What is Registered Childminding?
Registered childminders are childcare professionals who work in their own homes to provide care and learning opportunities for other people’s children in a family setting.
More than 290,000 children in England and Wales are looked after by over 60,000 childminders.
By law, all childminders must:
be registered by Ofsted if they live in England, or the Care and Social Services Standards Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW) if they live in Wales:
have their home inspected regularly to make sure it is safe and suitable for young children:
* be insured in case a child they are looking after has an accident or damages someone else’s property;
* have first aid training which covers first aid to babies and young children;
* be checked by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), as must everyone else aged over 16 who lives or works in the childminder’s home: and
* take introductory training within six months of registering as a childminder in England or before registration in Wales
Childminders in England who care for children up to the age of five are required to deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage framework.
Childminders are usually registered to look after up to three children under 5 and three children aged 5 to 8, including their own children. They may also look after older children up to the age of 14.
All childminders who are registered with Ofsted or CSSIW have been checked by the CRB, are insured, have first aid training and have completed a health declaration. As well as introductory training, many childminders undertake childcare qualifications or attend workshops on subjects like nutrition, sign language or business management.
The National Childminding Association of England and Wales (NCMA) is a not for profit and professional association. We believe every child should reach their full potential and, since 1977, have worked with registered childminders, nannies as well as other individuals and organisations, such as local and national government, to ensure families in every community in England and Wales have access to high quality home-based childcare, play, learning and family support. For more information about NCMA and its work, visit www.ncma.org.uk or call 0845 880 0044.
Childminding groups, networks and quality assurance
Over half of all childminders belong to a local childminding group, Local Authority quality improvement scheme or are part of an NCMA-approved Children Come First (CCF) childminding network.
Children Come First is a quality assurance scheme for childminding networks. A CCF network is a formal group of approved, registered childminders who are recruited, assessed and monitored by a network co-ordinator. The coordinator will often provide them with additional training and resources and help to organise back-up care to cover sickness and holidays. Visit http://www.ncmaccf.org.uk/ for information.
Registered childminders are known for their work in caring for disabled children and those in need of respite care. In some areas Community Childminding Networks have been set up to provide this service, with extra training to develop the childminders’ specialist skills.
Early Years Education
Some Children Come First childminders are “accredited” to provide the free early years education to 3- and 4-year-olds in the home. This means that parents have more choice about where their child receives their free early years education sessions each week.
Finding a registered childminder
Your local Family Information Service (FIS) can give you a list of childminders with places available. The government has a website of searchable providers, click here www.direct.gov.uk/childcarefinder or call freephone 0800 2346 346 to be put through to your local Family Information Service.
Questions to ask when you visit a childminder
Why did you decide to become a childminder?
What do you enjoy most about the job?
How long do you intend to continue in childminding?
Are you a member of NCMA?
What training have you done?
Do you have any relevant qualifications?
Other than children, is there anyone else regularly at home during the day and, if so, are they also registered to look after children?
Do you belong to a childminding group or network?
Are you taking part in a quality assurance scheme?
Can I see your registration and insurance certificates?
Can I see your Ofsted or CSSIW inspection report?
Could I see any references from parents?
How many other children do you currently look after, how old are they, and how long have you been looking after them?
Do you have any children of your own and, if so, how old are they?
Can you describe a typical childminding day or week?
What arrangements do you have for meals or snacks?
What do you consider to be unacceptable behaviour and how do you deal with this?
Which festivals and special occasions do you celebrate and how do you celebrate them?
What would you do in an emergency involving yourself or one of the children?
Do you ever take the children out in the car and, if so, do you have suitable insurance cover, seat belts and car seats for this?
Do you and the children regularly go on outings during the week?
Do you ever go on special trips out? If so, what arrangements do you have if these involve extra costs and extra hours of care?
How much will a childminder cost?
All childminders are self-employed and set their own fees, hours and working conditions. They must also take care of their own tax and National Insurance contributions. Cost can depend on the childminder, the area they live in and the services they offer.
Fees charged by NCMA members across England and Wales in 2009 were on average £3.84 ph although this varies regionally.
For more information on how to choose a registered childminder visit NCMA’s web site www.ncma.org.ukor call the Information Line free on 0800 169 4486. There is also an online leaflet and film about choosing a registered childminder within the Parents sections of the website.
CHILD TAX CREDIT
Child Tax Credit (CTC) is a means-tested allowance for parents and carers of children or young people who are still in full-time education.
To Qualify you must:
How much: The amount is made up of different elements:-
For more information about tax credits, go to: www.taxcredits.inlandrevenue.gov.uk
SURESTART MATERNITY GRANT
This is a one-off payment for new parents. You can apply for a Sure Start Maternity Grant (which is £500) if you or your partner are getting:
Claim on a Sure Start Maternity Grant form SF100 Sure Start, which you can get from your local Social Security Office.
You can claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant at any time from the 29th week of your pregnancy until your child is three months old.
For further information about the SureStart Maternity Grant go to: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/dwp/2002/maternity/index.asp
NEW DEAL FOR LONE PARENTS
This is an initiative for lone parents. It aims to get people back into work or training. You can get advice on jobs and training, benefits, find out about childcare, help with working out how much you need and so on.
If you're a lone parent who works less than 16 hours a week or not at all, and your youngest child is under 16 years old, then the programme is open to you.For further information about the New Deal for Lone Parents, go to: www.newdeal.gov.uk