Childminding agencies...good or bad?
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  1. #1
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    Default Childminding agencies...good or bad?

    Hello,

    I'm in the process of writing a piece on the government launch of the childminding agency guidelines.
    I would be interested to hear from those in the childminding profession to their view on this.

    How will the changes effect you?
    Will you join an agency?
    Have you had good/bad experience being part of an agency?
    Do you think agencies will provide a better service to parents?
    Do you think agencies will be cost effective?
    Could agencies be detrimental to childminders parents?

    Anything and everything will be taken on board, it is easy to hear what government employees or businesses think about the changes, but I'm really interested to hear about how this will effect YOU, the childminders, the parents and the children.

    Looking forward to hearing your comments!

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    May I refer you to Zhou Enlai's reputed comment on the significance of the 1789 French Revolution?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bunyip View Post
    May I refer you to Zhou Enlai's reputed comment on the significance of the 1789 French Revolution?

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    Dudot, you say you are really interested in the forum members thoughts and ideas and how it affects us but will you actually be submitting your piece from what we tell you or how you interpret what we tell you. You see there has been many questionaires and meetings supposedly for us to voice our concerns but when the outcomes are printed they never seem to be the same as our answers.
    So forgive us if we seem a little cautious but it comes from prior experience.

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  6. #5
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    Personally, I don't know whether Childminding Agencies will be good or bad. Haven't seen or heard of one yet! I don't believe that they are going to be the all singing, all dancing organisations that the government would like them to be. They were forced through against very strong opposition by many in the early years sector. They have to be self financing. Joining childminders will have to pay for training and support and for having paperwork etc completed for them. Agency childminders will not have their own individual Ofsted Grade.
    I have been a registered childminder now for 15.5 years. The new government legislation means that I am now an Independent Registered Childminder. I will pay for any training I wish to partake in other than First Aid, Safeguarding etc which our LA is currently providing FOC. They charge £120 for a day course and £70 for an evening course. So, I don't believe I will be signing up for any of those soon!!! I will continue to run my childcare business as I have always done. I will now have to investigate alternative forms of training. I was a member of our local network for many years. That was dropped, so now I get involved in forums such as this one.

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    i have not seen sight nor sound of an agency either.

    i have been running my own business for 11 years, and have all my own paperwork/invoices/etc. i am an individual and do not work like anyone else. i can not see how a 'one size fits all' package will work with an agency/childminder, as we all work differently! currently my LA provide some training, and some i pay for ( First Aid - but my choice as i could then do it when and where i wanted to ). my LA provide support and if/when this ceases, i have this forum, plus a network of other childminders and professionals for support. i have my own ofsted grade, and would not be willing to relinquish it to someone else. ( or for anyone else to benefit from my hard work )

    i am in a rural area, with very few childmidners around, and i can not see anyone making a profit running a childminder agency here, without charging childminders/parents a fortune, which being in Yorkshire - i can't see anyone wanting to pay! i will not be joining an agency, and neither will any of the 10 or so other childminders in my area ( about 25 mile radius )

    the majority, if not all, of my 'children' come to me through word of mouth and parents are happy to choose their own childminder. all of my parents expressed horror when i said 'maybe someone would choose your childminder for you'. they chose me for what i can offer and for my experience, not because i was the childminder with a space or closest to them.

    i also like to choose the children and families i work with. i don't take on a family just because they fit a gap i have, or because i said i was available till 7pm, therefore i must work until then!

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    I have been thinking who on earth would join an agency?

    The only categories I can think of are:

    1] Current independent CMers who are struggling with their own business, lack confidence or ability to do things their own way, who maybe have a low grade (or fear they are going to get a low grade next inspection) and want to hide/lose that as part of an agency, maybe who lack clients and find marketing hard.

    2] Complete newcomers who want to be CMers and know nothing about how to go about it, who are approached by an agency, or who see an agency's marketing, and think it is the only (or easiest) way to become a CMer (knowing nothing of how possible it is to be independent).

    Either way, I don't think parents will get the best deal from an agency with only those 2 categories on their books.

