View Full Version : Advice Please - am I headed for disaster?!

29-01-2008, 08:45 PM
Hi everyone
This is my first real post as I have been so busy getting myself ready for my pre-registration inspection which took place last week and went very well. I am now just waiting for my CRB check. I will first of all apologise for how long and waffly this is going to be.....as it's a bit complicated.

A few weeks ago another childminder in my area called me with details of a lady who she had agreed to mind her 4 month old baby. Due to family difficulties the childminder was having to let her down and was trying to help her by finding another childminder. She had heard that I was soon to be registered and wondered if I could accomodate the baby. I explained that I would love to have the baby but that I have a 9 month old daughter and so I didn't think I could have more than one baby under one.

She explained that the Mum was not due to go back to work till 3rd March, my daughter is 1 on 16th April and she told me that all I would need to do is apply for a variation to my certificate for this period. She told me that as it was such a short period of time there would be no problem and that she knew lots of minders that had done it.

I took the Mums details, I rang my mentor childminder and also the local childminder network co-ordinator to ask their view and they both told me the same...that there would be no problem with the variation....

Based on this I duly applied for the variation and also met the mum and we have built up a lovely relationship. She is desperatley keen for me to have her little girl and I too would love to mind her.

Well I am sure you can guess that unfortunatley Ofsted said that because I am a new minder and have...I quote..."no experience" (despite 2 kids of my own) they would not grant the variation even for such a short period of time.

I was gutted and so was mum. We discussed various ideas about me having her unpaid for the 6 weeks etc but I was really worried that Ofsted would be watching me and would somehow find out and take away my registration so was just not willing to take the risk.

My mentor childminder offered to help me out and said that she could have the baby for the 6 week period between Mum going back to work and my daughter turning one. She said as a favour to me she would charge what I was going to charge as well. I was so pleased and arranged with my mentor to pop round with Mum and Baby to discuss everything. I felt the meeting went well but was concerned that no fees or anything had been discussed between my mentor and the Mum...i.e times of minding or anything. I tried to steer the converstaion round to it a few times but neither party took me on with it really. It was left that Mum would drop baby off on March 3rd and all seemed well. I just asked the Mum if she was happy and said that the mentor had told me she would charge the same as me.

I got a call today from my mentor saying that a) she could only have the baby between 8 - 4 (Mum finishes at 5) and that she would charge more than she had originally told me. She asked me to ring the Mum to explain this and check that she still wants to go ahead.

I feel really uneasy...I feel like for some reason she does not want to have the baby now and is looking for excuses to get out of it. I also feel really bad to go back to the Mum now (after all this messing about) and tell her that it will cost more than she thought and I know that she will be unable to pick the baby up before 4. I wanted to tell my mentor that she was out of order (cos thats how I felt) and that the negotiation as to terms and conditions etc were now between the two of them but as I am just starting out I don't really want to make any enemies (she is very much the queen bee of the local childminders if you see what I mean).

So basically I am asking for advice as to what to do...are there any other options I have not thought of....
Could I have the baby if I do not charge anything for the 6 weeks before my daughter is 1....should I offer to pick the baby up from the mentor at 4....should I just let the mum make her own mind up and not offer anything else other than what my mentor has told me....

Like I say - sorry for the length of this but it is really playing on my mind....half of me wants to just walk away from the whole situation as it seems to have been so much hassle before I even get started but on the other hand I just feel that the mother has been mucked about and there is a lovely baby there the same age as my daughter that I could potentially mind for a number of years.

Thanks so much in advance for your wisdom!


29-01-2008, 08:54 PM
Oh poor you what a nightmare. Could you offer to go to her house and be her nanny for six weeks ? That might be a way round it.

29-01-2008, 08:57 PM
What a horrible situation to find yourself in - I don't think your mentor has done you any favours here and I wonder if she has been offered some work of her own and that is why she is imposing conditions that she knows the mum will not be able to meet.

If it was me I think I'd have to speak to the mum and explain what this minder has said because mum thinks it is all sorted and clearly it isn't and she does not have long to find an alternative before she is due back at work.

Does mum have any family that could step in for those few weeks? If not i would think about appealing against Ofsted's decision - it is such a short space of time involved and if mum was to support you they may change their mind.

