View Full Version : Information about Pre-school Learning Alliance

02-05-2012, 09:22 AM
I apologise in advance that this might turn into a long post – and for the fact that there are 3 separate – but connected parts of this post.

Basically this post is information about the Pre-school learning Alliance - their plans to provide services for childminders - and my personal journey since leaving NCMA.

Those of you who been following my posts (and have read my newsletter) will know that I am no longer a member of NCMA and that I have joined the Pre- school Learning Alliance (PLA) as my membership organisation.

Although in my case I have been a member of PLA before and have been a volunteer and a tutor for them, one of the main reasons for re-joining PLA was the offer of FREE online training.

All members of PLA can (as of 1st May) access the following training
• NSPCC Child Protection Awareness in Education
• NSPCC Safer Recruitment
• NSPCC Child Neglect
• NSPCC Children’s Rights
• Delivering the Revised Early Years Foundation Stage

The training is provided by Educare and is approved by the Continuing Professional Development Certification Service (so is accepted by Ofsted).
Furthermore assistants and co- workers can access the training as well for FREE.

As PLA (who call themselves the Alliance) say in the information to members
‘At a time when budgets are tight and local authority funding is being withdrawn, the Alliance remains committed to supporting members. We hope that you choose to take full advantage of this latest member benefit.’

So that’s the first part of this post – why I choose The Alliance (PLA) as my membership organisation when I left NCMA.

Of course not suggesting that the Alliance is right for everyone – I know lots of you are very happy with MM (and indeed I currently have my insurance with them so know there are a lot of benefits) I also know a lot of you are happy with NCMA as your membership organisation.

Therefore I need to make it clear that the purpose of this post is not intended to start a debate about which company / organisation is best, it is just for information purposes for those who are considering their options.

The second part of the post is about the current childminder membership package offered by The Alliance – for those interested.

• Free online training, from May 2012, provided by ‘Educare’. (as already mentioned)
• Practical advice and individual support from a dedicated Information Helpline.
• 20% off our extensive range of publications and resources.
• Ten issues ofUnder 5 magazine, keeping you up to date with latest developments in the childcare sector.
• A confidential, 24-hour Legal Helpline.
• Specialist training and flexible family learning programmes.
• Free copy of'Early Adventures'.
• Offers from top early years brands including Sea Life, Galt, TTS and Eibe.
• Discounts and preferential booking for Alliance run national events.

The price for this is £35 per year – if you are interested email membership@pre-school.org.uk or phone 020 7697 2585 and ask about the childminder special – which is basically the Baby and Toddler membership – and at the moment this is the form that will get sent to you – just make sure you write CHILDMINDER on the form somewhere.

HOWEVER please note the above membership is a temporary arrangement due to the future developments planned – see below.

Now for the third part of the post
Although the Alliance has always welcomed childminder members via their individual membership, up to now they have not specifically catered for the childminder market – however as a result of NCMA widening their membership to other Early Years practitioners, and a huge increase in calls from childminders asking if the Alliance do childminder membership – they have now decided to develop a specific childminder membership package – and to offer insurance, publications, specific childminder training – and to develop a volunteer structure that will mirror but be separate to their pre-school volunteer structure.

Of course it is going to take a few months to put all this in place – for example meetings with the insurance companies take place this month and then the insurance details will have to be finalised before it can be offered.
Once it is all sorted the Alliance will start providing the specific childminder memberships and anyone who has one of the temporary memberships will be automatically transferred to the specific membership package and offered the opportunity to take out insurance.

Neil Leitch who is the Alliance’s Chief Executive said (Stated in my words from my memory rather than a direct quote – but all factual)
‘We recognise that childminders want to be recognised as a unique part of the childcare sector and want services that meet their needs as childminders. We are determined to ensure that the membership package that we offer childminders does that – and we will take the time needed to ‘get it right’.
‘We want childminders to be involved from the start and to help us develop our services – we do not intend to just add an extra bit to out pre-school services – that is not right either for our potential new childminder members or our existing pre-school members. Our pre-school members would not be happy if we changed the services we offer them and we respect that, therefore our childminder services will be separate to our pre-school services – we want all our members to have their specific needs recognised and met’

And if you are wondering how I know this – I was sat in Neil’s office in London at the time he said it – at his invitation to discuss his ideas and my involvement with developing these plans.

So there we are the story so far of what has happened since I left NCMA – I have to say it did not take long for word to get out that I was no longer involved in NCMA and several offers of potential opportunities / involvement were made. I decided on the Alliance for two reasons – one, I have a long history of personal involvement with them – and two, I am volunteering type person, I like to support others – always have, always will – and usually it has to be said providing that support for free because that is the way I am.

I hope the information will be useful to those considering their own options but as I said at the beginning – this post is just for information not to start debate about who is best or the advantages / disadvantages about any company / organisation.

Penny :)

02-05-2012, 09:44 AM
That's really helpful Penny, thank you - I have recently looked at the Alliance and was interested but couldn't see if childminding would 'fit' or I would gain much from joining.

I will be emailing them later :thumbsup:

02-05-2012, 10:02 AM
Thank you for your post Penny. After reading your newletter last week I had gone to the PLA website, however could not see how I could join as a childminder.

Because you had said on the newsletter post that you would be posting more details about the PLA shortly, I have been waiting to see what interesting information you would provide.

I am grateful to you for taking the time to have these meetings and to put forward the issues of childminders on our behalf. I hope that they continue to use you as the go between and that maybe this forum can be used as a way of finding out the issues that we have and how the PLA can support us going forward.

I look forward to see what happens over the next few months in regards to what the childminder package offers. Since my NCMA membership ran out last month this has come at the right time for me. :)

02-05-2012, 01:02 PM
Thank you Penny, that's very interesting, I know a few childminders who have and continue to tutor for them

The Juggler
02-05-2012, 01:13 PM
very interesting Penny. I will definately have a further look into this. thank you :)

02-05-2012, 07:43 PM
Than you Penny, it's interesting to know what else is out there.

Miffy xx