How to become a childminder

How to become a childminder

«Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.» — John F Kennedy, former American President.

There can be no greater joy than caring for children who represent all that is best in us. Moreover, besides the obvious satisfaction of seeing the little ones blossom before your eyes, there are several advantages to being a childminder, such as working from the comforts of your own home, choosing your own working hours and quantum of work, caring for your own children while working, and in general, work at a job in which no two consecutive days are same. Childminders also enjoy various financial benefits. For example, childminders who have newly registered themselves with Ofsted can receive a start-up grant averaging up to ?300 to help cover the costs of setting up their business (e.g. insurance, safety equipment, toys, NCMA or National Childminding Association membership).

A professional childminder is one who looks after one or more children under the age of eight for more than two hours a day, for reward on domestic premises (other than the child’s home). Such a person must be registered with Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted), which is the regulatory body for childcare in the UK. There are two registers maintained by Ofsted — the Early Years Register, for childminders caring for children from birth to 31 August following their 5th birthday and the childminder caring for children under 8 and the compulsory part of the Ofsted Childcare Register, for childminders caring for children from 1 September following their 5th birthday up to and including the age of 7.

Before registering, you need to perform the following steps:

Step I Attend a pre-registration session to find out more about becoming a childminder. Step II After submitting the application and paying the fee of ?30, you and your family members aged over 16 have to apply for a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) disclosure. Also, you have to be registered with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) as part of the Vetting and Barring Scheme.

Step III You have to complete a paediatric first-aid course (before registering) and an introductory childcare course (within six months of registration). After registration, you have to pass the first unit of the Home-based Childcare (Cache level 3) diploma course and get public liability insurance.

Step IV You will have to pass an inspection by an Ofsted officer.

Step V If all the above steps are successful, you will receive your registration certificate and be able to start work as a registered childminder. You must pay a renewal fee of ?30 annually to continue being on the Ofsted rolls.

You can look after up to six children under the age of eight, including your own children. No more than three children can be below the age of five, and no more than one child can be below the age of one. Ofsted may make an exception if you want to care for more than one child under the age of one from the same family, for example twins. The available space at your home may also determine the number of children you are allowed to care for.

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