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Choosing a childminder

A childminder is self-employed and registered by OFSTED to care for other people’s children in their own home.
Offering a homely setting, in which there will be a maximum of six children under eight, no more than three of whom will be under five and with only one child being under the age of 12 months.

  • Childminders can offer full-time, part-time and flexible day care for children of all ages 
  • Most are willing to take and collect from pre-school, nursery and school
  • They may care for school aged children before and after school and in the holidays
  • Some childminders are registered to provide overnight care and some offer specialist care for children with additional needs

All adults over 16 in the household have had an enhanced check with the Disclosure Barring Service (DBS).

Childminders follow the statutory guidance of the Early Years Foundation Stage.
The council's Childcare Officers support childminders with less than good OFSTED judgement, new to childminding and a member of Wiltshire quality improvement cluster.  
Support and advice is provided to all childminders around safeguarding and children with additional needs. Training is also provided. 

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  • Homely environment
  • Close relationship with one carer
  • Carer may take a child or children to the shops, a parent and toddler group and, later, pre-school, nursery and school
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  • Lack of interaction with larger groups of children
  • Having to find alternative care if the childminder falls ill
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  • How to contact you and your partner or other nominated person in an emergency
  • Emergency contact telephone numbers
  • Details of your child's G.P. and health visitor
  • A record of his/her immunisations, illnesses and medical needs if appropriate
  • Any special requirements, e.g. dietary or routine your child may have
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  • There is no ‘national rate’ for childminding and rates vary across the county but you should expect to pay around £4.20 per hour
  • Childminders need to cover the cost of heating, lighting, wear and tear, toys and equipment, insurance and other business expenses
  • You may be asked to pay a retainer for times you do not need the childcare, for example, family holidays and school holidays if you only need term time care and you may be charged for the time your child is at pre-school or nursery
  • This should all be made clear in the contract
  • Provision of food and nappies and other charges will need to be negotiated with the childminder

To search for information on getting help with your childcare costs, visit the government’s Childcare Choices website

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It is important to visit a number of childminders before deciding who will best suit your child’s needs.
Questions to ask a potential childminder might include:

  • What experience and/or training do you have?
  • What activities do you provide for children?
  • Will you take my child shopping, to the park, toddler groups and, if so, how frequently?
  • How will you encourage positive behaviour and deal with any problems?
  • Which rooms do you use for childminding?
  • What are the ages of other minded children?
  • Do you have pets?
  • What are the arrangements for travelling and child safety?
  • Will you take/collect my child from pre-school/nursery/school?
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  • All childminders must have a written agreement with parents
  • It is important that you negotiate a contract with the childminder at the beginning of the arrangement which should be reviewed annually, or whenever changes are necessary
  • The contract should set out the terms of your agreement with the childminder and will include details of a ‘settling in’ period, hours, and financial arrangements
  • When signed by both parties the contract becomes a legally binding document
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  • Caring for sick children is not part of the childminding service and you should keep your child at home or collect them if they are unwell
  • In the case of an accident the childminder should put the needs of the child first and act accordingly
  • You will be asked to sign consent for the childminder to seek emergency treatment if necessary
  • You should also read and sign their accident/incident book confirming you were given full details of any accident and action taken.
  • More information on should I keep my child at home?
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To search for a childminder in your area please visit our childcare directory

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If you have any concerns about the childcare setting your child is attending you can find more information on our dealing with concerns page.

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Last updated: 8 May 2017 | Last reviewed: 8 May 2017