If you would like to have a rewarding career, be your own boss, run your business from home and make a real difference to children's lives, then being a registered childminder might be just the profession for you.

Benefits of being a childminder

  • Run your own business and be your own boss.
  • 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 childminders in your area and get to know your local community.

You will need the following qualities:

  • An understanding of how children learn and develop, or a desire to learn.
  • A Commitment to professional development which will include attending on-going training mostly in the evening.
  • An ability to work in partnership with parents/carers and other professional agencies.
  • An ability to run your own business by keeping good records to ensure its viability.

As a childminder you will need to be registered with Ofsted if you look after children. You will be defined by Ofsted as a childminder if you look after children you are not related to ‘for reward or pay’. 

  • Children should be under 8 years of age.
  • You look after them for more than 2 hours a day.
  • You look after them in a home that isn’t the children’s normal home.

    Is there a need?

    You will need to do your own market research to see whether there is a need for childminders in your area. Contact the Families and Childcare Information Team or the Cambridgeshire PACEY (Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years) team to research if there is a demand for childminders in your area. Some parts of Cambridgeshire are already served by established childminders whereas some areas have very few registered providers.

    Step 1 - Attend a pre-registration information evening

    This will provide more information about registered childminding and will help you decide whether it’s the right career for you. There will also be a chance to meet your local PACEY Childminding Support and Development Officer and ask questions. The session will look at:

    • The benefits, rewards and challenges of childminding.
    • Registration requirements.
    • Further support and training.

    The next pre-registration evenings are available

     Book now

    Alternatively  if you have any questions regarding the sessions or process you can contact the PACEY administrator on 01223 714 657 or email [email protected].

    Step 2 – Book and attend a childminding training course

    At the end of the pre-registration course, dates will be given for the childminding training course. You will be given all the information required to book onto this course.

    There is a subsidised contribution of £115 to pay towards the training.

    What is included in the training

    • 7 weeks face to face training.
    • Support during the training and by telephone and email between sessions.
    • 12 hour paediatric first aid training.
    • Ongoing support after the course finishes.

    If however you haven’t registered within 6 months of completing the course, you will need to pay the full cost of the course.

    Course outline

    Understand how to set up a Home-based Childcare Service Course (14hrs over 7 weeks – generally run in the evening)
    Completion of a preparation course is one of the criteria set out in the statutory framework for the delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage. This course includes a two hour child protection session.

    Dates and details of how to book onto these sessions will be available at the pre-registration evening.

    First Aid Course (12hrs)
    A paediatric first aid certificate is a requirement of the Statutory Framework of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

    Dates and booking forms for first aid sessions will be available at week 1 of the homebased childcare course.  These take place either on two Saturdays or over 4 evenings.

    Step 3: Registration

    You can find more information on the registration process and Ofsted registers in the Ofsted guide to registration.

    You will have to be 18 years old. You and all the adults living or working at the home you want to mind from will be required to have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. You will be inspected by Ofsted every 3 to 5 years.

    Ofsted operates two registers

    The Early Years Register: All childcare providers looking after children under 5 must register on this and follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

    The Childcare Register: This register is for providers looking after children under 8 years, and is divided into two parts:

    • The Compulsory Childcare Register: All childcare providers looking after children between the age of 5 an 8 must join this register and meet the requirements.
    • The Voluntary Childcare Register: This is for providers who do not have to register with Ofsted i.e. look after children older than 8 years only, but would like to register with Ofsted so parents can benefit from tax credits and childcare vouchers.

    Most childminders join all 3 registers so they can care for children of all ages and you can apply online with Ofsted.

    For you to be approved by Ofsted, you must have:

    • Completed a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for yourself and everyone over 16 years in the home you will be minding from.
    • Completed all relevant courses (see above).
    • Have your health declaration check submitted by your GP.

    You will need to provide the following details to Ofsted before you can register:

    • details of your training
    • your signed health check
    • registration fee
    • completed DBS checks

    Ofsted will need to carry out an inspection of the home you want to mind from, as well as an interview with you. A registration certificate will then be posted to you once you have proven suitability. You cannot start looking after children before you receive your certificate.

    It takes approximately 12 weeks to become registered with Ofsted. You will have to attend information sessions and training before you are able to register with Ofsted.

    Step 4: Post Registration

    The local authority works with Ofsted and all childcare providers to ensure that children get the best start in life. Once you become a registered childminder, you will have access to training and support to improve your practice. You can also get your details published on the Family Information Directory or provided via the families and childcare helpline to parents looking for childcare.

    How we can help

    If you are interested in a career in childcare but are not sure if childminding is for you, please visit our childcare careers page which gives more information on the various options open to you.

    What are childminders in Cambridgeshire saying?

    Being a professional childminder can be so rewarding. Working from home and running your own business. Here are some of the benefits our childminders would like to share. 

    Watching children grow
    "One of the most rewarding aspects of childcare is watching the child in your care that arrives as a little baby grow and become a person in their own right; who has views and expectations within the setting.

    "They continue to develop into teenagers and then young men and women who even now stop in the street and acknowledge you with fond memories of their childhood with you, and even come to us to care for their own offspring. Then you know that you got it right."

    Sharing in a child's development
    "Watching and sharing in a child's development; seeing them excel and flourish and knowing that you have influenced and helped them."

    Watching children play and have fun
    "My absolute favourite time with the children is when they’re simply given the opportunity to be children, and I have a moment to appreciate it.

    "Rolling down hills and jumping in muddy puddles, I can see how the children thrive from just being outdoors and having fun in a loving and caring environment. I want my children to enjoy their childhood and leave the setting with memories they’ll cherish forever."

    Meeting the needs of the child
    "For me the best thing about being a childcare professional is being able to run my own business to suit the way I work and to meet the needs of the children who attend.

    "We love outdoor play in any shape or form, be it in the mud kitchen, at a playground, going to the market or supermarket, the post office, on a bus. The children always respond well to these activities and all seven areas of learning and development are met through this medium."

    Sharing knowledge and experience
    "It's lovely to be able to support new parents. I was really pleased when one of the new mums sent me a text saying how grateful she was for the support that I had given her in such a variety of ways, and how much it had helped."

    Further sources of help 

    Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY)

    Contact us

    [email protected]

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