Starting up!
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  1. #1
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    Talking Starting up!

    Hello! I'm new to the forum and really after some advice before I take the plunge!

    I'm currently a teacher who is due to go back this month from maternity leave and I'm really struggling with the idea of leaving my little one. I've often thought about childminding and now think it maybe a good time to get the ball rolling!

    I wondered whether ex teachers would mind sharing their experiences? Do you enjoy CM? Any regrets? Do you manage to fill term time only places? There seems to be a shortage of local childminders in my area (Hampshire) so hoping that I could go term time only but if not, how much holiday do you take a year and do you charge 1/2 fees to your parents?

    Sorry, so many questions but I'd really love the advice and input of you more knowledgeable lot!

    Thanks!

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    I know a few term-time only CMers, certainly possible. It is a slightly niche market of course, but a market non the less, which term-time only workers appreciate as they do not having to pay to reserve their space over the hols.

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    I have retired now, but did originally retire from teaching and then did term time childminding for a few years.
    The problem with term time childminding as opposed to teaching is that you are not paid for the holiday time, if you can manage that financially then it may be a good change of career.
    I offered a bespoke service for teachers children, who appreciated no payments in the holidays, which I didn’t want to work. I was extremely flexible in pick up times, knowing that as a teacher you often get way laid on your way out and late nights for parents evenings until partner/ parents could pick up...and of course when Ofsted came I helped in anyway I could. I always had children, it started with a friend’s, then word of mouth. I did leaflet schools and I gained a couple of extras via this website too. Increasingly though schools set their own holidays as more become academies so you may find that parents may want childcare at different holiday times instead of the Local Authorities. Towards the end I worked half terms and a week at Easter and 1 week of the summer break, with less children, as their dates didn’t match.
    I did not have a LO at home though so virtually dedicated myself to the LO’s and their parents for the three days I worked...all my LO’s had grandparents on the other days. I think this is the norm now, with a full 5 day week required rare. You end up having lots of children on different days, not the same 2 on each day. ( You can only have 3 under 5’s and your own child would be one of the three). It is different when you want to be with your own child at the end of the day.
    The assessments and paperwork, Ofsted, safeguarding, first aid and policies are not any different to school so you should be able to tackle those with ease if you are used to Nursery/ Reception and know the Foundation stage curriculum well.

    Depending on the area you are in and the expected charge you probably will not make any where near a teachers salary unless you are prepared to top up on a lot of after school care.
    I loved it though, I could plan my own curriculum, go outside when I wanted to and teach the way I wanted to, without any school restrictions...no parents evening , I was in charge of it all, though I missed colleagues to share and bounce ideas off ( that is where this forum helps). It was a lovely, but hard work way to end my teaching career.
    You will need to have a financial outlay at the beginning, for setting up and resources, registering and training, it took nearly a year.
    I would give your return to work some time to get used to first before deciding, it is hard work, you can’t leave work at school it is all round you every day and night...it takes over your house ....the grass may not be greener, it just seems it because you are having the normal back to work wibbles after maternity leave.
    Good luck with your decision.

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    I used to teach, then went into childminding after I had my daughter. I'm now back in teaching for a variety of reasons but want to get back into childminding when we move home.

    I had always thought I would like to be a childminder at some point anyway, because I liked the idea of being able to make my own decisions and to nurture the whole child - diet, environment, activities etc. I handed in my notice when I was on maternity leave. I had to go back to school for 13 weeks, otherwise I would have had to pay back some maternity pay. I was so lucky because DH was between jobs and so he looked after her for that time. I did the training whilst I was at school, in the evenings.

    Honestly, it was the best thing I ever did for myself, our daughter and the family as a whole. I didn't do term time only because I couldn't afford to, but I did get lots of offers from old colleagues - I turned them all down. I used to take two weeks at Christmas, Easter and Summer.


