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How to Become a Childminder a Complete Guide?

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Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years or PACEY defines a childminder as someone who looks after a small number of children on a self-employed basis. Usually, the childminders work in domestic premises like their own home. A childminder is in fact more than just a nanny.

The government of the UK sets guidelines on how to become a childminder. You also need to register to work as a childminder. If you fail to register when you need to, it will be seen as a violation of the law.

So, that’s what our main focus will be here today. I will give you a step by step guide on becoming a childminder. I will also touch on some other minor topics related to our primary subject matter, like the time it takes to become a childminder and an estimate of your earning figure etc.

Table of Contents

Childminder Definition

First, let’s discuss the difference between a nanny and a childminder.

Register as a nanny

According to the official guidelines set by the government of the UK, 

“a nanny can look after children from 1 or 2 families at the same time.”

Register as a childminder

But you have to register as a childminder if all of the following applies-

Are you looking for Childminder Courses?

Are you interested in becoming a Childminder? If your answer is a yes, you are at the right place. We at Lead Academy offer our learners a range of Childminder courses. The best part is now you can avail these courses at a discounted price and that too at the comfort of your home.
So what are you waiting for? Don’t miss the opportunity. Register today!

Who cannot register as a childminder

Although, you also have to see if you meet the minimum legal requirements to work as a childminder. You’re barred from registering as a childminder if any of these apply to you-

Application for the waiver of disqualification can be submitted here.

how to become a childminder

How to Become a Childminder?

So, there are two primary routes you can take to become a childminder.
1. Registering with Office for Standards in Education or, Ofsted
2. Or, registering with a Childminder Agency

There are other ways too.

Your local council can inform you about childminding briefings that cover everything you need to prepare to register as a childminder.

Let’s discuss Ofsted first and how you can register with them.

Childminding legal requirements

There are two types of Ofsted registers.

1. The Early Years Register: Required to care for young children up to the age of five

2. The Childcare Register: Required to care for children aged five to eight years old

You’ll need to register on one or both of the registers. Since the registration process varies according to location, make sure you check out processes for your area.

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How many children can a registered childminder look after?

The legal limit, in this case, is six, provided that the children are under the age of eight. There are further regulations and guidelines that you have to follow depending on these criteria-

1. The children’s age 

2. The type of care being provided

However, the general rule is that no more than six children under the age of eight can be cared for under any circumstances.

become a childminder

Step by step guide on becoming a registered childminder

Step 01- (Passing various legal and health checks)

DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks

First, you’ll need to have your criminal records checked. Apply for enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks for yourself and anyone else aged 16 or above living with you or working in your home.

If you’ve spent time living overseas in the last five years, you’ll also need to provide a character certificate. This criterion is also applicable for anyone else aged 16 or above living with you or working in your home.

Health declaration form

You must complete a Health Declaration form if you are applying to the Early Years Register. You’ll need to fill the form and get it approved by your GP.

References

You’ll need to provide the contact details of two people who will serve as your references when you write your application.

Step 02- (Training)

Childminder training

You need to complete a childminder training course too. It has to suit the register you intend to apply for, i.e.

1. The Early Years Register 

2. The Childcare Register

If you apply for both, your training needs to follow suit as well. You’ll generally achieve a Level 3 qualification after your training.

These training courses mostly follow a similar structure. You’ll train on aspects that are governed by the criteria set by EYFS. The examples of which are, but not limited to- 

1. Food Hygiene

2. Fire Safety

3. Safeguarding Children

4. Promoting Positive Behaviour

5. Safer Recruitment

6. Preventing Radicalisation

7. Internet Safety Training

8. Autism Awareness

As you can see, they are divided into modules on areas such as-

1. Setting up the premise

2. Making sure that the premise is safe for children

3. Readying the premise for children to play and engage in various activities

4. Offering an inclusive environment

5. Working with parents of the children

Many courses are delivered online. But if possible, some providers may also offer face-to-face training.

I have a Level 3 or higher Early Years Qualification already. Do I need to complete Introductory Training?

It depends on the type of your qualification and also on what training you have completed afterwards.

The training that you may lack are-

Any course you complete since 2008 will include EYFS in the package.

Safeguarding Training needs to be completed every 2 years.

Some qualifications are for the general childcare workforce, and they’re not specific to the childminding business.

So instead of doing the entire course, only consider completing the individual modules that you lack the training of.

Paediatric first aid training

Before applying to Ofsted, you have to complete a paediatric first aid course to be trained on it. Your training should be nationally approved or accredited.

childminder checklist

Step 03- (Applying to the Ofsted register)

Early Years Register

As discussed before, if your goal is to look after children aged 0 to 5, then you need to register in Early Years Register. 

If you want, you can also join Childcare Register at no extra cost when you join the Early Years Register.

Childcare Register

The Childcare Register has 2 parts.

1. Compulsory: School-aged children between 5 and 8 years are the main focus here.
2. Voluntary: Only children over 8 years are the main focus here.

Applying for both registers

If you plan to set up a childminding business that isn’t targeted towards a particular age group, then consider applying for both registers. The process is relatively simple.
First, join the Early Years Register. Afterwards, you can apply to join the Childcare Register at no extra cost.

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Step 4 (Preparation for the visit by Ofsted)

Home inspection

After you apply for the Early Years Register, Ofsted will contact you and arrange an inspection.
An in-depth guide is available from Ofsted to help you prepare for the inspection visit. Go through the guide extensively and make sure you meet all their minimum criteria for all aspects of childminding standards.
When the inspector from Ofsted office visits you, they will check-

Risk assessment of your childminding premise

The inspector will also check if the premise where you will care for the children is adequately suitable. This does not just include the home but also its surroundings like gardens, pools etc. They’ll assess if the whole environment is child safe.

