You could be forgiven for thinking that being an independent Ofsted registered childminder is no longer an option   3 comments

Why am I saying this?

After all we all know that childminder agencies are optional, and childminders can remain independent Ofsted registered childminders. We are told that it is still possible to go through the registration process without joining an agency.

In fact only today (8.2.15) Sam Gyimah said so on the BBC South programme today (May be available on IPlayer)

The reason I am saying it, because it seems this Government is very keen to promote childminder agencies and not independent Ofsted registered childminders

First we had the 4Children advert in Nursery World that I have already commented on

Blog about 4Children agencies ad

In a nut shell, 4Children are funded by the government directly and indirectly and should provide information about both options – and should not actively promote a private childminding agency, any more than they should promote an individual Ofsted registered childminder like me.

Nursery World have said they are responding to the concerns raised by myself and others.

Then, colleagues drew my attention to the information given to those registering and wanting to get a DBS

A childminder enquiring about getting a DBS was given information about how to do so via an agency but not directly via Ofsted. (Sorry I don’t have permission to post the actual content – but I have seen it, so hope readers trust me that this is true)

I think this is outrageous – I don’t have an issue with people being given information about agencies or services they can provide BUT information about being an independent Ofsted registered childminders MUST also be given by those who are supposed to be impartial.

Although not connected to childminding agencies, this is another way that independent Ofsted registered childminders are being ‘side lined’. At my local authority PVI meeting this week, it became apparent why parents of two year olds are not contacting me about funded two year old places.

I ask at the meeting how parents would know I offer the places, as I have noticed that no one is making enquires any more. It seems that the children’s centres no longer have a list of providers who offer the 2 year old funding – and certainly one of my local children’s centre had no idea that I even offer 2 yr old funding – never mind that I currently have availability.

I asked what happens when a parent comes to the children’s centre and asks about the 2 yr old funding. I was told that they help the parents by downloading the form, and with filling it in – very kind and helpful I am sure, but is it any wonder that of the 4 settings in my area at that meeting – only the children’s centre reported an increase in the number of funded two yr olds attending?

It may have been a one off, but when my daughter went to her children’s centre to ask about funded two year old places for her daughter, she was told ‘ We have places, come and have a look’. She was not told about the option of using a childminder, or come to that a pre school or day nursery.

Of course not all children’s centre are like this and some do work in partnership with local childminders, but it seems total unfair that if your children’s centre works in partnership or not is a postcode lottery – and that as a government funded scheme that children’s centres are not made to give information about all settings that provide the funded places. After all a parent could have a long walk to the nearest children’s centre, but have a childminder just around the corner ( or a pre school or nursery)

So independent childminders are really up against it – from all directions. It is even hard to do free advertising – such as big banners outside the setting, that some pre schools and day nurseries can do, because that is not appropriate or even worth it if your childminding setting is in a cul de sac or a down a rural lane, or in a block of flats.

Personally I am not looking for ‘special treatment’ or promotion for independent Ofsted registered childminders, I just want a level playing field, and for parents to be aware of all childcare options.

And I expect those who want to become childminders to have information about all options – registration through an agency, and independent Ofsted registration

Posted February 8, 2015 by psw260259 in My thoughts on current childcare issues

3 responses to “You could be forgiven for thinking that being an independent Ofsted registered childminder is no longer an option

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  1. When they applied for their DBS do you know if they filled in OFSTEDP for an individual or OFSTEDA for joining an existing setting?

    • The response they got was in reply to asking how to get a DBS – at that stage they did not know where to start. Which is why I am so cross at the response because it suggested that needed to go through an agency.

      I think (thanks to support in a FB group) that the person was signposted to the right place for Ofsted.

      But sorry I don’t know which one they applied for

  2. Thanks, Penny, for being a ‘voice’ on this for independent childminders. It makes me very angry too to think of agencies being promoted above independent childminders and it is great to hear that you are raising this issue with the powers that be. Well done, an interesting and important article.

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