Childminders are registered to care for no more than 6 children under the age of 8. Three of these can be in the EYFS age range (0-5) and of these 3 no more than one can be a baby (0-12 months). Childminders working with assistants or other childminders may be able to increase this number.
This enables the childminder a much more flexible approach to childcare which some parents find attractive as it a very home from home feel and the children can get lots of individual attention whilst still having the experience of being with their peers. This is particularly appealing for parents of very small children and babies.
A registered childminder can structure their day around the needs of the children and can consider the ages and stages of the children when deciding what their day will look like. Having this flexibility is an asset for homebased childcare and children get to experience lots of real-life activities including cooking, gardening, creative play and outings otherwise not available to them.
Childminders can be flexible with parents who have work commitments and within reason can accommodate if they are going to be a little late or may have to drop of a little early.
Childminders commonly do nursery pickups and school runs to cater for the older child, this is particularly helpful where some schools do not offer breakfast or after school clubs.
Childminders have a duty to record children’s learning and development to ensure each child is progressing and moving onto their next steps, they will be able to show you which system they use. Your permission will be sought for this.
Some parents/carers may have concerns regarding their child’s learning and development when using a childminder over a pre-school or nursery. All child care providers work under the same statutory guidelines and have to deliver the same learning and development opportunities. You can expect your childminder to offer the following:-
they are meeting their developmental milestones
o Personal social and emotional development
o Communication and Language
o Physical Development
o Understanding of the World
o Expressive Arts and Design
Choosing the right Childminder
How do you know the childminder you choose will be the right one for you and your family?
The following information will give you some guidance and support. It will help you to understand what to look for and what questions you should be asking.
Firstly, always look at more than one childminder. This will enable you to compare the services on offer and help you make a more informed choice.
The first contact is usually over the phone, although many childminders can be contacted via email. Some have websites that you can visit prior to making contact. Be mindful that if you are calling during the day the childminder will no doubt be busy with the children he/she is caring for and may not be able to discuss your requests in any detail and may have to call you back. This first contact will give you some of the basic information you need but does not substitute visiting the childminder to get a complete picture of their services.
It would be prudent to have a list of questions with you. The childminder will have a lot of information available for you but it can still be a lot to take in and easy to forget something important. This visit is a crucial so don’t be afraid to ask all your questions, the childminder will expect you to have a lot and would have put the time aside for you.
You can take the opportunity to look around the childminders setting. It is important you know where your child will spend their day, where they will eat and sleep and to see any outdoor space your child will have access to. It is vital you are happy with the environment and are secure in the knowledge your child will be safe and cared for.
Indicators of quality
All childminders work within the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Guidance and will be inspected by Ofsted. Newly registered Ofsted childminders will not initially have been graded. However, the fact that they have been registered indicates that Ofsted would have considered them “good” to register.
Other childminders that have been graded will be able to produce an inspection report that they should be able to show you or may allow you to download it from the Ofsted website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ofsted you will need the childminder's EY registration number to do this.
Childminders vary in the type of qualifications they have. However, all childminders must be able to show you their 12 hour paediatric first aid and their initial Childminder Training Certificate*.
A commitment to Continual Professional Development is a good indicator that a childminder takes their duty seriously. Safeguarding training is currently recommend by Bromley Early Years to be completed every 2 year, this may vary in other boroughs. Other types of training may includes, Observations and Planning, Behaviour Management and Health Eating.
Please be respectful by letting any unsuccessful candidates know that you won’t be requiring their services, as they may be holding off interviewing other parents until they hear from you.
What parents need to know
Finding the right childcare can be a daunting experience. Our guide to using a childminder should ease the worries and help you to ensure your first meeting goes smoothly and does not leave you feeling you have many unanswered questions. Never be afraid to ask for more information.
Ask to see the following:-
o Ofsted Registration Certificate
o Ofsted Inspection Report
o DBS Checks (for everyone over 16 in the house)
o First-aid Certificate (12 hour paediatric) – check this is in date
o Any certificates for pre-registration training
o Any other certificates/training undertaken relating to childcare
o Safeguarding Training Certificate
o Local Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures
o Public Liability Insurance
o Insurance on any vehicle to be used for childminding
Parents Portfolio should include:-
o List of activities/groups the childminder visits
o A sample menu including information on Allergens and dietary requirements
o A complete breakdown of fees to include fees paid for holidays/illness/late payment/late collection of child. When and how fees are paid, i.e. weekly, monthly, in advance. Are fees charged by the hour or by the day, if by the day what hours are in the day. Any deposit held. How much notice should be given for holidays or completion of contract and in what form, i.e. written/verbal. A list of what is included in these fees and what you are expected to supply yourself, i.e. nappies, cream, wet-wipes etc. Remember childminders are not all the same so be very clear with this information.
o A breakdown of the days and hours worked
o A parent’s guide to the EYFS
The childminder should have a sample of policies and procedures that may include:-
o Safeguarding/Child Protection policy
o Emergency Procedures
o Sick Child Policy
o Administering of Medicines
o Complaints procedures
o Settling in procedures
o Behaviour Management
o Late payment of fees
o Non collection of children procedures
o Lost child policy and procedures
o Any references that are relevant to the childminding setting.
Ask your childminder if they offer the 2,3 & 4 year old funding. A full explanation about this can be found further on our funding page.
Most childminders will also accept childcare vouchers which may be given by employers.
Childminders and the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
All childminders who care for children under the age of 5 legally have to comply with the EYFS and the requirements for the childcare register.
A copy of the parent’s guide to the EYFS should be made available to you upon request.
The complete EYFS Statutory Guidance 2017 is available from the Department for Education
and a copy should be made available to you upon request.
Ofsted are the regulatory body for childminders and as such a copy of all reports can be found on the Ofsted website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ofsted using the childminders Unique Reference number. A childminder should be able to make this report available to you.
Other documents that should be made available to you are:-
o Development Matters
o The Outcomes
o Guide to the 2 year check
o What to do if you are worried a child is being abused
o Working together to safeguard children
o The Prevent Duty
How to find a childminder
There are many ways in which you may find a childminder, many advertise with their Local Authority and can be found on the websites. There are websites which also allow childminders to advertise but always ensure you follow our checklist (this is available to download at the bottom of the page) of things to see and ask when you visit.
Once you have found your childminder
You will be asked to complete the following:-
o A legally bound contract and a child record form (copies given). These forms require information on hours and days, fees and payment, additional costs, holiday arrangements, emergency cover, renewal dates and notice periods.
o Contact details, emergency persons, passwords, who is/is not allowed to collect the child etc.
o All medical information, vaccinations, allergies, GP details, dietary requirements, any special educational needs or disabilities.
o Any likes/dislikes of the child, their favour things/people, pets, special words etc.
o A starting point’s form - these forms may include the 7 areas of learning and development that a childminder will be observing your child against. Further information on this should be given to you by your childminder and you will be able to request the full publications to read.
It is good practice for your childminder to ask what stage of learning and development the child is at before they start as this helps the childminder to settle the child in. The more information you can give to your childminder at this point will enable a smooth transition.
o All permission forms.
This list is quite long but you will only be asked to do this once usually, unless something changes. The forms include such things as permissions to take photos, using the car, going on outings, applying sun cream/nappy cream, use of large play equipment, administering medicines such as Calpol/teething gel etc.
All these forms are there to protect your child and the childminder and is a legally binding requirement for these to be in place so be prepared to set some time aside to complete the paperwork as thoroughly as possible.
To contact us at the BCMA please email:
or for training requirements or consultation