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 requried to be be registered?
In England, a childminder must be registered with Ofsted or a childminder agency.
In Scotland, a childminder must be registered with the Scottish Care Inspectorate.
In Wales, a childminder must be registered with Care Inspectorate Wales.
New parents should ask to see the provider’s certificate and other documentation before taking a place for their child.
This guidance includes references relating to childminder registration in England – however, while some of the qualification requirements are slightly different, the job description is broadly the same for all countries
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 and responsibilities.
As part of childminder registration, you must be suitable to work with children and it is recommended that you complete a training course which will give you the skills, knowledge and experience you need to fulfil the role. Childcare.co.uk offer an Introduction to Home-Based Childcare training course for childminders and nannies in England.
Childminders must also undertake a 12-hour paediatric first aid training course which must be renewed every 3 years and further training to fulfil their role, including attending 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). All this, plus DBS checks, health checks and an Ofsted registration inspection must be completed before Ofsted register new childminders and there are rigorous procedures in place to ensure all childminders keep Ofsted updated with changes which might impact on their suitability to continue their registration.
Once registered, 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. If they care for children aged 5+ they must also be registered on and comply with the requirements of the Childcare Register.
Further legislation also applies, including the Equality Act 2010, the Prevent Duty 2015, requirements from the Local Authority planning department, fire and food hygiene laws, health and safety legislation, registration with the Information Commissioners Office (data protection legislation) etc.
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
Ongoing 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.
Childminders are NOT babysitters
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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