How to become a Childminder

Information provided by PACEY, the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years

What childminders do

Registered childminders look after one or more children under the age of 8 for more than a total of two hours a day. They do this in a domestic setting (normally their own home) for payment.

Registered childminders are inspected by Ofsted in England, or the Care and Social Services Inspectorate in Wales (CSSIW), to ensure they provide a safe and stimulating environment for the children that they care for. Registered childminders are usually self-employed and run their own business. Some may employ childminding assistants.

Childminders play a huge role in a child's daily life and you can quickly become a valuable part of a child's extended family. The key to maintaining a good working relationship is to make sure the childminding arrangement starts out and remains businesslike.

A well written contract is essential, as this sets out the detail of the agreement clearly. Both the childminder and the parent(s) should carefully read, agree and sign the contract before the arrangement begins.

If you love children and want to help give them the best start in life, being a registered childminder could be the ideal job for you.

We say, "job", but PACEY members tell us that being a childminder is a vocation. They are often drawn to childminding because of all the fantastic opportunities the career offers - from making a difference to a child's life, to being your own boss and working from home.

As a registered childminder you will:

  • Offer the children you care for a happy and inspirational environment.
  • See the children that you care for grow and develop.
  • Work in your home, choosing the hours you work and the services you provide.
  • Have a career where no two days are the same.
  • Care for your own children at the same time if you have a family.
  • Meet other childcare professionals in your area and get to know your local community.
  • Join many thousands of childminders in England and Wales providing high-quality childcare.

A typical day for a childminder

Although every day will be different, a childminder's typical day may include:

  • Visiting a park, museum, library or playgroup
  • Arranging fun and stimulating learning activities, such as dressing-up, creative play, reading, and celebrating cultural events from around the world
  • Providing meals and snacks for the children, involving them in food preparation and menu choices
  • Taking children to and from school or clubs
  • Working with other local childminders to organise group activities

A dynamic career choice

All children are different. And so it's fortunate that all childminding settings are different, too!

Because childminders work in their own homes there will always be variety. And it's this variety that means that childminding is a flexible childcare choice, with parents able to choose childcare for their child in a small group in a home environment.

Some childminders work in cities; some provide care in rural villages. Some care for disabled children, some care for twins or triplets. Childminders are able to accommodate and support most families' childcare needs.

Childminding is a dynamic and evolving career so, once you’ve got your new business up and running, there are plenty of courses and training opportunities that will develop your knowledge and confidence.

Required training for childminders

Childminders in England and Wales need to complete pre-registration training before applying to Ofsted or CSSIW. The training should include a pre-registration course and 12-hour paediatric first-aid training.

In England

Childminders in England should attend an introductory childcare training course and undertake an appropriate paediatric first-aid training course as set out in the EYFS requirements and the requirements of the Childcare Register. Ofsted's pre-registration briefing session gives background information about Ofsted - the government department responsible for registering and inspecting childminders in England. The presentation explains the process for applying to register as a childminder on the Early Years Register and the compulsory and voluntary parts of the Childcare Register. 

Many local authorities run briefing sessions for people interested in becoming childminders. They also offer help, support and advice for new childminders, and may even be able to fund your training, insurance and membership of PACEY.

 

If there is no provision for this training in your local authority, PACEY can help you to understand the requirements of registration. You can call 0300 003 0005 to talk to a member of our team.

We recommend that all new childminders undertake the L3 Award in Preparing to Work in Home-Based Childcare (HBCA). It has been developed by PACEY in partnership with the awarding organisation, CACHE, and will equip learners with all the skills they need to set up a successful childminding business. However, prospective childminders should always contact their local authority or Family Information Service to check which introductory courses they approve, as this may vary between areas.

In Wales

The first step on your path to becoming a registered childminder in Wales is to attend a briefing session. Details of briefing sessions in your local authority area are available by contacting PACEY Cymru by telephone 0845 880 1299 or email paceycymru@pacey.org.uk. Alternatively, you contact your local Family Information Service (FIS).

The briefing session you attend gives you background information on becoming a childminder in Wales and outlines the registration process, as well as giving you an overview of the legislation you will need to work under when you are registered. If you are unable to attend a briefing session in your area, then PACEY Cymru also deliver Webinar Briefing Sessions, which can be accessed online.

PACEY recommends that new and prospective childminders in Wales undertake the unit CYPOP5 "Understand how to set up a home-based childcare service" as their introductory course. For more information about becoming a childminder in Wales you can call PACEY's Cardiff office on 0845 880 1299.

 

Support for childminders

PACEY is the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years. We promote best practice, support childcare professionals to deliver high standards of care and learning and work to ensure our members are recognised for the vital role they play in helping children get the best start in life. We enable our members to grow their own professionalism and be part of a sector-wide organisation representing their views and experiences.

PACEY membership

The practical applications of a PACEY membership are wide ranging, covering everything from helplines and training, to working with Government to ensure your needs are considered when policy decisions are being made. Being part of PACEY means your childminding career will get off to the best start with the best support.