Becoming a Registered Childminder
Becoming a registered childminder in England means following specific guidelines set out by Ofsted. If you’re looking for information for Scotland visit SCSWIS or Wales visit CSSIW. There are also many industry forums and communities online but it is probably advisable to start with the official channels.
In England becoming a registered childminder begins with contacting your local authority. You have to be registered to work legally as a childminder and anyone who cares for other people’s children for more than two hours a day in exchange for money has to be registered and inspected by Ofsted.
Many work at home parents choose to become childminders so they can keep their own young children at home whilst also earning a living wage. There are many different setups for childminders, with some only have one or two extra children whilst others create a mini nursery environment in their homes through recruiting staff.
Registered childminders must have qualifications to be able to work in this field. Satisfactory qualifications, training and related skills are set out by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). The EYFS ensure all childcare providers are governed by the same set of guidelines so all children have access to the same level of support.
Before registering you will need to attend introductory training courses in childcare practice. A paediatric first aid certificate is also essential and must be held at the point of registration. Initial training courses will provide all the basic information about setting up a childminding or nannying business. Training will be ongoing throughout your new career and there will be many mandatory training courses to attend, ensuring your skills are up to date.
Initial training usually includes:
- How to setup a home-based childcare business
- How to setup an environment which is both safe and healthy
- Working effectively with parents
- Developing successful routines
- Play and activity inspiration with inclusion and equality as key factors
- Safeguarding children
The training you carry out will form part of the level 3 Diploma for Children’s and Young People’s Workforce. This diploma is essential to become a fully accredited childminder and the initial training is a single unit from this diploma.
Completing your Application
Your local Family Information Service will have regular childminding preregistration briefing sessions and you must attend one of these sessions where you’ll receive lots of information. This information will include an application pack which you can return to Ofsted. You will also need to apply to the Criminal Records Bureau at this point for your police check and checks for anyone in your home aged 16 or over. Once this is complete Ofsted will inspect your home and conduct a suitable person interview and when this is passed you can pay your registration fee and once your certificate arrives you can start work.
Public liability insurance is a further essential requirement and you will also need to inform your car insurer if you plan to use your car to transport the children during your working hours.
In England there is a limit to the number of children a childminder can car for at any one time. It is limited to a maximum of six children aged eight or under. Of these eight children up to three can be “young children” which means a child aged up to five and no more than one of these eight can be a child under the age of one. These numbers can increase with assistants or working in conjunction with other registered childminders but it is always worth speaking to Ofsted to be sure.
Each day as a childminder is different and what you do is dependent on what you think the children would like to do and what will meet their needs in terms of the EYFS. As a minimum you should:
- Provide a warm, secure environment and ensure the children are well-fed
- Prepare and serve healthy, well-balanced meals
- Care of babies as at home with regular nappy changes and bottles
- Provide a range of play activities both indoor and outdoors
- Plan outings which can enrich the children’s experiences including engaging with other children at play groups and library trips
- Report back to the parents with a full account of each child’s day, ensuring parents are aware of any specific incidents as well as the normal day to day activities, meals and moods.
Like schools and nurseries self-employed childminders will be inspected by Ofsted. You will be rated along the same scale with 1 as outstanding and 4 as inadequate. Your setting will be reviewed and judged against the EYFS framework. Inspections are usually organised with little or no inspection so give a true picture of how effective your business is. It’s natural to be nervous but if you’re sticking to guidelines and keeping up with your paperwork and training then there should be nothing to worry about. Most childminders are inspected every 2 to 3 years.
Childminding isn’t a career for everyone. It’s something which takes a lot of dedication and a true passion for children and their upbringing and education. Many work at home mums and dads choose childminding because it took having children to realise how much they enjoyed their company and nurturing their growth.