    No sign of any agencies in my neck of the woods anyway.

    I think they will either fizzle out, or become a very very localised occurrence, in one or two little parts of England where there happens to be the right set of circumstances... Unless there are new changes in the future surrounding how we register as independent CMers, then who knows?!

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    We have worked very hard on the Forum and spent many long hours trying to engage Govt in discussion about why agencies will not be helpful - but Ms Truss charged ahead with her plans in spite of all opposition telling us that they were right for us - when she had limited understanding of what childminders are or how we work!

    Now we are stuck with them and she has her promotion!

    However, the majority of us neither want nor need them and won't be joining them. Regardless of our wishes, we have mostly lost our LA support - new legislation starts Monday and thousands of cms still don't know about it because our networks are gone ... and we are told we won't get any help unless we are downgraded by Ofsted!! Where does that leave those cms who need help- and maybe don't have access to Facebook or the forum?

    dfE tell us we are an important part of their future childcare strategy and needed to deliver 2, 3 and 4 year old funding - but they are treating us very badly and letting us down at every turn. We don't need agencies taking our income to do things we already do for ourselves and have been for years and telling us how to run our businesses and who we can work with and when we get paid and all the rest!! We need our LAs back and proper local free support so we can get back to looking after the children.

    ... and they wonder why well trained, experienced, quality childminders are leaving in their droves

    Oh... but it's ok...they can fix it... they can use agencies to recruit new childminders... what a brilliant strategy!

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  14. #9
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    For the last 2 years the campaign against agencies has been fought on many grounds and by many cms...in different ways...and from different angles
    I still have the Tshirt worn when cms in my area spent a day at a local fair distributing leaflets or at the school playgrounds handing it to parents
    some campaigners have gone totally unnoticed but have made a huge difference with their work even though it has not been made public

    With regards to the loss of LA support I think many cms forget that in some LA's support stopped many years ago
    As non Network CMs many have had no support for many years... I left the network 9 years ago because it did not suit me or my independence...therefore personally I have been independent for a long time with many other colleagues

    I ...and many CMs in my area...had to choose between that or be in a club that did not do anything for us while the network cms enjoyed personalised training...closed meetings...home visits...endless support and a lot of money and grants being lavished on them for just being network Cms!
    So networks have gone now...thank Truss for that... and we have the spectre of agencies looming
    Maybe ..in hindsight... we should have fought to have an equal system of support via networks 'open to all Cms' not just the few

    So for some cms nothing has really changed and they have continued to practice by keeping updated and looking for support that really matters in any way they can

    The very LAs who were against agencies...such as mine.... are now applying to become one and do not think twice about charging for training and creating ...again...a 2 tier system that does not exist for preschools and nurseries

    Food for thought I think ...my view of course!

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  16. #10
    Simona Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by dudot View Post
    Hello,

    I'm in the process of writing a piece on the government launch of the childminding agency guidelines.
    I would be interested to hear from those in the childminding profession to their view on this.

    How will the changes effect you?
    Will you join an agency?
    Have you had good/bad experience being part of an agency?
    Do you think agencies will provide a better service to parents?
    Do you think agencies will be cost effective?
    Could agencies be detrimental to childminders parents?

    Anything and everything will be taken on board, it is easy to hear what government employees or businesses think about the changes, but I'm really interested to hear about how this will effect YOU, the childminders, the parents and the children.

    Looking forward to hearing your comments!

    Dudot.... would you be able to tell us who you are writing for and where your piece will be published and if you are quoting any of our comments?
    Are you a CM yourself?

    sorry for the questions.....just curious

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  18. #11
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    The OP's header profile says "non-Childminder member - Press".

    Looks like another journo who wants to write the news before it has happened.

  19. #12
    Simona Guest

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    I have 'pressed' all the buttons...the profile shows nothing apart from the joining date 30 August
    I also thought this forum was for cms only? maybe I got that wrong

    I wonder what else there is to write about agencies that has not already been written or discussed?

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    I feel sorry for new childminders. The one's on pre reg courses now because I think with all the stress of paperwork and useless things the DO's have you doing that are irrelevant a lot will think the way forward is an agency to take all the hard work away.

