Childminders look after other people's children in their own home, providing care in a home environment. They are able to offer more flexible care and often link in with other services in the area such as playgroups, libraries and children centres.
Registration and checks
Childminders must be registered with Ofsted or with a childminder agency if they are paid to look after children under 8 for more than 2 hours.
Ofsted will carry out regular inspections to make sure the childminders and their homes are suitable and safe and that the quality of care and learning meets the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). They will also check that childminders and any other adult (16+) living or working in the house have been checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service.
Childminders set their hours of work and tend to offer a flexible service to meet the needs of the parent. Many childminders are willing to work early mornings, evenings and weekends as well as offering part time care to help with the school drop off/collection and school holidays. Some childminders are registered to offer overnight care.
Childminders are self-employed and set their own rates.
Number of Children
A childminder is allowed to care for up to six children under the age of 8, this includes their own children. Of these six, only three of them can be aged under five, with only one of these being under the age of one.
Exceptions to the ratio will only be made in certain circumstances and only if the childminder can demonstrate that the individual needs of all children in their care are met. An example of this would be the care of twins under the age of one but in all circumstances the number of children cared for under the age of eight must not exceed six.
If a childminder employs an assistant, they too can care for the same number of children in the permitted ratio.