This page explains about childminders and what they can offer you and your family. If you decide to use a childminder, Choosing a Childminder - questions to ask will help you choose the right one.
A childminder is a person providing care for one or more children aged between birth and 18, to whom they are not related.
They are allowed to care for up to six children under the age of eight, including their own, but only three of them can be aged under five (although variations can be made in the case of twins, etc.).
Childminders are flexible and all work different hours, so you can discuss with the childminder what they can offer to meet your children’s individual needs.
All registered childminders are required to undertake a basic training course, including first aid, and most go on to do further training and professional development.
Childminders must be registered and regulated by Ofsted if they care for children under 8 years old. If they care for reception age children or younger, they are first inspected and registered and then within 30 months have a second inspection where they receive a grading (Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate). It is good practice for childminders who only look after children aged 8 and older to be registered on the Ofsted Voluntary Childcare Register. If they are caring for pre-school children they follow the Early Years Foundation Stage framework, so your pre-school child should experience learning and development activities suitable for their stage of development.
Most childminders use Learning Stories to record the progress of the pre-school children in their care.
Some childminders are trained and able to support children with additional needs.
Most childminders are registered to to offer the FREE early education and childcare offer for 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds.
Some childminders offer Flexicare for older children.
All childminders who care for children under the age of eight must be registered and inspected by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted), who carry out regular checks on the home and childminder. What’s more, all adults (16+) living and working in the homes of childminders caring for children under eight will be checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Childminders who care for children aged eight and over can be registered on the Voluntary part of the Ofsted Childcare Register. You can check the Ofsted report for each childminder by following the link on their record on this website or by going directly to the Ofsted reports website and searching using their Ofsted Unique Reference Number.
Childminders in Southampton are supported by the SCC Early Years and Childcare Team to help them improve their quality, flexibility, affordability, accessibility and inclusion.
You will need to negotiate hours, terms and conditions with your childminder. Rates may vary. Sometimes hourly rates for children attending school are higher than those for the under 5s. Childminders can offer flexible rates, and can accept employers’ childcare vouchers. Parents claiming Working Tax Credit can claim the Childcare Element when using an Ofsted registered childminder.
- I need flexible care because I work irregular hours which don’t correspond to a normal 8am-6pm nursery day
- I want my child to be cared for in a family home
- I want my child to have one carer
- I have a pre-school child and a school aged child and it’s important they’re cared for together
- I’m good at saying what I want
- Mixing with large groups of children isn’t a priority right now
- My child would cope better in a home environment than in a group setting