Licensing criteria for hospital-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines hospital-based education and care service as the provision of education or care to 3 or more children under the age of 6 who are receiving hospital care.

ECE services operating from hospital premises that provide education and care to siblings of patients or children of hospital staff or patients are centre-based ECE services, not hospital-based ECE services.

Hospital-based services are licensed in accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link), which prescribe minimum standards that each licensed service must meet. Licensing criteria are used to assess how the services meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.

For each criterion there is guidance to help services meet the required standards.

The publication of the criteria on its own can be downloaded as a PDF [PDF, 1.2 MB] and printed.

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.

PF8 Premises support effective supervision

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and facilities criterion 8

      The design and layout of any ECE Activity Room supports effective adult supervision.


      To ensure that the activity room is 'fit for purpose' – that is, the children's use of it is not unduly restricted by design limitations that make adequate supervision difficult.

  • Guidance
    • Guidance

      Any examples in the guidance are provided as a starting point to show how services can meet (or exceed) the requirement. Services may choose to use other approaches better suited to their needs as long as they comply with the criteria.

      Supervision is an important element in ensuring children are safe while attending the activity room. Activity rooms that are irregularly shaped (perhaps because they are ‘reclaimed’ spaces within a hospital, rather than purpose built) can make supervision difficult.

      The arrangement of furniture and equipment in the activity room needs to be designed and laid out so effective supervision is easy.

      Adults should be able to scan the environment while working alongside children.