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What is a childminder?

Registered Childminders are childcare professionals working in their own homes to provide care and education for other people's children in a family setting.

They have to be inspected and registered by Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education) in England, the SCC in Scotland (Scottish Commission for the regulation of Care in Scotland), the CSSIW in Wales (Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales), or the HSE (Health Services Executive) in Ireland.

Registered childminders are not employed by the parents but are self-employed and take care of their own tax and national insurance contributions.

Most of the information in this website refers to Registered Childminders in England under the Ofsted regulations. However, if you are seeking information about CSSIW for Wales or SCSWIS - Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (formerly SCC Scotland - SCSWIS took over from 1st April 2011), you can ask in these specific areas of the Childminding Forum, there you will get help from both Scottish and Welsh Registered Childminders:

SCSWIS formerly

The whole of the Forum also covers many general questions, Ofsted regulations, help with EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) Activity ideas, paperwork and policy ideas and much more to numerous to mention here.

What hours do Childminders work?

Many Registered Childminders are flexible and will work to the hours that you need, some will work around shift patterns, some will even care for children overnight and on Bank Holidays and weekends. Some will have children before and after school and in the school holidays. Some will offer part time care. This makes Childminding a valuable childcare option for parents.

Are Childminders qualified?

All Registered Childminders in England are legally required to complete a pre-registration briefing session and must have completed a local authority approved training course to help them understand and implement the EYFS before they can register with Ofsted. Some local authorities require them to sit an English and Maths test before starting the course. They mudy also complete a 12 hour Paediatric First Aid Course and gain a certificate as part of their registration.

Many childminders have more qualifications, some are qualified nursery nurses and many childminders have NVQ Training in Childcare and Education and degrees. They have access to lots of various courses to improve their knowledge and standards of care. They work hard to provide your child with lots of care, fun and learning.

What will my child do at the childminders?

Because Childminders work in their own home they can offer home from home type care just as you would for your child. They can visit local play parks, toddler groups and some even have their own childminding group where they meet other minders and the children can play together. Your child will have lots of opportunity to make new friends.

They have a wide range of toys and equipment to suit all ages of children, many offer cooking activities or trips to the zoo as part of their play plans just like you might if you were at home with your child.

What if the childminder is ill?

Many childminders have contact with other minders and they work together to offer emergency cover and also holiday cover.

How will I know my child will be safe ?

Childminders must be registered with OFSTED before they can work with children.

The childminder and anyone over the age of 16 years living in the childminder’s home will be police checked - you may ask to see their CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) Certificate.

They will also have to provide a health check from their doctor to Ofsted.

Ofsted will check the childminder's home to make sure it is safe, suitable and secure for children.

Every year or every three years, depending on their previous grade, an inspection is carried out by OFSTED to ensure the childminder is continuing to meet the requirements of the Framework of the EYFS. You can ask to see their registration certificate and inspection report.

Each childminder is given a grade at the Ofsted inspection the grades are Outstanding. Good. Satisfactory and Inadequate. If a childminder receives an inadequate grade they will be closely monitored to ensure their standards improve, they may even be shut down until such a time that Ofsted are happy with the care the offer.

Will the childminder have a house full of children?

Childminders can care for up to six children aged under 8 years old but no more than 3 of them may be under the age of 5 years and a childminder may not care for more than one child under age 1 year (except in the care of twins where Ofsted will give special consideration to allowing this)

The childminder's own children are included in the above numbers.

Childminders may also care for children aged 8 years to 14 years provided that they can show that it does not affect the care of the under 8 year olds.

Some childminders work together or with assistants and those that do can look after more children. However, the size of the home and consideration to how they will manage the children and what qualification the childminder has, is taken into account before registration by Ofsted.

How much will a childminder charge?

Childminders set their charges according to the service that they provide. You will need to negotiate this at the time, agree a fee and complete a contract agreeing to the house, fees, arrangements for holidays and sickness etc. Childminding charges vary across the country so it is not possible to give a figure. You can get information about childminders in your area from the Families Information Service, but remember not all childminders will be on the internet - you can phone for a complete list from your local FIS, phone numbers are on the website.

What if my questions haven't been answered here?

Come along to the Childminding Forum where you can talk to experienced childminders and those just starting out - they have probably experienced what you are going through and will be glad to help. You can ask as many questions as you like, you will be made most welcome. Use the button link on the left when you've finished reading these pages or go direct now

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