A Guide to Childminders
What is a childminder?
A childminder is registered to look after children in his/her own home for more than 2 hours a day and receives a reward for this service. This does not apply if the child is a close relative, i.e., grandchild, niece or nephew.
Childminders can look after up to six children under eight years at any one time, including children of their own – but only three of them should be aged under five years old. In addition, childminders may offer care to children aged eight and over as long as this care does not adversely affect the care provided for children under eight.
When are childminders open?
Childminders are self-employed and so they decide on their own working hours. Most childminders will provide you with childcare between the hours of 8am and 6pm. Some childminders will work early mornings, evenings and weekends as well.
What does it cost?
Childminders are usually paid on an hourly basis at a rate negotiated with the parent. You will also need to discuss holiday pay and other terms and conditions and usually sign a contract. The contract – which you’ve both agreed – covers hours, rates of pay, illness, holidays, holiday pay, overtime and length of notice to end the agreement.
How do I know my child will be safe and secure?
First of all, you know your child best – look for a childminder you feel will be suitable for your child.
Childminders must be registered with the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) before they begin to work with children.
This means that checks are carried out to make sure they are suitable to care for children. People living in the childminder’s household are also checked to make sure they have not committed any offence against a child. The childminder’s home is also inspected to make sure it is safe, secure and suitable for children. The OFSTED inspector will check that children are safe, well cared for and take part in activities that contribute to their development and learning.
After a childminder is registered, a regular inspection is carried out to make sure the childminder is continuing to provide a safe and suitable service. You can ask to see a childminder’s registration certificate and latest inspection report.
Did you know…..
You may be able to get up to 70% of your childcare costs paid if you are in receipt of the childcare element of Working Tax Credits. To see if you are eligible please visit https://www.gov.uk/child-tax-credit or call 0345 300 3900.
Key points to consider
? Visit the childminder at home with your child
? Are you made welcome?
? Always go to a registered childminder – ask to see their registration certificate
? If children are there, are they happy, settled and busy?
? Is the childminder joining in with what the children are doing?
? Are there toys and books around?
? Look at the accommodation, is it safe?
? Check that they have public liability insurance
? Ask about the childminder’s routine for the day. Do they involve children in everyday
activities, visits, shopping, etc.?
? Make a point of discussing any particular issues or concerns – pets, allergies…….
? What plans do they have to deal with emergency situations?
? How do they ensure the children in their care are treated equally?
? Do the activities provided by the childminder take into account the children’s ages,
cultural background and any special needs?