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The early years foundation stage (EYFS) sets the statutory standards that all early years providers must meet. This includes all maintained schools, non-maintained schools, independent schools and all providers on the Early Years Register.
The EYFS aims to provide:
- quality and consistency in all early years settings
- a secure foundation for all children for good progress through school and life
- partnerships between different practitioners
- partnerships between parents or carers and practitioners
- equality of opportunity for all children
A revised EYFS was published on 3 March 2017, which comes into force on 3 April 2017. It aims to reduce burdens, including unnecessary regulation and paperwork, so professionals have more time to concentrate on supporting children.
Becoming a Childminder
Childminding is a very rewarding and important role and is not something to enter into without very careful consideration and preparation. Since September 2014 the Government brought in legislation that Childminder Agencies could set up and that prospective childminders would be able to choose whether to register with an agency or with Ofsted who have been registering and inspecting childminders for many years. The process of registering as a childminder will vary depending on if you register with Ofsted or a Childminding Agency. Your Local Authority may be able to let you know if there are any Childminder Agencies in your area. The information on this website gives guidance for those wishing to become an Ofsted Registered Childminder.
There are certain conditions of caring for children that mean Ofsted registration is not required. Read the Ofsted factsheet Early Years and Childcare Registration Handbook. Page 6 includes information about those who are exempt from registration.
Information to consider:
Childminders work with no more than two other childminders or assistants. Friends who care for each other’s children do not have to register if the care is without payment of money or for things like food and electricity.
Childminders care for:
- children on domestic premises – this is in someone’s home; it is usually the childminder’s own home, but it can be someone else’s home; it is not usually the home of one of the children
- at least one individual child for a total of more than two hours in any day; this is not necessarily a continuous period of time
Childminders caring for “young children” (until the child has reached the end of the reception year in school) must register on the Early Years Register.
Childminders caring for children aged 5-7 years must register on the compulsory part of the Childcare Register.
Childminders caring only for children over 8 years may choose to register on the voluntary part of the Childcare Register.
If you are caring for children aged between birth and five, you have to deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage.
All Ofsted registered childminders have to:
- be registered on the Early Years Register and/or the Childcare Register
- hold an up to date paediatric first aid certificate
- be DBS checked
- complete an introductory childcare course
- have appropriate insurance cover, including Public Liability Insurance
Details of Ofsted Registered Childminders and outcomes of their inspections are published on the Ofsted website.
Registered childminders work from a home, so minded children benefit from being in a family environment. Childminders only look after a few children at a time so they can give each child lots of attention, meeting their individual needs. This is particularly important for babies, very young children and those with additional needs. Childminders can also care for older children so siblings can be cared for together in a real family environment.
How many children can childminders look after?
Childminders can care for up to 6 children under 8 years. Of these, normally no more than 3 can be between the ages of birth to the 31st August following their 5th birthday. If children aged 4 and 5 only attend the childminding setting before and/or after a normal school day, and/or during school holidays, they may be cared for at the same time as 3 other young children. Normally only 1 baby under 1 year can be cared for. These numbers include a childminders own children and any children they are responsible for such as foster children.
What will my start up costs be?
As with any business, there are costs involved in becoming a registered childminder. The Government has introduced a ‘Childcare Business Grant Scheme’ whereby prospective childminders can apply for a grant of £500.00 to help with start up costs and £1,000.00 if you are setting up a childminding business to cater for children with disabilities. Grants will only be paid on successful registration so it is important to keep receipts of all expenditure.
Please note: this grant is only available until March 2018- or sooner if the funds are all used up.
- Registration fee with Ofsted will either be £35.00 or £103.00 depending on which registers you join. If you regsiter with a childminding agency, they will determine their own costs
- DBS check fee for each person over 16 who lives or works in your home. Approximate cost £52 per person
- Paediatric First Aid course needs to be in place before you can apply to Ofsted. Approximate cost £100.00
- Introductory training that meets the requirements of the EYFS and equips you to start your own childminding business needs to be in place before you can apply to Ofsted. (unless you hold a current early years qualification).
- Public Liability insurance has to be in place as soon as you register even if you don’t have minded children. Approximate cost £60.00
- Car/house insurance. Some companies charge additional premiums to include business use or contents cover if you are childminding
- Safety equipment. Fire detection and control equipment such as a fire blanket and at least one smoke alarm on each floor of your home and appropriate first aid kit(s) must be provided. These items have variable costings depending on which you buy.
- GP fee. Varies greatly as each surgery decides their own fees for completing the Health Declaration Booklet.
- Toys and equipment costs will vary depending on your individual circumstances and what you have already. You may need to purchase extra child car seats, double buggy or travel cot.
- You will also need to make sure that your house and garden are safe and may need to carry out some improvements – i.e. repair existing fencing in garden.
- Ofsted may also recommend some other actions that you need to take before they will register you which may cost you money.
Steps to Registration
The whole registration and training process can take several months. You must have a secure postal address where Ofsted can post legal documents to. In addition you may provide an email address for Ofsted to send you electronic information. This email address must be your email address only and not one shared with others. If you currently have one email address for your whole family, you will need to create an individual one for Ofsted to use. It is worth considering the name of this email address as your parents and prospective parents will be using it too.
Contact your Local Authority (LA)
You should contact the Early Years team at your Local Authority before you apply for registration. They will be able to provide information about the training you will need to undertake and any support you can expect from them; both during your registration process and when you are working as a childminder. Many Local Authorities run briefing sessions for pre-registration childminders too.
Apply for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks
You and anyone connected to your childminding business, including household members over the age of 16 need to have DBS checks. You will need to pay for these checks yourself. Everyone who has a DBS check will receive a copy of their disclosure by post. Each person must apply for their own DBS check using the Ofsted DBS Application Portal.
Please note: each person will also need to apply for the DBS update service which costs £13.00 per year and needs to be applied for either at the same time as they apply for DBS checks, or up to 19 days afterwards. If they fail to obtain the update service within this time, they will need to apply and pay for another DBS check as you will not be able to register as a childminder without this. Read more on the Ofsted website.
A 12- hour Paediatric First Aid course must be completed and then updated every 3 years. You will need to have completed your first aid training or be able to give a date within 8 weeks of applying to Ofsted of when it will be completed before applying to Ofsted. You can choose which training provider you use for this training. The EYFS states on page 21 that training should preferably be a nationally approved or accredited first aid qualification or one that is a member of a trade body with an approved monitoring scheme.
The role of the nanny
Nannies work on a daily or live-in arrangement, providing care for children on a shared or sole charge basis, in line with the terms of a contract to be drawn up as part of the hiring process. In addition to the care provided, a nanny will perform nursery duties to include washing and ironing for the children only, keeping their bedrooms and play areas tidy, preparing home-cooked meals for the children and will also make sure that common areas such as the kitchen are kept clean and tidy. A Nanny Housekeeper will do more as the title suggests, by including housekeeping as part of the role.
A live-in nanny can offer more flexibility to include earlier starts or working later into the evenings. This offers further choice to families who may require wrap-around care at times when demanding careers or other commitments would make childcare arrangements otherwise challenging. Most live-in nannies work a flexible week to include early or late working and up to two nights a week babysitting with weekend care by arrangement or in lieu of time off during the week. Live-in nannies should be provided with adequate accommodation, not shared with the children and the accommodation should be available for your nanny to use on her days off not only during the hours she is on duty.
A daily nanny will work set hours on specific days each week, in line with the employment contract signed by both parties at the start of employment. Any additional hours should be paid for as extra hours and agreed to by both parties. Evening and weekend babysitting should also be agreed in advance and paid for on top of the basic rate.