Childminders are registered by Ofsted (The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) to look after children from birth to age eight, although most will offer care for children aged up to 11 or over. They are self employed and are usually based in their own home and can offer flexible hours to fit around your family needs. They can also offer before and after school care.
Childminders offer a home from home childcare service where your child will experience learning and development activities suitable for their age and stage of development.
All Providers will have arrangements in place to support children with special educational needs or disabilities. Maintained schools, maintained nursery schools and all providers who are funded by the local authority to deliver early education places must have regard to the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. All providers will have a named Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO). Childminders are encouraged to identify a person to act as a SENCO and childminders who are registered with a childminder agency or who are part of a network may wish to share the role between them.
An individual childminder can look after up to six children under the age of eight at any one time (depending on space available within the home), but only three of those children should be under five, and of those three only one can be under the age of one. There are some exceptions to the ratios, however, the number of children under the age of eight will never exceed six children.
Standards for the learning, development and care of children
Childminders follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS) when caring for under fives.
You can use their services full time or for just a few hours a week. Most are open all year round. The daily/hourly rates depend on where the childminder lives, the number of children they care for, any special requirements your child has and how many hours care you need them for.
Childminders can be registered for Free Early Education Entitlement Funding for 2, 3 and 4 year olds, this includes:
- 2 year old funding (up to15 hours per week over 38 weeks or 570 hours per year)
- Universal 3 and 4 year old funding (up to15 hours per week over 38 weeks or 570 hours per year)
- Extended 3 and 4 year old funding also know as 30 hours funding (up to 15 hours per week over 38 weeks or 570 hours per year in addition to the universal 3 and 4 year old funding equating to up to 30 hours per week over 38 weeks or 1140 hours per year)
What to ask/look for when you visit a childminder
- Registration Certificate - this should be displayed and will show any restrictions to the registration
- Confirm Registration - check with the Families Information Service that the childminder is still registered.
- Public Liability Insurance - We advise you to check that your childminder has taken out Public Liability Insurance to cover their work. This is a legal requirement.
- Prices/charges vary between areas, you must agree a daily/hourly rate for each child for full time care, this should include holiday and sickness payments for both the child and the childminder.
- Contracts - All registered childminders should have written and signed contracts. This is to avoid any disagreements or misunderstandings later on.
- Typical day - Ask how the childminder what a typical day/week is like in their setting. What activities do they provide? Do they attend any groups/libraries?
- Childs development - How will the childminder keep you informed of your child’s development?
- Behaviour - How do they manage challenging behaviour within their setting?
- Required Training - A childminder must have completed a Paediatric First Aid course within the last three years, this should be displayed or you can ask to view their certificate.
- Training - Do they attend training courses regarding their profession? You can ask to see their evidence of training.
- Keeping children safe - They are also required to implement an effective safeguarding children’s policy, you can ask to view the policy.
- Always trust your own feelings about your childminder – you know your child best.
It is important that you take time to choose a childminder who will best suit the needs of your child/children. Write a list of questions you would like the childminder to answer. Make sure you ask the same questions to each potential childminder so you can compare their answers.
View list of registered childminders with current vacancies