Registration in England

There are a lot of steps to climb before you are allowed to register as a childminder in England. The procedure for registering as a childminder has changed in England. You can find up-to-date information on this page of the Ofsted website -

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/early-years-and-childcare/become-childcare-provider-or-childminder/register-childminder.

You might find the following breakdown of steps useful - 

- Permission - check and see if you need permission from your landlord / whether your deeds say you can run a business from home. There is no point in starting on the registration process if you cannot use your property to run a business!

- Family support - make sure you have the full backing of your family – it will be tough for them too. They need to support you, be prepared to put up with extra children round the place and parents coming and going, as well as being there when things go wrong;

- Local demand - talk to other childminders / parents in your area and find out if there is a demand for more minders; think about the hours you are prepared to work; check out the need for before / after school care in your area etc;

- Your house - look honestly at your house and ask yourself if it is suitable for minding.  Do you have an outside play area? It is compulsory in the EYFS to take children outside every day and that will mean a lot of trips to the park if you don’t have a garden.  Do you have places for children to eat, play, rest and sleep? Can you effectively cater for more children in your kitchen?

- Online support - join the childminding forum for help, advice, friendship and information;

- Children's Information Service - speak to your local CIS and ...

o    Find out about a pre-registration briefing session and put your name down for a place. You will find out lots of information and advice and they will tell you who to ring locally if you have any questions;

o    Ask about funding and find out if there is a start up grant available in your area. Sadly there are less start up grants nowadays because of government cut backs - but it you don't ask you won't get!

o    Find out about dates for a First Aid course – it must be a 12 hour paediatric course and you must have completed it before you start childminding;

o    Ask about start dates for an Introduction to Childminding Practice course (ICP). This can be home-study, but it is more expensive to fund than going to an actual course and you don’t get to meet like-minded people working from home. Whichever, way, there is an exam at the end which you will need to pass before you start working.   It is a requirement of the revised EYFS which is law from 1st Sept 2012 that you complete your training course before you can register with Ofsted.

o   Planning permission - find out if you will need planning permission. Certain local authorities request it and if you are registering to work to work with another childminder or assistant and intend to ‘up’ your numbers, you will need to apply well in advance. There may be a charge for applying, but if you do not do it your authority have the legal right to stop you operating.

o    Ask any other questions you are worrying about.

 

You can also ask them about when you get your...

o    DBS (formerley CRB) forms – you must complete a form for every member in your household over the age of 16.

o    Medical check forms - you must ask your doctor to complete and return a medical check. In some instances Ofsted follow this up by requiring you to visit their own doctor.

Note - the registration process has changed - 2014 - and you must have DBS and medical check in place before you ask Ofsted to come and do your pre-registration visit.

 

While waiting for all this to go through you need to –

·       Write your policies and procedures – the statutory ones are listed here –

http://www.childmindinghelp.co.uk/forum/paperwork-policies-procedures-permissions-forms-contracts-booklets/.

·       Write (or buy) your contracts, permission forms, fees policy and other documentation needed to manage your business – you will find lots of free information here –

http://www.childcare.co.uk/information/childminder-plus.

·       Think about how you will run your provision – what days do you want to work? What hours? Where will children play? Do you have a ‘wish list’ of ideas for the future to show Ofsted?

·       Think about how you will teach children –

http://independentchildminders.weebly.com/blog/childminding-and-teaching

·       And monitor children’s learning and development –
http://www.childmindinghelp.co.uk/freeresources/freedownloads.html.

·       Read and make sure you comply with the EYFS and Childcare Registers –

EYFS - http://www.foundationyears.org.uk/eyfs-statutory-framework/.

Childcare Register –

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/factsheet-childcare-requirements-for-childcare-register-childminders-and-home-childcarers.

·       Check you have enough floor space for childminded children – and your own children who are always in your ratios, even when they are not in the house –

http://www.childmindinghelp.co.uk/freeresources/Free%20downloads/spacerequirementseyfs2012.html.

·       Make sure your house and garden are safe – you will find lots of help here –

http://eyfsforchildminders.webnode.com/risk-assessments-and-the-eyfs/.

.       Start to think about things like your menus, how you will keep children occupied all day (your planning) and make a wish list of toys and equipment (Ofsted like wish lists)

 

Pre registration visit - Ofsted will then contact you for a pre-registration visit . Before your visit you will have to pay a £35 registration fee. This is not refundable if you change your mind. 

·       Complete the Ofsted ‘Preparing for your Registration Visit’ document –

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/childcare-registration-form-early-years-register-preparing-for-your-registration-visit. During your visit, Ofsted will use the questions in this document to check your understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a childminder.  The inspector will also look round your house and garden. 

Make a list of any questions you want to ask.

 

At the end of the visit, your inspector will tell you if s/he thinks your home and garden is suitable for childminding. S/he might give you a list of things to do before Ofsted will ok your registration. 

 

Insurance - investigate insurance options.  There are 2 main insurers for childminders...

  • Morton Michel – this is a specialist insurance company which insures for home, car etc. As a customer, you get an informative monthly newsletter and a copy of Creative Steps magazine emailed through the year;

  • NCMA  – this is a registered charity which also offers insurance. You need to pay a membership fee as well as insurance;

Both companies sell introductory toolkits containing examples of paperwork and contracts etc, which should come out of your start-up grant (if you get one of course);

 

Start advertising! You should be getting towards the end of your registration process now and it is time to tell people a new Childminder is on the scene. See my advertising ideas page.

 

Ring and inform ...

·         Your household insurance – working from home may change how they charge you for accidental damage on some policies and your policy cost may increase;

·         Your mortgage company – some need to know if you are running a business from the premises;

·         Your car insurance – you will need a policy which specifically mentions that you are a childminder and insured to carry children in your car. You need to be ready to show this to parents and Ofsted on request;

·         Food hygiene at your local council offices. As you are providing food for children (whether or not you actually cook, even if you just store food sent by parents or just provide cold snacks), you must register as a food business. The law changed in Jan 2014 and Ofsted now register new childminders with their LA food hygiene - you should check that this has happened.

- Registering for tax - you are legally obliged to inform the Tax Office as soon as you receive any money for childminding (including any grants) that you are now self-employed. I have included ideas for keeping your accounts on my Paying tax page.

- Registering for NI - you must pay class 2 National Insurance to maintain your pension entitlement and other benefits.

- Information Commissioners Office - you must register with ICO as a Data Handler. 

 

By now, you should be a fully registered and working childminder! The process will have probably taken about 3 - 6 months (sometimes longer depending on local availability of courses) from your initial enquiry. You will have more paperwork than you know what to do with and you will be preparing for your first graded Ofsted visit which will happen within 6 months of registration. 

Congratulations and good luck!