What is a Childminder?
Childminder Job Description
The legal definition of a childminder is a person who works with children for more than 2 hours a day in their own home for reward.
Are childminders registered?
Yes, in England, most childminders are registered with Ofsted; some English childminders are registered with childminder agencies. In Wales childminders are registered with CSSIW; in Scotland childminders are registered with the Care Commission. Registration with the governing body of the country in which the childminder lives means ensuring childminders attain a certain level of skills, knowledge and competency to fulfil their many roles.
For example, all childminders in England must be suitable to work with children, have paediatric first aid training (renewed every 3 years) and further training to fulfil their role, including undertaking a safeguarding / child protection course and regular continued professional development.
Legal requirements for childminders
All childminders must have public liability insurance and business insurance to drive with childminded children in their cars (if relevant). They will also usually have completed an introduction to childminding training course (some childminders have experience in other early years fields). Ofsted carry out a rigorous pre-registration visit to check the childminder’s house and knowledge before registering them as well.
All childminders in England must comply with the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS – for children from birth to age 5) which is the statutory framework and the Childcare Register (legislation which covers the care of children from age 5 upwards). Further legislation might apply from the Local Authority planning department, fire and food hygiene laws, health and safety legislation, the Information Commissioners Office (data protection legislation) and the Equality Act 2010.
Childminding is not the ‘easy’ working from home option. All childminders are regularly monitored by Ofsted - and often by their Local Authority - and must, by law (see the Childcare Register legislation), undertake regular safeguarding training and inform parents about how they can make a complaint against them.
Some of the responsibilities of a childminder include -
Advertising - childminders must market and advertise their own businesses;
Business administration - much of a childminder’s free time is taken up with ensuring ongoing records
such as attendance registers, accounts, policies and procedures (Safeguarding / Child Protection and
Complaints are statutory and must be shared with parents), record keeping such as 2 year progress
checks, risk assessments etc. All documentation must comply with the EYFS and Childcare Registers
and be regularly updated;
Health and safety - a safe and healthy environment must be provided for children. this includes
compliance with Safer Food Better Business for Childminders and EU allergy legislation, doing regular
risk assessments and understanding the hazards children face at different stages of their lives;
Nutrition - children must be offered a good nutritional balance through the day. Most childminders will
offer parents information about their healthy eating ethos and provide a copy of their menu (if food is
Training - to ensure their continued professional development, childminders attend regular training in
the evenings or at weekends – work does not stop when the last child leaves the setting;
Working with others - childminders should not work in isolation. They are advised to build positive and
rewarding working relationships with parents, other settings children attend and the local community to
ensure children’s early years experiences are complemented.
Childminding is not just about minding the babies!
Childminders must, of course, provide high quality childcare – but childminding is far more than that! Childminders are inspected by Ofsted and must demonstrate how they provide a high-quality learning environment for early years children, including teaching them new things and supporting their ongoing interests. Most childminders have a play-based curriculum which aims to ensure children are making excellent progress towards the statutory Early Learning Goals.
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