Advantages Able to have a hand in nuturing a childs development and skills
Disadvantages Can be very long hours
As an Ofsted Registered Childminder I thought it might be useful for readers to know what we have to do to get registered, how standards are maintained and how we are governed. Becoming a childminder is not an easy option and you do need to be committed to a Childs development to ensure your business is a success. I have met both excellent and not so good childminders (very much in the minority) but, as a parent myself, I do believe childminders offer children a great start in life.How to become a childminder
Firstly you need to attend a pre-registration briefing session. This is carried out by your local Early Years department (look on www.childcarelink.gov.uk). They will book you onto your nearest course. When you attend it gives you an in-depth insight into what is expected of you as a childminder and it really makes you think about whether you can offer children a service that they deserve and require.
Once you have made that decision then you have to complete and application pack. This includes Criminal Record Bureau forms for you and each member of your family over the age of 16. You need to have an enhanced check (highest level) to ensure your suitability as a childminder. This is actually the longest process; mine took 2 months to come through.
Then, you need to complete a medical form and have this verified by your doctor, who will add his own comments on your answers and medical history as well as his thoughts on your suitability as a childminder. Doctors surgeries do charge for this service, approx £30 which you pay for.
So, all the forms have now been received and Ofsted will call to arrange a visit! The most nerve racking bit of all! Your house will be scrutinised and you will be questioned on your knowledge of the National Standards. These are Government guidelines that have to be adhered to by all within the Childcare sector.
I have met several inspectors now and each of them was absolutely lovely. Very very professional and committed to their role but also full of advice and encouragement. They also give you recommendations that you have to complete by your next inspection (6 months). My recommendations were to cut down the ivy from the garden (very poisonous to children) and to ensure my pipes are lagged in the bathroom as they are very close to the sink and a small child could potentially burn their leg if the leant on it.
At last! If everything came back ok and your inspection went well then you will become registered and you can start minding when your certificate arrives, not before! I am registered for up to 5 children, 3 of which can be under 5 and 2 under 8. You do not need to be registered for children over 8 and they are not included in your childminding numbers.
So now you can start advertising by means of posters at local schools or shop windows, or, for free, Yellow Pages offer registered childminders a free one line ad. Another option (very successful) is to place an ad in your local paper.
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