Licensing criteria for home-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines home-based ECE services as the provision of education or care, for gain or reward, to children who are under the age of 5 years, or who are aged 5 years but not enrolled at school, in:

  • the children’s own home; or
  • the home of the person providing the education or care; or
  • any other home nominated by a parent of the children.

These 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, 1.3 MB] and printed.

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.

HS21 Room temperature

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and Safety practices criterion 21

      Rooms used by children are kept at a comfortable temperature no lower than 18°C (at 500mm above the floor) while children are attending.


      The criterion aims to uphold the wellbeing of children.

  • Guidance
    • Guidance

      The following examples are provided as a starting point to show how services can meet the requirement. Services may choose to use other approaches better suited to their needs as long as they comply with the criteria.

      Temperature in rooms used by children

      The temperature in rooms must be no lower than 18 °C at 500mm above the floor when used by children. Services should ensure that the heating is turned on (if required) before children arrive for the day to give time for the rooms used by children to heat up to 18 °C.

      Temperatures are kept no lower than 18 °C

      To ensure the temperature in rooms used by children is kept no lower than 18 °C, a service must have a means of checking the temperature regularly at 500mm above the floor. This might include a thermometer that can measure ambient room temperature attached to the wall at 500mm above the floor, or a portable thermometer.

      Services will need to manage fluctuations of temperature in rooms used by children eg caused by the opening and closing of doors to the outside space, so that the temperature in rooms used by children is kept no lower than 18 °C.

      Rooms used by children at a comfortable temperature

      18 °C at 500mm above the floor is a minimum requirement. World Health Organisation guidelines, including those for vulnerable persons such as young children, have been considered in setting this minimum.

      Services may choose to keep a higher indoor temperature but should ensure that is comfortable for children. Having a service temperature that is too warm could lead to lethargy.

      Other licensing criteria that interact with HS21

      PF2(external link), PF10(external link), PF11(external link) and C9(external link).