Otherwise I could only suggest mum delays her return to work to coincide with your child's first birthday or finds alternate childcare.

I'd get a new mentor as well!

Good luck - hope you get something sorted

Miffy xx

29-01-2008, 08:59 PM
Not really an option as I have two children and I am back and forth to my sons pre school all the time as he doesn't have the option to stay for lunch and she lives further away.....:-(

Thanks for thinking of it for me though

29-01-2008, 09:03 PM
Poor you.

Im sure I read on here recently that a new minder had just been granted permission for 2 under 1. It seems really silly as it is only a matter of a few weeks.

How did you word your letter to OFSTED? I know they like to see action plans and like you to explain how you will feed 2 babies at once, cope in an emergancy, where they will sleep, etc.

I think if it were me I would definately appeal. I would also get the Mum to write a letter to include with the appeal saying that you have already worked up a good relationship with both the baby and Mum and that you have spent a lot of time together to prepare baby for being left with you.

29-01-2008, 09:10 PM
I didn't know I was able to appeal!
So do I just send in another letter to Ofsted with Mums supporting letter or is there a formal procedure for an appeal?

I did s detailed letter and detailed where they would eat, sleep etc and stated what equipment I had (double buggy, baby car seats etc) I asked them to consider the information I had given them and they could question me further on my pre registration visit as I was under the impression the decision would be made after a visit.

I got a call from the inspector with a flat "no way" even before she came out to see me. I was so upset and said to her that I could understand the decision if she had been out to see me and then felt I was inexperienced. She replied by asking very coldly if "I wished to continue with my registration?" and as she was the inspector coming for my pre reg visit I really felt I should not rock the boat and just kept my mouth shut.

If I can appeal then I will definatley do it. I think I will just give the mum a ring tomorrow and tell her honestly how I feel and tell her what mentor has said as like you say....we haven't got long to get this sorted.....and also this is assuming my CRB is back by then as from reading some other posts I'm worried I won't even have my registration certificate by then!!!!!
Also note the advice re mentor.....! x

29-01-2008, 09:20 PM
Have you had your inspection yet? Did you discuss it with the inspector then?

What a nightmare this is for you.

I think regards the mentor minder, I would ring Mum and give her the mentors number and let them sort it out!

Are there many other minders in your area? It might be that she can find another who could help you out for a few weeks?

This is a bit of a weird solution, but do you have any family that could have your baby for you for a few weeks until she turned 1?

29-01-2008, 09:24 PM
I don't know if there is an official procedure to follow.

First I think you should talk to the mum as her backing will help (we are supposed to follow parents wishes after all).

Then have another look through your original letter and make sure you have covered every angle as Debbie suggests in detail

Then resubmit to Ofsted, together with a supporting letter from mum and ask that they reconsider

Miffy xx

29-01-2008, 09:27 PM
.....and also this is assuming my CRB is back by then as from reading some other posts I'm worried I won't even have my registration certificate by then!!!!!

What date was your pre-reg visit?

29-01-2008, 09:28 PM
Could you pick the baby up at 4 for the mum to collect at 5? Isn't it only registered childminding if you do it for more than 2 hours a day? Couldn't it just be a favour like looking after a friends child for a few weeks?

I don't know, I'm not an expert though so don't go by what I say! Ha ha! Just a thought really.

29-01-2008, 09:31 PM
Like Debbie says... ring Ofsted tomorrow and ask about an appeal procedure. Find out exactly what paperwork they want from you - I'm sure people who have applied for and got variations will help you!

Good luck :D

29-01-2008, 09:36 PM

What a horrible situation you find yourself to be in yet you were trying to keep everyone happy - what a shame

I think it is such a shame when it is just for 6 weeks that you needed the variation for

Personally I would call mom and ask her to come and see you and see if you can work something out together

You sound like a really nice person and so does this mom - who cares if your mentor is the queen bee? She is doing you no favours by the looks of things

I would have a meeting and try to work something out - maybe she could get family or something to help?

Good luck let us know what happens

Angel xx

29-01-2008, 10:05 PM
Thanks everyone for your help so far...
My head is swirling from thinking about it all.

