Want to work in childcare?

There’s never been a better time to work in childcare. It’s a fast growing sector and there's an increasing demand for staff at all levels. There are many different roles in the childcare sector with opportunities for everyone to start a career, whether you want to work full-time, part-time or initially to volunteer.

If you're interested in management, you could end up being your own boss, running your own nursery, with responsibility for staff, budgets and building effective relationships with parents.

Becoming a registered childminder

Childminders look after children, for payment, in the childminder's own home for more than two hours per day, and must be registered with Ofsted.

To become a childminder for children under eight years old you must:

  • Meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
  • Complete the council's childminding training courses
  • Have an enhanced criminal records check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), and a health check 
  • Have a sufficient grasp of English to ensure the wellbeing of children  
  • Be visited by an Ofsted inspector to ensure suitability of you and your home

To begin the registration process you will need to attend a childminding pre-registration briefing session where you will find out more about becoming a childminder and how to apply for registration with Ofsted. Contact the Families Information Service on 01925 443131 or fis@warrington.gov.uk.  The team also have a specialist training pathway for new childminders.

Starting a childcare business

First of all speak to the council's Early Years team via 01925 443131 or fis@warrington.gov.uk. They can tell you what you need to do next, the procedures you must follow and how and when to contact Ofsted.

Qualifications

If you want to be just the proprietor, you don't need any childcare qualifications. If you want to be the manager, you must have at least an appropriate Level 3 qualification plus at least two years experience of working in a childcare setting.

Staff wages

The amount you pay your staff varies depending on the type of childcare you are offering, but you must meet the requirements of the Equal Pay Act 1970 and the national minimum wage.

Finding a good location

You'll need to do some market research to see if there is a demand for childcare in the area in which you want to open the business. Find out how many other childcare providers there are and how many children are actually living in the area. 

The council carries out a childcare sufficiency assessment each year, which looks at the supply of and demand for childcare in the local area which can help you in choosing a suitable location for your business. Contact the Families Information Service on 01925 443131 or fis@warrington.gov.uk

The building

The building must be well maintained and in a suitable state of cleanliness, repair and decoration.  It must also meet planning and building control requirements.  The building must also be an appropriate size for the amount of children you will have in it:

  • At least 3.5m² per child under the age of two 
  • At least 2.5m² per child aged two 
  • At least 2.3m² per child aged three to seven  

Registering with Ofsted

The Ofsted early years register

If you are providing childcare for children from birth to five you must register on the early years register and deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which is the statutory framework for the early education and care of children from birth to the August following their fifth birthday.

The Ofsted childcare register

If you are providing childcare for children aged 5+, you may need to register on the childcare register, which has two parts:

  • Compulsory part - All childcare providers for children aged 5-8 must register (e.g. childminders, homecarers, breakfast/after school clubs).
  • Voluntary part - Providers who are not obligated to register (e.g. nannies, sports coaches, creches, those looking after children aged 8+) can choose to register.

Vetting childcare staff

You and, if relevant, your staff must also undergo rigorous checks to ensure your suitability to care for children. Once you are registered with Ofsted it is your responsibility to ensure all staff, volunteers, students, etc, are suitable to work with children in the setting. You must also make sure that children are kept safe when visitors, contractors and other personnel are on the premises. 

Everyone who is left alone with a child at any time must have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

Training and professional development

Warrington Borough Council runs a range of childcare training courses for you and/or your staff if you decide to become a childminder or open a childcare business.  More information is available on the information for childcare providers page.