How many children can I look after?
A childminder can care for a maximum of six children under eight years old, of which usually no more than three may be under the age of five, and no more than one of these may be under one (although Ofsted may grant an exception, for example, for twins).
These numbers will include the childminder's own children. Childminders can also care for additional children over eight but they will have to demonstrate to Ofsted that they can meet the varying needs of all children being cared for.
The available space will also impact on the number of children you can care for. EYFS states childminders 'must meet the following indoor space requirements. Children under two years: 3.5 m2 per child; Two year olds: 2.5 m2 per child; Children aged three to five years: 2.3 m2 per child'.
How much will I get paid?
Childminders are self-employed and are able to set their charges themselves as there is no national rate. However, in Hackney childminders charge approximately £4 to £9 per hour, this will depend on the service that is offered. As a self-employed you will be responsible for your own tax and national insurance contributions.
Can I choose the hours I work?
Yes you can, however the more flexible hours you offer to families, the more likely you will get work. In Hackney there is demand for under 3 yr old placements and 15 hours funded 2 yr old places. In addition, from September 2017 there will be demand for all or part of the 30 hours free entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds.
Can I look after my children at the same time?
Yes you can, any of your own children under 8 years will be taken into consideration in the numbers of children you can care for.
Can I work with someone else?
Yes you can work with up to two Assistants or Co-Childminders. If you have enough space you could care for more children if you work with an Assistant or a Co-Childminder. When deciding to care for additional children you must check if you need planning permission to run a business from your home.
I don’t have a garden can I still be a childminder?
Yes that fine, you do not need to have a garden, as long as children are taken out daily e.g. local park, children centre outdoor space. The EYFS states childminders 'must provide access to an outdoor play area or, if that is not possible, ensure that outdoor activities are planned and taken on a daily basis.'
Do I need to have a DBS?
All childminders are required to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and to join the DBS update service. Everyone else aged 16 or over, who lives or works in the premises where the childminding will take place, is also required to undergo a DBS check and join the update service. You are advised to apply as early as possible as DBS checks can take some months to come through. To start the process you will need to go through the Ofsted site and click on DBS and update service.
Questions to ask before considering working as a childminder
- Do you want to work from home?
- Are you willing to be flexible with the hours you work?
- Could you provide a range of planned stimulating activities?
- Are you energetic, caring and resourceful?
- Would you enjoy working with parents to ensure you meet their child's needs?
- Would you be able to talk to parents about concerns about their children?
- Are interested in caring for a child with additional needs, such as a disability or behavioural difficulties?
- What effect will it have on your family?