I think the first thing is to ring and speak to the mum and be totally honest with her about what mentor has said. I would invite her for a brew but both my kids have started with chicken pox today!!!

I think I will definatley try the appeal and ask her for the supporting letter....after all it can do no harm surely. We have a good 6 weeks to try. I had been advised before not to appeal in case it harmed my chances at my pre reg inspection.

I can't remember who asked, I think it was Miffy...my inspection visit was last Wednesday. The CRB form only got sent off by Ofsted today as they rang me yesterday to check something on it..

Unfortunatley neither Mum or I have relatives that could help out with minding one or the other in the interim as I had thought about that before.

The whole situation is so frustrating!!!
Thanks everyone again
Will let you know when I have any further news!

29-01-2008, 10:19 PM
What a lovely person you sound and its such a shame that this is your first experiences of childminding - especially with the mentor.

You have been given some great advice by others on here and I wish you luck with your appeal - fingers crossed for you.

As for the mentor I would give her a call back and just say that you have explained to mum and that you both feel really let down by her changing her mind and the conditions that had already been agreed.
If you feel that this mentor has been pulling a fast one you can ask your development officer for a different mentor - (up to you whether you explain why, personally I would).
As a support minder myself I feel really indignant that she could do this to a newbie and put her in such a position.

Wishing you well

30-01-2008, 06:50 AM
when i was awaiting my registration i had an eager parent and i was so worried about letting them down i rang ofsted but they were unable to rush along the application. so i asked if i could care for him if i dident charge they said it was ok to look after him as long as i dident charge for any services or i could charge as long as i dident have him for longer than 1 hour 59 mins so could u consider picking him up at 4 from ur mentors and just having him until 5 that way you would stay within the restrictions unfortunatly i ended up losingmy parent as my application took for ever ( well the crbs did )

good luck hope evrything works out x

oakie dokie
30-01-2008, 07:09 AM
do you have any family to cover you for your own daughter for those 6 weeks?, you could have the baby yourself then, no problems. just a thought.


30-01-2008, 08:21 AM
i am really sorry i can't offer any magic solution to your dilemna i jthink every one else has covered the options but i ust wanted to say good luck with whatever you do.

i think i would try ofsted one more time though this time with help from the mum it's worth a try and they may even say yes as it's for such a short time

30-01-2008, 08:57 AM
Hi and welcome to the forum.

What a nightmare situation to start off with. Your mentor sounds like a bit of a cow if you ask me but then thats just my opinion. She has rather stiched you up.

If you can come to an arrangement where you pick the child up at 4 from her then that would solve the problem as long as you arent charging for it. Other than that you can try and appeal to Ofsted but I dont see it doing much good. I think the fact that you arent registered yet and have already asked for a variation is probably pushing it (BTW - this doesnt mean i'm saying you are incapable of doing it) I just mean that sometimes its hard enough getting a variation for childminders that are already registered.

Have you spoken to the mum again? Let us know of any update


30-01-2008, 10:32 AM
Sorry you are in this situation.
I would appeal to oFSted like the others have pointed out as it is only for 6 weeks!
You pointed out at the beginning that the parent really needs a childminder so I am sure she wouldn't mind paying a little extra for your mentor to look after the child for 6 weeks.
If it were me I would speak to the parent and tell her that the other childminder charges more an hour, etc, I am sure she will understand. I don't think she will feel messed about, as she really needs a childminder for March, so I am sure a few pence per hour won't put her off.
I think the parent will be pleased with you for helping her sort out her own childcare, something that's not your job. It just shws that oyu are a very kind and helpful person.
P.S - make sure if the mum does use the other childminder it is set in stone that the contract ends in April..

04-02-2008, 04:51 PM
Just thought I would update all of you who so kindly offered your advice.

I rang the mum and was just 100% honest with her about the phonecall I had from the mentor. She was really cross (not with me though thankfully!). I just told her that I was sorry but that I could only tell her the truth and try and help her sort it out. She agreed she has no option but to pay the higher amount....

I have offered to pick the baby up from my mentor every day at 3.30 and will have her till Mum or Dad collect her. I am going to do this for nothing but before hand she is going to pay a deposit and also sign a contract with me starting from Robyn's 1st birthday.

