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Childminders

The facts

  • Registered childminders look after your child along with other children, usually in their own home.
  • Self-employed, they decide on working hours. Most are willing to work early mornings, evenings and weekends, as well as part-time. Some Childminders are registered for overnight care.
  • All registered childminders are required to undertake a basic training course, including first aid, and most go on to do further training and professional development.
  • Your child should experience learning and development activities suitable for their age.
  • Childminders provide flexible childcare to suit the needs of working parents.

How can I be sure of good quality care?

All childminders who care for children under the age of eight must be registered and inspected by the Office for Standards in Education, (Ofsted), who carry out regular checks on the home and childminder. All adults (16+) living and working in the homes of childminders caring for children under eight will be police checked. Childminders who care for children aged eight and over can be registered on the voluntary part of the Ofsted Childcare Register (OCR) enabling eligible parents to access financial support through working tax credits and employer childcare vouchers. Not all have childcare qualifications. Once you have met and interviewed a childminder, you will get a feel for whether they are suitable for your children.

What will it cost me?

You will need to negotiate hours, terms and conditions with your childminder. Rates vary from area to area and can cost you on average £3.75 an hour per child.

Is it for me?

  • I need flexible care because I work irregular hours, which do not fit in with a normal 8am-6pm nursery day.
  • I want my child to be cared for in a family home.
  • I want my child to have one carer.
  • I have children of different ages and it is important they are cared for together.
  • Mixing with large groups of children is not a priority right now.

Questions to ask your childminder

  • How long have you been childminding?
  • What extra training have you done?
  • What other children will be with my child, and how old are they?
  • Can I have the phone numbers of other parents you work for so I can follow up references?
  • Have you joined any quality assurance schemes?
  • Do you belong to a childminder network?
  • Do you charge for sick days?
  • Where will my child sleep? Make sure it is quiet.
  • How do you spend the day and how do the other children’s schedules fit in with my child?
  • Do you go out on day trips? Where to?
  • Do you have properly-fitted car seats?
  • What kind of meals and drinks do you give the children?
  • Do you keep a file about a child’s progress?
  • Will you agree to a trial run (say a couple of mornings) to see how it is going to work out? Most childminders will agree to this.

Also remember...

  • Ask for the childcarer’s up-to-date registration, public liability insurance and first aid certificates.
  • Check all rooms and gardens are insured; otherwise your child will be excluded from those areas.
  • Who is coming and going? Ask how many other adults will be in the house.
  • Agree on feeding, learning, TV watching and discipline policies.
  • Any contract should cover hours, pay, sickness and holiday pay.

You are entitled to free, part-time early education for 3 and 4 year olds if your childminder is Accredited. Some 2 year olds are also entitled to free part-time early education with an Accredited childminder.

If you would like further information on childminders and a list of those with current vacancies in the Medway area please call Medway Family Information Service on 01634 332195, email familyinfo@medway.gov.uk or visit www.medwayfisd.com.

For further information about the registration and inspection of Childminders visit the Ofsted website www.ofsted.gov.uk.

Medway Family Information Service cannot recommend or endorse any childcare providers and do not accept responsibility for the accuracy of this information.

This information is available in different formats and languages.
Contact Medway Family Information Service on 01634 332195 for details.

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