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What is a Registered Childminder?

The National Childcare Strategy

Registered Childminders are professional day carers who work in their own homes to provide care and education for other peoples children in a family setting offering a flexibility of service that is difficult to find in other provisions.

"Home from Home. This is the best description of my childminder and her family. It is wonderful to drop off the children with their second mum, who loves, cuddles, cares and disciplines them. Most importantly I entrust my children and their well being to my childminder." - Dr R. Lucy MB.CHB.MRCGP (parent)

Currently childminding is the most popular form of childcare. There are over 100,000 registered childminders, caring for more then 300,000 children under five as well as school age children. Registered childminders offer a flexible service in a family environment. All childminders are required by law to register with Ofsted. Police and Social Service record checks are carried out on the childminder and all persons over 16 living in the house. The childminders home is also checked for hygiene and safety. Bedfordshire childminders are required to attend training courses before registration. Registration is renewed annually, which involves an inspection of the childminders home by Ofsted to check that standards are maintained. Registered childminders must also have public Liability insurance.

Childminders can be registered to care for up to six children, the number they are registered for includes their own children. Of these children only three can be under the age of five. It will say on the registration certificate how many children and of what ages the childminder is registered for.

Childminders are probably so popular because of their flexibility. Due to the low ratio of children to childminder, a childminder can care for each individual child's needs. This includes special diets, routines or attendance at a school or playgroup. Many childminders continue to care for children up to the age of fourteen and beyond providing continuity of care unrivalled in the childcare world.

Many registered childminders have additional training to that of the Childminders Training Course, such as first aid training, courses relevant to children's development and education or NVQ's. As most childminders are also parents they also have valuable life experience in the care of children.

Childminding is a proper job and is run like a business, childminders will keep first aid and financial records, up to date contracts and medical records.

You will need to establish a professional relationship as well as a friendship with your registered childminder. You will need to give your childminder notice of holidays or changes to the routine, this enables them to maintain a professional service and ensure they can comply with regulations.

"I believe that for babies and toddlers, childminding alone is probably the best kind of daycare we've yet dreamed up. It does potentially better for children, families and for society." - Dr Penelope Leach, NCMA President


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