Mum is actually really pleased that I will see baby every day and is very grateful that I am dedicated to making sure that her childcare gets sorted.

She has asked for my mentors number to sort out any further details. I said to her that if I was her I would be totally fed up with the whole situation and could not blame her at all for being annoyed but assured her that I would never muck her about in the way everyone else has so far. I actually feel alot more posative about things now. I got all my "Tools of the trade" stuff through from the ncma today so I feel like I can finally get the contract etc sorted and it will all feel a bit more secure! Just still awaiting my CRB now!!!

Thanks again everyone for your help!

04-02-2008, 06:50 PM
I am sorry that you have been messed around but am glad to hear that you have managed to sort it out and maintain a good relationship with the mum which sets in good stead for the future.

Hope all goes well

04-02-2008, 07:18 PM
This thread has made me think, we only have the parents word for how old their child is. They could put any date of birth on the contract. I never ask to see a birth certificate.:idea: It would be very easy for parents to push a child older by a couple of months.

It could not be our fault if we were lied to, could it. Would it not be against their human rights to insist on seeing a birth certificate Hmmmm

04-02-2008, 07:20 PM
But then again knowing Ofsted they would expect us to have the:laughing: sixth sense, i am childminder see all, know all.

04-02-2008, 07:23 PM
This thread has made me think, we only have the parents word for how old their child is. They could put any date of birth on the contract. I never ask to see a birth certificate.:idea: It would be very easy for parents to push a child older by a couple of months.

It could not be our fault if we were lied to, could it. Would it not be against their human rights to insist on seeing a birth certificate Hmmmm

Nurseries require birth certificate proof but that is only because of claiming nursery funding......

I am not sure we would have cause to ask to see a certificate although i am sure that a parent probably wouldn't mind.

Yes they could lie about the age of a child but surely we would be covered as they have put the date of birth on the form and we have no reason to doubt them.

I am not sure that I would be comfortable asking to see a birth certificate!

04-02-2008, 07:25 PM
But then again knowing Ofsted they would expect us to have the:laughing: sixth sense, i am childminder see all, know all.

Didn't you know that under the heading of suitable person it states:

Applicant needs to have full psychic abilities....will not be accepted unless they have...:jump for joy: :jump for joy:

04-02-2008, 11:48 PM
Well there you go then, Ofsted have left a loophole. Say in a very loud and staged voice, Oh No i couldnt possibly take on your child UNLESS they are age 1 or over Ofsted would not like it - Nudge Nudge.

Joking aside i suppose it has been done. :littleangel:

05-02-2008, 08:28 AM
Well there you go then, Ofsted have left a loophole. Say in a very loud and staged voice, Oh No i couldnt possibly take on your child UNLESS they are age 1 or over Ofsted would not like it - Nudge Nudge.

Joking aside i suppose it has been done. :littleangel:

It wouldn't surprise me!

05-02-2008, 09:16 AM
Im a little unclear about something - are you registered or not? (I ask because you have your NCMA pack but no CRB???)

Anyway...I just wanted to say - I was in a VERY similar situation not so long ago...in the end the woman stayed with the :censored: who was supposed to be helping me out with her baby until my space cleared. It still gets my blood up to think about it even now!! My advice is: tread carefully and trust no-one! :eek: Sorry to be negative, I just wouldnt want to see it happen to someone else. :)


05-02-2008, 09:41 AM
Sorry to hear about your problems. It sounds like you have bent over backwards to keep everyone happy !!

If you do collect babe from mentor at 3.30 for 1.5 hrs and don't want to charge, how about charging a retainer for the full time place for 6 weeks until she actually starts with you properly ? £20 per week is not unreasonable. I've done it before for about 5 months, £80 per month to hold a full time place until mum had to return to work.

There is no reason why you should be out of pocket when you have tried so hard to help

very best of luck to you:idea:

05-02-2008, 11:46 AM
I am glad that things are working out ok!

The little one will definately benefit from being with you everyday for a little while so you can get to know him before the contracts start.
Hope your checks hurry up so you can start.:)

05-02-2008, 11:53 AM
Glad to hear that the situation has been sorted out!

I am sure the mum appreciates the extra effort you have gone to to help her!