Remember, you’re only allowed one registration visit. So make sure that everything has been taken care of before the inspector visits.

The inspections only apply for the Early Years Register application process. It’s not necessary for the care of children over the age of five.

During the inspection

The Ofsted officer will go through a checklist whereby your place is rated. Their checklist will include-

Watching the children at your care and their playing environment
Talking to you and the children
Observing how you interact with the children and vice versa
Check the children’s levels of understanding and if they take part in learning
Discussing with you regarding the children’s knowledge, skills, and abilities
Observing how you routine your care and how you support the children’s personal development
They’ll also assess how well you know the EYFS requirements

After the inspection

After the inspection, you’ll receive a grade. Your grade is accompanied by a report telling you what requirements have been met and what you can improve upon.

The following are the grades that you’ll receive:

1. Outstanding
2 . Good
3 . Requires improvement
4 . Inadequate

Ofsted will publish your report online within 10 working days after they send the report to you. You must provide the parents of the children you care for with a copy of the report after the inspection.
If a new parent wants their child to be taken care of by you and they want to see your Ofsted report, you’re legally bound to comply with this request.

a childminder

Step 5- (Legal requirements)

Register with HM Revenue and Customs

Most Registered Childminders are self-employed. They run their own business. So you are required to register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

It ensures that you’re paying the correct Income Tax and National Insurance. You are also legally bound to keep the financial records of your business.

Register as a data controller

If you keep your business records electronically, you must register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and follow the Data Protection Act 2018 and the GDPR. This is because you’ll be recording people’s personal information too.

However, you’re exempted from this law if you do not record this information electronically.

Note that electronic records include records kept on a computer or a phone etc.

Insurance

Once you’re registered, you’ll need to get Public Liability Insurance immediately. You also need to maintain your insurance even if you don’t care for any children afterwards.

Several companies provide this. It’s important to check policy details to ensure you’ll get sufficient cover.

Morton Michel specialises in childcare insurance. Childminding UK members receive discounted Public Liability Insurance from them.

But there are other insurance providers to choose from too, like-

You’ll also need to review your home insurance policy as well. Companies may charge additional premiums to include business use or contents cover if you are childminding. This also applies to your car if you transport the children with it.

Quick recap

That was a lot to cover! Let’s recap in a simplified language so you can easily visualise the whole process at a glance-

Once you’re through all the steps, your can start your business.

Now let’s quickly run through some common questions people ask when starting a business of their own in childminding.

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FAQs

1. What are the initial costs of becoming a childminder?

See this table below to get an idea of the initial cost you’ll incur when you start childminding. Remember, this is just a loose reference.

ItemCost figure
Pre-registration training≈ £300
First aid training ≈ £130
DBS check ≈ £50
Ofsted registration fee ≈ £35 or £103 (Varies depending on the children’s age group)
Childminding Insurance + ICO registration ≈ £100

These are just the cost figures that are fairly fixed. However, you’ll also incur additional costs to set up your premises to be suitable for children. After the Ofsted inspector gives you recommendations to childsafe your home, you may also incur some additional expenses there. So keep these factors in mind when calculating your finance.

How many children can I look after as a childminder?

Registered childminders can only care for a certain number of children at one time. This number varies according to place.

For example, in England, this number is 6 (under the age of 8), while in Wales, this number is 10 (under the age of 12).

Let’s focus on just England.

In England, registered childminders can care for 6 children up to the age of 8.

But, only 3 among all 6 children can be under 5. If you work alone, only 1 child out of the 8 can be under 1.

Remember, if you have any child who is under 8, the ratio discussed above will include your child too.

If caring for children over 8 doesn’t have any adverse effect on the care of those needing EYFS provisions, you may care for them too.

However, there are exceptions. All in all, the whole thing depends on certain criteria like-

1. How long you are providing care and the quality time that the children receive
2. The number of your furniture and suitable equipment
3. Indoor space, etc.

How long does it take to become a registered childminder?

How long the above process takes depends on several factors.

The time that your childminder training course will take depends on your course provider. The Ofsted registration process can take up to 12 weeks to complete.

So, the entire process may take a few months.

The average amounts the UK registered childminders earn

The Department for Education ran a survey called the Survey of Childcare and Early Years Providers: Local Authority Fees Statistics, England, 2019. It was found that the average hourly fees for care provided by childminders and by child age groups was as follows:

£4.92 per hour for children under 2
£4.88 per hour for children aged 2 years
£4.80 per hour for 3-4 year old pre-school children
£4.84 per hour for children of school age

According to the “Childminder Fees Survey 2017”, the average income figure of a childminder is £18,600.

But since there are costs associated with being a childminder like food, equipment, fuel etc. After deducting the cost to run their business, the average net income of a childminder was calculated to be around £10,100 in the UK.

Can I be a childminder without any qualifications?

If you still haven’t figured it out, the answer is no. Children are delicate things. Nobody will take risks with their children leaving them with a person who doesn’t know how to handle them.

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Conclusion

Being a childminder is no easy feat. It sounds relatively straightforward on paper, but since taking care of children is tricky, the government regulations had to be strict to ensure that our children are left to a capable, safe hand. 

Thanks to these regulations, we can leave our children in the care of childminders without worrying if they’ll be taken care of properly.

If you want to become a childminder, you’ll also have to respect these regulations and try your best to create the best environment possible for the children you’ll be taking care of.

Childminding should be a passion. This is why those who are good with children are successful in this business. This guide has explained to you how to become a childminder in a vivid manner. If you’re one of those passionate people about children, I hope the instructions given here have been in plenty of detail for you to set up a successful business.
We wish you all the best in your future endeavours!

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