Your Questions Answered

After being contacted by many, many parents asking for advise regarding the job descriptions and qualifications of nannies and childminders, Sarah has answered some of these questions.

What is a Registered Childminding? 

A registered childminder is someone who cares for your child in the childminders own home, childminders are always self-employed.

Registered childminders are not required to have any previous childcare experience or qualifications. Some childminders are mums who have decided to start up a childminding service or some are ex nannies, nursery workers or even teachers.

Anybody can train to become a registered childminder, being a registered childminder and a qualified childminder are different.  To become a registered childminder you need no previous work placed experience with children, the training simply requires the individual to undertake a simple course to qualify.  Once this course is completed and the paper work is in order, the childminder simply needs a visit from OFSTED and they can look after children.

All childminders before they can care for children must complete a 12 hour first aid course and have a criminal records check.

Once all this is complete, they have become a registered childminder. If a childminder has worked in the childcare profession previously they may have childcare qualifications already. Being a Registered childminder and a qualified childminder are different.

What is a Qualified Childminder?

Childminders can if they wish go on to complete The Level 3 Diploma for children and Young People’s Workforce, this training takes place over a year and one day a month the childminder attends a college.

Many childminders have no previous experience working with other people’s children in a professional capacity. A great many have no relevant childcare qualifications other than the childminding course. Some are unqualified and inexperienced in the childcare profession.

Be reassured, a great many childminders have worked in the childcare sector for years in different roles, many have been qualified nannies, teachers or nursery nurses. If you are looking for someone who is qualified and experienced to care for your children, you do need to not only check their qualifications, but how many years experience that individual has had in the past and in what employment roles.

Most nannies, nursery nurses and teachers have completed training that involved being on a full-time training course for a minimum of 2 years. This training was very in-depth. Some nursery nurses do train on the job in nurseries for an NVQ level 3 which is equivalent to a BTEC Diploma in Nursery Nursing and an NNEB. It is wise to investigate the childminders experience and training in depth, and to maybe look at her CV as well as all the mandatory childminding information, don’t just assume registered childminders are qualified and experienced in childcare, many are not and many have worked in totally different professions previously.

The Grading system of Childminders

One thing parents seem to contact me about, as they are greatly confused, is the Ofsted grading system. Basically a childminder is either graded Inadequate, Needs Improvement, Good or Outstanding. The majority of childminders are graded Good.

Ofsted inspectors I feel seem to be greatly concerned about paperwork, a childminder can have one piece of paper missing and simply go from an Outstanding grade to a Good or the childminder can be refused an Outstanding because of a piece of paper. I personally feel this is very unfair as childcare is about the practical care of children and not what can be written on a piece of paper. I do advise parents, when they are visiting an Outstanding childminder, to make sure they themselves feel that the childminder they choose is in fact, Outstanding because they are fantastic with children, or is it because they have fantastic paperwork. I advise the parent to really watch the interaction between the childminder, and the children already in the setting.

Outstanding gradings are hugely based on a childminders paperwork, which is a great shame. Allot of childminders get the Outstanding grade due to previous office job experience. Some may have managed insurance companies or worked high up in office jobs, their for, paperwork comes easy to them. However, does this mean you automatically have Outstanding skills in caring for children !!! If you employed a nanny in your own home, would your first concern be quality of CV, or quality of childcare experience !!!!

Most people who have a lengthy career in the childcare profession do so because they are very practical and they have a natural vocation with children. Nannies for instance, have no paperwork as they are employed in family homes, some of those ex nannies have probably worked for very prestigious families. My joke is to parents, prince Georges nanny is Norland trained, the highest qualification you can achieve as a nanny, would she have time to do realms of paperwork whilst caring for the royal prince and princess, if she did, she would not be doing her job properly and would not be employed by William and Kate for long.

So what do you look for then, its simple, a childminder who is practically good with children and that if possible has a childcare background with testimonials/references. Never have a childminder graded lower than a Good, but don’t be to worried about an Outstanding grade, allot of childminders also actually do all this fantastic paperwork on the job when the children are actually in the setting, a big no, no in my book. As a parent would you ignore your own children while you sat and worked at a computer !!!!

Don’t forget, most childminders also have their own young children, they simply don’t have the time to spend hours each evening on a computer, after all, their own children require attention also 🙂

All Good and Outstanding Childminders

All childminders graded Good or Outstanding are able to provide the 15 hours free funding to 3 year old’s the term after their 3rd birthday as nurseries do, they can also offer the new 2 year funding.

What is a qualified nanny? 

A qualified nanny is someone who cares for your child in your own home. Nannies are always employed by the parents unless under exceptional circumstances.  Most nannies have studied specifically to work with children in order for it to be a career for them; they find their job a vocation.

Nannies are extremely well qualified; this is due to the type of training undertaken.  Nannies study at college for 2 years attending a full-time childcare course with work placements. These placements can be in nurseries, family homes, hospitals and schools.  Some nannies choose to attend either the prestigious Norland Training College in Bath, or Chiltern College in Berkshire, both these colleges train nannies to work in very high profile roles.

Are Childminders registered with the PACEY?

Some childminders are registered with PACEY.  Allot started off registered with them as they obtained free insurance and other essentials known as the PACEY tool kit. 

How much do childminders charge? 

Anything from £3.00 to £4.50 per hour in the South of England, excluding London.  The higher the wage the more qualified and experienced the childminder will be.  Most who charge £4.00-£4.50 per hour in the south of Hampshire are ex nannies or nursery nurses and have extensive experience in childcare.  A lot of childminders will charge a higher rate for just after school care; this may be as much as £5.00 per hour.  Where the childminder lives is largely taken into account.

 What is an Early Years Professional?

The government wants to raise the standards in Early Years Provision by increasing the numbers of graduate qualified people involved in the education and planning of young children’s development. The Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC) are the governing body that oversee the training and examination of prospective EYPS candidates.

What is the Early Years Foundation Stage?

All children aged up to 31st August after their fifth birthday are within the age range of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). This stage is designed to offer all children the best opportunity to meet and exceed their full potential. Every Early Years setting (including us) is required by law to be implementing EYFS for the benefit of the children in this age range.

How many children are allowed in a setting?

OFSTED regulate how many each individual can care for.  Normally the ratio is, per one childminder there may be 3 children under 4 years of age and only one of these may be under 1 year. In total the childminder may care for 8 children.

Do childminders need an inspection from Environmental Health?

All childminders must be inspected by law if they intend to provide meals or snacks themselves.  If the food is provided entirely by the parents then no they do not need to be inspected.  If a childminder provides her own food, she should have a level 2 in food hygiene.