The Bristol Standard is a Quality Improvement framework that will help you to be a reflective childminder. It is a process which will ensure that children are at the heart of everything you do. The Bristol Standard will take you on a journey of professional development, encouraging you to evaluate your practice, focusing on how the children benefit from all that you do. It is a hugely positive process, celebrating your strengths and what you do well, whilst encouraging you to think of how you can enrich your practice, prioritising targets to work towards and always ensuring best outcomes for the children in your care. ‘A really good reflective tool to reflect on your practice and the setting’s. To make sure that you are putting the children at the heart of everything you do and to improve on your personal and previous best.’  Bristol Childminder.


The Bristol Standard is based around ten dimensions of quality, encapsulating all that is needed to ensure all aspects of practice are equally valued and reviewed. ‘What I loved a lot about the Bristol Standard was, that it is divided into dimensions, so that nothing is left out. It is a journey, a deep reflection, we always need to focus on the children, but I was also benefitting.’ Bristol Childminder.

There are two pathway options to choose from when starting on your Bristol Standard journey.

Your Bristol Standard submission will be a positive reflection of your dedication to providing the best outcomes for children ‘It enables you to develop your passion for seeing young children flourish and thrive’. The submission is completed online and showcases your journey illustrated through photographs, annotations and documents, celebrating all that you do. ‘The Bristol Standard gives you that really lovely framework that covers all aspects of your setting. It helps settings to see what their strengths are and feel really proud of what they do.’

Your submission i ‘validated, by validators who are passionate about developing quality in Early Years settings. Childminders who have benefitted from being on their Bristol Standard journey describe it as ‘affirming’ and a ‘confidence boost’.  Another childminder sums up her Bristol Standard experience with ‘it validates everything that you do’.

As you work on your Bristol Standard you are not alone! We offer monthly Dimension discussion sessions. These are a perfect opportunity to share ideas and get support ‘go to the monthly meetings, because they really do help.’  

The Dimension sessions are held via Zoom and supported by an experienced lead teacher and childminding support worker. There is mentor support available all the way through the process, should you need it.

If you are interested do contact Julia Harkess and Joanne Dennis

The Water Wall

In her Bristol Standard submission, childminder Charlotte Waite reflects on what works well in her setting. Here is an extract from Dimension 4, The Physical Environment, in which Charlotte describes how she uses ‘a water wall’.

The water wall is comprised of old plastic bottles and tubes arranged in ways so the water falls out in three different places and in different ways – big, small hole or sprinkler effect. One bottle has a number gauge on it too. I like to make some of my resources so that I get exactly what I want and ensure that, not only will it be fun for the children to play with, but they will also be learning a lot too. Child A says, “Down” as he pours water through the water wall. Then he chooses where to put it next saying “Up there!” He looks at me pointing. It looks like he can’t reach so I say, “Shall I help you?”  Child A shakes his head and proceeds to pour the water down a bottle on the water wall that he can reach, on his own!’

Painting with Wheels

When reflecting about the strengths of her setting through her Bristol Standard ‘journey,’ childminder Charlotte Waite describes the play opportunities which she offers under Dimension 3, Supporting Play, Learning and Development.

‘Child A chooses a selection of paint brushes and dips them in different coloured paints. He explores using toy cars to paint, dipping the wheel in paint and rolling it across the page. I say “What noise does the car make?” Child A says, “Room, room, oo ey ah car!”‘

Childminding contacts

 The Childminding Support Team – contact  | Tel 07825 106678