What is a childminder?
A childminder is a person who looks after one or more children for more then a total of two hours a day in their own home, for reward.
What do I need to become a childminder?
Before you apply to Ofsted to be registered as a childminder, you must complete some Local Authority approved training. Hampshire County Council's approved pre-registration course is the Level 3 Award 'Preparing to work in Homebased Childcare' accredited by CACHE. The course is available online through PACEY and may also be available through your local FE College. Please contact them direct for more information including the fees to be charged.
Before registering with Ofsted you must hold a suitable Paediatric First Aid certificate. You can choose which First Aid training provider you go to, however the course you undertake must meet the requirements as stated in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage - effective September 2014 (page 21 para 3.25).
Newly registered childminders should complete a suitable food hygiene course within 6 months of registration and prior to their first Ofsted grading visit. Food hygiene courses are available to Hampshire childminder practitioners as an E-learning package through the SfYC Training Subscription scheme. Childminders who choose not to join the training subscription scheme will need to source an alternative food hygiene course that meets the Ofsted requirements.
The Food Standards Agency has developed a childminders pack for registered childminders or childcarers on domestic premises, who provide meals and drinks for the children in their care and who now have to register with their local district council.
This pack is called 'Safer food, better business for childminders', and enables childminders to meet regulations with as little paperwork as possible.
To obtain a copy of this pack, please contact the Food Standards Agency publications line on 0845 606 0667 or by email email@example.com. Alternatively visit their website.
How do I start?
For more information about working as a childminder contact the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) on 0845 200 3890 or firstname.lastname@example.org. PACEY will explain the process to you, and direct you to Hampshire County Council approved pre-registration course.
Read the PACEY blog for registered childminders in Hampshire for inspiration
What is involved in the registration process?
If you act as a childminder for children under eight years old without being registered, it could lead to prosecution. Therefore it is in your interest to be registered with Ofsted. There may be certain circumstances where you do not need to be registered - e.g. if you are looking after a friend's child(ren). See the Gov.UK website for further details.
Once you have completed the online application form, Ofsted will carry out some checks to make sure you are suitable to look after children. These include health and criminal records checks.
An Ofsted inspector will also visit your home to check whether it is suitable, safe and ready to take children.
The whole registration process can take between three and six months. Please do not start the registration process until you are ready to offer childminding services. If you are not yet living in the house you intend to childmind from; are currently pregnant and not planning on working as a childminder immediately; or are having work done to your house which means that it is not practical to look after children; it is advisable to wait.
Please see information and guidance on the support available from PACEY.
What are the benefits to becoming a childminder?
Great job satisfaction that comes with the pleasure and enjoyment of working with children.
Flexibility - you can set your own working hours and decide how many children you look after.
You are your own boss.
Professional status with the opportunity to gain recognised qualifications and develop skills.
Defined career path - progression available by becoming a support childminder (mentoring new childminders); offering free early years education places; hosting professional support sessions, or becoming a childminder who offers community placements.
How many children can I look after?
You can look after up to six children under the age of eight (including your own). Of these, no more than three children can be under the age of five, and no more than one child under one year old.
The space available in your home will affect the number of children you can be registered to look after. You may be able to look after more children if you hire an assistant.
The financial side of childminding?
As you will be self-employed you can set your own rates of pay - the amount you earn will depend on how many children you look after and for how long.
It is important to research into what the 'local market' is offering to families. Visit the Family Information Directory for details of Hampshire services.
You can deduct business- related expenses from your income before you pay tax. See the Gov.UK website for further details.