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How to become a childminder

Understand what it takes to become a childminder and find out more about the routes available to get there.

What is a childminder?

Childminders provide professional care childcare and early education from a home environment. They care for small groups of children from various ages and families, offering support before and after school, and often during weekends and holidays. Many childminders also work from their own home, creating a familiar and secure setting for the children they care for.

They play an important role in the early learning and development of children, collaborating closely with parents to tailor their childcare services to each child's needs.

What are the responsibilities of a childminder?

A childminder will often work for themselves as their own business, but you may also be part of a childminding agency.

The responsibilities of a childminder will always vary depending on the child and specific circumstances.

However, some typical responsibilities include:

  • Creative play to entertain children in a stimulating and lose educational way.
  • Reading and storytelling with younger children.
  • Supporting early language development.
  • Helping children develop their creativity and imagination.
  • Cooking with and for the children, providing valuable real-life learning experiences and healthy, nutritious meals and snacks.
  • Taking children to and from nursery, school, or their other activities and clubs.
  • Working with other childcare professionals and parents to provide a coordinated approach to supporting each individual child.
  • Observing children’s progress, working with parents to support their child’s ongoing learning and development.

How to become a childminder

Anyone who looks after one or more children under the age of 8 years in England or under the age of 12 years in Wales, to whom they are not related, on domestic premises, for reward, and for a total of more than two hours in any day must register as a childminder.

You will need to register with Ofsted and to do this you must have a home-based childcare course approved by your local council that covers the Early Years Foundation Stage framework.

You may have to do a basic skills test to show that you have the minimum standard of English and Maths needed to support the educational development of children in your care. You’ll also need to pass an assessment of your home and any equipment you will use.

Qualifications needed

There are no formal qualifications to become a childminder. However, if you want to care for more than one child under the age of eight for more than two hours, you have to be a registered childminder. This means that you will need a home-based childcare course in order for you to be able to register.

The following course is approved by PACEY and will enable you to become a fully-qualified childminder and able to register:

NCFE CACHE Level 3 Award in Home Based Childcare – Childminder Route

You will also need a pediatric first aid certificate.

How to become a registered childminder?

Before you try and register with OFSTED (England) or CIW (Wales), you will need to have a full DBS check carried out which is a requirement when working with children. You will also need a paediatric first aid course as mentioned before.

When you register with OFSTED, this can take a few months so ensure you register as soon as possible. You will also need to get a medical check from a doctor to show you are fit to work as a childminder and care for children.

After the checks are completed Ofsted will call you and arrange a home inspection, where an officer will come and check your home is suitable for childcare and ask you questions about your plan for your charges’ learning and development.

How much does a childminder earn?

As a registered childminder working in your own home, you’ll effectively be classed as self-employed. You’ll need to register your business with HMRC. You are therefore able to set and charge your own rates.

There are costs involved as a childminder such as insurance and an annual fee to remain registered. You will also need to take into account costs such as fuel, food, and other expenses.

The average charge of a childminder is £5.50 per child per hour, although you can set your own rates.

Here at Open Study College, we offer a range of childcare and education courses that can help you build your knowledge to become a childminder.

For more information on our courses in childcare and education, download our free guide.

You can also contact one of our friendly education specialists to find out more.