    Having been a teacher really, really helped with the paper work side of things (not the tax returns obviously). Equally, having returned to teaching after several years out I did feel that I was still in the loop, so to speak, because a lot of things overlap.


    Yes, you miss colleagues (but not your boss, lol) and so this forum is amazing.

    It's not an easy option though - it is hard work. Go for it.

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    I'm not a teacher but thought I'd share my story. This is a fabulous job but hard when you have your own children so young especially a baby. The minded children will seem to come first. Their needs have to be met and it's hard. Term time only care is sought but not often. I currently work a 4 day week, have 5 lo's over that 4 day period (all different days, times etc) and 1 is term time only. My second term time only child in 13 years. I haven't had a 5 day enquiry for absolutely ages. The salary isn't consistent but it is really comforting to work from home and be there for my older children - even if the house continually looks like a nursery during day light hours. Maybe go and look at childminders locally to see if you could imagine leaving your baby with them before deciding what to do. Best of luck with your decision.

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    Thank you so much for your responses...really great food for thought!

    I wouldn't teach full time now that I have 2 children (eldest is at school) so for me CM is a way of working full time but still spending time with my youngest and actually seeing my eldest after school...working 7.30 to 6 full time in a school wouldn't allow that!

    I will keep thinking things through and your stories and advice are really helpful. Thanks so much!

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    I’m not a teacher, but have a lot of clients who are, so a lot of TTO arrangements.

    I probably could fill with all TTO clients, considering the enquiries I get. But, that’s after several years of building a reputation and word getting around. Also, there is a genuine shortage of childcare around here.

    I’m always sceptical when prospective childminders think there's a big ready market. IME a lot of parents will say, "there’s not enough local childminders". I heard the same from a lot of mums, and not one of them has ever provided me with a day's work. At best, they think a new CM might bring the prices down or offer a 'bend over backwards to please'service (people call this "flexibility" for no apparent reason.)

    I think a CM might struggle to convince clients of the need to charge for holidays if they’re closed. In fact, IME teachers are very quick to plead poverty and hence hugely reluctant to pay for holidays, which is probably why they come to me: my TTO contracts mean they only pay TTO. It's an oddity, as they all argue vehemently that "teachers don’t get long holidays, we have to work through them" .

    I may be reading too much into this, but....... I think most parents would have problems with the (completely understandable) emphasis you put on not wanting to be parted from baby.

    Hope this doesn’t sound too harsh, but I say it as it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicstress View Post
    Thank you so much for your responses...really great food for thought!

    I wouldn't teach full time now that I have 2 children (eldest is at school) so for me CM is a way of working full time but still spending time with my youngest and actually seeing my eldest after school...working 7.30 to 6 full time in a school wouldn't allow that!

    I will keep thinking things through and your stories and advice are really helpful. Thanks so much!
    Worth checking what other CMs do in terms of hours. The nature of the job is that you work a lot of unpaid hours. Quite a bit of the time you work with children will involve working below capacity, but the children don’t all arrive and leave at the same time, or even do anything like full time.

    Go on mumsnet, etc and you’ll find parents declaring how we "lazy, money-grabbing childminders" are bleeding them dry. I saw one calculate how a CM's hourly fee multiplied by her capacity multiplied by her opening hours, etc. works out that we're all earning £45k. I wish.

    More realistically, I saw a recent calculation by a CM who said she never really made any money until her own child was 8yo.

    This week I did.....
    Monday, no children here. Did some reading, CPD, shopping for meals and craft projects.
    Tuesday, 0600-1800
    Wednesday, 0600-2000
    Thursday, 0700-1700
    Friday, 0745-1700
    Saturday, off
    Sunday, several hours of paperwork.

    For a lot of those hours, there were two of us minding one child. That meant we were each earning below £2ph after costs. I stopped having children on Mondays because, with training, etc. having to be done in one's own time, it became insane. Eg, with Sunday committed to prep and paperwork, and two Saturdays of PFA courses, I could go twenty days without a day to myself.

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