    Because I worked in a school I was able to ask a lot of questions on the EYFS and realise I didn't need most of what she was asking of me and would tell her this on our meetings together, I would ask her what it was relevant to as I can't find it in the EYFS or Ofsted document which I had or would read online.

    It would be interesting to hear from pre reg members what is being said to them about agencies.

  21. #14
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    Simona also strange is that Dudot has not once stepped in during this discussion to let us know they are even taking notes

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    Maybe Dudot has realised that there is nothing new to write about! As Simona said it has all been written before..............

  23. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simona View Post
    I have 'pressed' all the buttons...the profile shows nothing apart from the joining date 30 August
    I also thought this forum was for cms only? maybe I got that wrong

    I wonder what else there is to write about agencies that has not already been written or discussed?
    Admin discussed the thread while it was in moderation (as happens to all new member threads on the forum) and took the decision to allow the member to ask his/her question.

    Thank you

  24. #17
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    Going against general thinking here, but I actually think agencies might be a good thing for some childminders.

    The problem is, there don't appear to be any!!

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    I think that they will prove to be massive waste of taxpayers money ( I know they wont get funding but there has been huge investment in time / trials etc....)
    I have yet to see anyone explain how costs to parents can possibly be reduced.....an extra layer of management inevitably leads to increased costs not reduced!
    The recent publications added to the confusion not clarified things. they contradict each other!
    A childminder with an agency may have an inspection but it is only to see how they are supported by the agency - not to assess the quality of care and education the children receive.
    The agency has to monitor the provision , assess the childminder..but there are no published 'grades' for childminders within an agency - parents are left with no way of knowing whether the childminder they re being 'matched' with is actually poor , great or anywhere inbetween.
    And the biggest travesty in this whole thing is that throughout the hundreds of bits of information ..from truss . d of e , agency trialists , etc... parents are mentioned , costs are mentioned , but the child barely gets a look in!... Until the child is at the centre of any plans there can only be negative outcomes ..

  26. #19
    Simona Guest

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    Thank you for your reply Sarah...I think I am not the only one questioning Dudot...others have expressed the same concern

    If Dudot is reading and listening please note:
    if any of our comments are published those require our permission before they go to print

    It is unfortunate you use a name to disguise your identity
    Journalists usually like to be noticed for their work so I am a bit concerned as to the lack of response to our simple question: what is your interest when we have already written rivers of words? where will you be publishing? ...and Yes ...somehow I don't somehow think you are a CM???

    I have often spoken to NWorld or other journalists for other periodicals or editors...I have always been asked for permission to be 'QUOTED' and hope Dudot will do that too.
    That would be the professional way to do business...I think
    Last edited by Simona; 02-09-2014 at 08:15 AM.

  27. #20
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    [QUOTE=Mouse;1376497]Going against general thinking here, but I actually think agencies might be a good thing for some childminders.

    The problem is, there don't appear to be any!!
    [Yes, in theory. It might suit some childminders if they want to care for children but want to offload the administrative side of their work. But, not having seen any childminding agency in operation, I can only imagine an interested childminder paying a hefty fee to join and for training and support. They might be one of the agency childminders which Ofsted want to visit as part of their inspection of the agency....when it is being inspected. They will get their two unannounced visits per year. They will be expected to take children at very short notice as they cover emergency childcare for parents.....what with all the disputes and illnesses!!! I would think that they would be expected to take on many of the two year olds - so, a lot of chopping and changing during the day to fill up the 15 hour weekly slots. We were told at local forum that some childminders were considering working weekends and opening 7am-7pm so, with that ringing in my ears, I would think that working hours would be extended greatly. I would also imagine that all of the agency childminders would have to operate in a similar way so, personal imput or changes would not be acceptable. If the fees are to be reduced for parents then, I would imagine that the agency will set the hourly rate for the agency childminder and therefore you would have a situation as we have with supermarkets and suppliers...they will keep cutting the rate until the agency childminder is working for pennies. UOTE]

 

 
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