…and how to find the best childminder course.
If you are a single parent, then working as a childminder may be something worthwhile considering. It enables you to work without having to pay for childcare yourself if you choose to work out of your own home. In addition, you can set your own hours and train and register in under 12 weeks. For single parents trying to get back into work, childcare can be incredibly expensive, so working as a childminder whilst looking after your own child, can potentially solve this dilemma.
But personal situation aside, a career in the childcare industry is very fulfilling. You get the chance to help a young child develop into a happy and confident kid. Of course, if you want to pursue a career as a childminder in England, it is vital that you obtain the necessary skills and qualifications. To this end, it is important to choose a childminder course that best suits your needs and preferences. The choice is simple. You either learn essential childminding skills from a certified agency or register directly with Ofsted. However, with every choice, there are certain benefits and drawbacks.
In this article, we will outline a step-by-step approach to choosing the best childminder course for you.
1. Ask yourself if childminder is the job for you
Before venturing out to enter the childcare industry, it is vital to ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you love caring for children?
- Do you want to spend every day with young kids?
- Are you physically fit enough to lift children and pushchairs?
- Are you responsible and patient enough to care for children?
- Do you have the space, and can you make your home and garden safe and risk-free?
- If you are renting: Does your landlord allow you to use your house or flat for child minding?
- Are childminders needed in your area?
- Is it worth registering if my own children count towards the childcare ratio?
It’s important to be honest with yourself. A career as a childminder can be extremely rewarding and have a range of benefits, from a reliable salary to a high degree of flexibility. However, it is not for everyone, and this type of work requires a certain type of person and a particular disposition. You also have to take into account that your own children will be counted towards any childcare ratios that need to be adhered to, so you need to work out, if childminding is a worthwhile job in your circumstances. Last but not least, if you are planning on setting up your own childminding service at home, it is essential that you are able to make your home a healthy, safe, and risk-free environment.
2. Check if you can meet all the criteria to become a childminder
If you wish to become a childminder for children under the age of 8, you need to either register with Ofsted directly or with a Childminder Agency, which will take care of a lot of the paperwork and registration for you. Before you can become a childminder, you must meet several requirements, so check if you are able to meet these before you sign up for training. To work as a childminder, you need to:
- be at least 18 years old
- have the right to work in the UK
- have a DBS Criminal Record check (includes anyone else 16+ in your household)
- complete a childminder training course to meet the Early Years Foundation Stage framework requirements
- complete an approved and accredited Paediatric First Aid course for the age group you train/apply for
- apply for Ofsted’s Early Years (0-5) or Common Core Training (5 and over)
- obtain a health declaration form from your doctor
- prepare for a risk assessment of your home and garden
- get public liability insurance
- check if you need to notify your car or home insurance of business use
3. Choose who to register with
If you think you will be able to fulfil the requirements to become a registered childminder, it’s time to choose a training course. But before you do, you need decide, how you will register:
You can register with Ofsted directly. Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills and a governmental body that regulates, trains, and certifies childcare professionals in England. If you register with Ofsted, you will need to find and pay for a suitable training course via your local authority. Choosing a good course that prepares you well for your Ofsted inspection is especially important as the Ofsted report will be published online. You will also receive an Ofsted grading, and you will need to provide any inspection report to parents. Overall, it’s a slower process and less support available, but the ongoing fees are minimal.
Alternatively, you could register with an Ofsted-registered childminding agency. These will carry out inspections and manage childminders to the legal standards required by Ofsted. At the time of writing, there are eleven registered agencies listed on the Ofsted website. A reputable agency will help with training, registration, support, and getting start. When you choose to go through a childminding agency, the process is comparatively simple. Usually, these agencies complete your paperwork and aim at minimising the hassle for you. The benefits of choosing a childminder agency include fast registration, extra training resources, post-training support, and access to interest-free loans (depending on the terms) to cover any set up costs for example. Some will even provide training for free.
Next, you will need to decide which age group you wish to look after – the under 5s, school children 5 to 8 years, or both. You will then need to register for Early Years, Childcare, or both.
4 . Find the best childminder training for you
Whether you attend a childminder course with your local authority, an Ofsted approved online course, or sign up with an accredited childminder agency, the choice of training and wildly varying prices can be confusing. It’s important to ensure that you attend the following training:
- safeguarding training (also referred to as child protection training course)
- paediatric first aid training for the chose age group/s
- early years foundation training or Childcare training
- additional courses that are recommended are food hygiene, safe sleep, and behaviour management training.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the choices you have to make, registering with a childminder agency might be the easiest option. Reliable childminding agencies cover not only the basic skills necessary to qualify as a childminder, they continue to offer support and training, assist you in finding a suitable childminder job and start out on the path of self-employment. Always look for a course that develops your childcare skills further. After all, becoming a childminder demands a range of skills and knowledge.
5. Keep track of legal requirements
Choosing a childminder course that also teaches you about legal requirements can be greatly beneficial. As a childminder, you can choose to become self-employed. Therefore, an in-depth understanding of budgets, registration, taxes, and insurance is vital.
A reliable childminding agency will provide such information as part of the course. Furthermore, you will receive additional tips to augment your skills, for example, a course that develops your soft skills. Such training can prove extremely useful in the long run, both within and outside the sector.
To sum it up..
Working from home is a wonderful luxury, not just for single parents or any parents of young kids; and working as a childminder is so rewarding. The right training course will set you up for a fulfilling career as a childminder and will allow you to enjoy the freedom of being self-employed. So, take your time, do your research, and make a well-informed decision!