curriculum into their provision.

Behaviour (Standard 9.8) – References the use of the Restrictive Practices Framework when using physical intervention.

Organisation (Standard 14.1) – The wording of this standard has been changes to ensure that the operational plan has a staffing structure that indicates responsibilities for leadership and management.

Fire Risk (Standard 24.17 to 24.21). – The wording of this standard has been updated to change Fire Safety Officer to Fire & Rescue Service. Smoke/heat alarms must conform to BS5839 and carbon monoxide monitors should be fitted in all rooms where appliances use gas, oil or solid fuel.

Need more support?

If you have any questions on the updated NMS please contact the team at NDNA Cymru as they are currently working on FAQs with Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW). The NMS form the basis of all CIW inspections and it is essential that all providers are familiar with the changes and have reviewed their provision to ensure they meet the standards.

For further support or questions contact: