Step 1: Have A Love of Children and Foster the Skills to Care for them.
Step 2: Get a paediatric first aid certificate
Step 3: Complete an approved childminder training course
Step 4: Obtain A Criminal Background Certificate (DBS) For Yourself And Anyone Living At The Site Where Children Are Being Cared For
Step 5: Register With Ofsted
Step 6: Use Best Practices And Prepare for Inspection Of Premises
Step 7: Get Childminder Insurance, Prepare Your Business
Step 8: Receive Ofsted Registration
Step 9: Join A Childminder Site Like Kwicare.com
1) Have a love of children and foster the skills to care for them
The most important step in becoming a childminder is determining whether or not it is the right profession for you. If you feel comfortable, natural and enjoy being around children, and have experience caring for children, childminding may be the perfect vocation for you.
Part of childminding is fostering a safe environment while another part is encouraging learning and growth. Being a competent teacher for children is an essential part of being a good childminder.
If you are interested in becoming a childminder but lack experience, there are plenty of opportunities available to volunteer to care for or teach children in all capacities as well as opportunities to assist as a volunteer or staff with a local childminder or nursery.
If you don’t have experience teaching children, there are plenty of opportunities to hone that skill as well – reading to children at local libraries or volunteering with assorted charities may bolster your confidence in teaching children.
It is important to also have premises available to host children. Typically, this is the childminder’s house. It is important that it is clean, well organised and safe. Ofsted will inspect the household or facility where childminding is being conducted.
In addition, location can mean a lot in childminding. Having a location near to schools and parks, near to healthy populations of children and in a location that is truly safe for children is ideal. Childminders with a clean, child-friendly home or facility near to schools and parks and in a safe location will definitely have an advantage.
2) Get A Pediatric First Aid Certificate
If you’re keen to become a childminder, you want the children you look after to be safe. In order to make sure the safest possible environments are enjoyed in childcare, those interested in becoming childminders are obliged to become certified in paediatric first aid.
To become certified in paediatric first aid you must attend an accredited course.
A good source for finding paediatric first aid courses can be found through the British Red Cross.
3) Complete Approved Childminder Training Course
The next step in becoming a childminder is to attend and complete a locally-approved childminder training course. Sometimes referred to as CYPOP5, completion of an approved childminder training course is required to register as a childminder.
The training will improve the understanding of logistics, the basics of establishing your childminding service, ensuring child safety, encouraging and accommodating play and education and also touching on fostering rapport and interacting with parents. There are many options for receiving this training, including online courses.
Local authorities will be able to offer advice on authorised courses. Ofsted has a portal to help you get in contact with local, relevant authorities – click here to use the Ofsted site to find your local authority.
Another source is PACEY, which offers a UK-wide training course that is accepted by most local authorities. This option is available as an online course, too.
4) Obtain Criminal Background Certificate (DBS) for yourself and those living at the site where children are hosted
Before registering as a childminder, you will need to get a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) certificate. This is a background check. It typically takes about 6 weeks and costs an average of £52. You can learn more about these checks on gov.co.uk.
Anyone 16 and older and living at the premises on which the childcare is being conducted will also be subject to a background check.
5) Register With Ofsted
There are two Ofsted registers which concern a prospective childminder. The Early Years Register, which is compulsory if you intend on caring for children under 5 and the Childcare Register, which is required if you intend on caring for children aged 5-7 years. Childminders caring only for children 8 and older may voluntarily register, but are not required to do so.
Before you register you will also have to complete the Health Declaration Booklet, affirming you are physically capable of caring for children.
An overview of what you need to register:
- A UK Criminal Record Certificate
- Criminal record certificates for anyone aged 16 or older and living on the site where you are caring for children
- Proof of completion of paediatric first aid training for the group you are looking after
- Proof of completion of childcare training approved by local authorities
- Health Declaration Booklet
- Two references with contact information
For a more complete breakdown of the registration process, here’s Ofsted’s ebook on Early Years and Childcare registration.
If you or any adults who live at the site where children will be cared for have lived abroad in the last 5 years, a certificate of good conduct will be required from that country’s embassy.
6) Use Best Practices And Prepare for Inspection Of Premises
For those caring for children under the age of 5, an inspection will come shortly after registering (Early Years Register). For those that aren’t going to be caring for children under 5 and registering with the Early Years Register, an inspection won’t come with registration but can be expected throughout the natural course of operating as a childminder.
When operating your childminding service, it’s important that you:
- Ensure child safety.
- Assure corporal punishment is not used.
- Appropriately monitor and address child behaviour.
- Be present at all times. Assistants may care for children for up to 2 hours a day if their guardians have given permission.
- Do not smoke on the premises.
- Do not consume alcohol or other drugs while caring for children or just before caring for children. It is important to not be under the influence of prescription drugs that may compromise your ability to care for children.
- You must be at least 18. Someone 18 or over must always be present.
- Make sure the site and everything within the site are safe for children.
- Make sure the facility is secure and that no one potentially threatening to the children or unaware of the presence of children may enter.
- If you provide food, there must be a suitable area to prepare it, and any food served must be generally nutritious and healthy.
- Assure drinking water and adequate bathroom facilities are available.
- Provide access to outdoor activities either on site on nearby.
This is only a brief list of things you must do when caring for children, and what the premises must be like – you can find more information on requirements for Ofsted registered childminders here.
6) Get Childminder Insurance, Prepare Your Business
You will need childminding insurance. You are going to need to keep accurate books related to attendance and child activities and behaviour. You will also have to keep accurate books for tax and insurance reasons. Most childminders are considered self-employed and will have tax requirements associated with that income.
Being self-employed means that you are responsible for paying your own tax and National Insurance contributions so you must register your business with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for self-assessment and National Insurance purposes
Childminder insurance is requisite to protect the childminder and the children.
8) Receive Your Ofsted Registration
Once you receive your Ofsted registration, the task will be to organize and run a successful childminding business. If you are serving food, you may need to register as a food business, which will include a level 1 food hygiene course. Your local authority may also require the involvement of the Environmental Health Department if snacks are served to the children.
You will need to set budgets for resources, equipment, advertising and so forth. You will need to set fees. Be clear when communicating with parents/guardians about costs. You may want to continue ongoing education such as the Level 1 Safeguarding Children course.
You will need to keep careful financial records as well as records of child development and behaviour per Ofsted. You will want to plan children’s activities and keep records of those activities. You will always want to be prepared for Ofsted inspection. This will happen within the first 6 months of registration.
9) Attract Clients
Now you are all set to conduct business as a childminder, now all you have to do is to find parents in need of childcare. Word of mouth, internet marketing and traditional advertising should all be considered. But first, sign up for Kwicare, our new database that connects families and childminders across all of London. If you are a registered childminder with available space, list with us today!