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Accredited Childminders

(21 Posts)
bigpaws Tue 02-Oct-12 21:54:07

I am generally aware of what is involved in being an Accredited Childminder. I have been to a NCMA information evening about it.

Have any Childminders on here got any experiences to share please? I would love to have a broader picture of the pro's and con's. Still undecided if it is for me, or not.

I wanted to become accredited to be able to offer funded places however my local authority will not allow me to do it.

HSMM Wed 03-Oct-12 07:05:41

Just become accredited through my Local Authority after 6 years of fighting for it. There are many pros and cons.

bigpaws Wed 03-Oct-12 08:10:14

HSMM - could you possibly advise me a little more. It has only just become available in my area. None of my Childminding colleagues are considering it. I have been to the briefing, but want to hear from others with more experience.
Of course the NCMA and my Local Council have said how wonderful it is - but they aren't the ones delivering it. Thanks

Goldmandra Wed 03-Oct-12 08:50:48

The main issue for me is funding. I have been an accredited childminder and chose to stop. The immediate reason was that I was suddenly expected to complete a lot of assessments, quality assurance and training in a very short time during a period when my family was in dire need of every moment I could give them.

I could very easily have rejoined since everything calmed down as I more than meet the criteria but TBH I found very little benefit to me.

The hourly rate you are paid is lower than I charge so I lost money on the funded hours. Parents understandably want to get as much as possible for free so start asking for odd hours. The training and supervision was a big bonus to me in the early days but now the training is no different from that available to others.

I think the only real benefit would be if it helps you keep children on who would otherwise move to a preschool in order to use the free place. In my experience the parents are just as likely to keep paying you and ask you to take them to pre-school where the funding is used.

wednesdaygirl Wed 03-Oct-12 09:14:55

I have been accredited for 4yrs now and find it no different (paperwork wise) as any other child
I have also had the 2yr old grants fir 2yrs now and thats a little bit more paperwork but only 2 times a year each child smile

Tanith Wed 03-Oct-12 09:28:54

I agree with Goldmantra.

The funding doesn't cover my fees and I'm not allowed to charge top ups in any way. I agree with that from the parents' view: it's free and it should be free. I resent that the Government/Council force me to subsidise it and won't acknowledge this. They still claim they are funding free sessions when they are not.

The other major disadvantage is the paperwork. Forms and deadlines to claim the grant; detailed planning and assessment to keep the Network happy; and a horrendous Quality Assurance scheme that our Council demands all accredited settings, nurseries and childminders, complete over 2 years - lots of reflective accounts, evidence etc.).
More work for less money, in a nutshell.

For the Community side, I do like the challenge of looking after Network-referred children, usually for Social Services. I do not like having to chase repeatedly before they will pay me for my work.

So why do I do it?

I want to aim as high as I can for my business. The Network was a source of support and was a great thing to belong to until they cut funding and I feel quite bloody-minded about the attempts to disband it and water it down. Our Network was taken over by the Local Authority so I don't know if an NCMA Network is still as good. Network training workshops are still in place for now and are still worth attending. I also like meeting up with other Network childminders, exchanging ideas and experience.
I want to make a difference to the children who need my services. I believe very strongly in the free sessions and want to ensure the children in my care can access them. Some aren't ready for nursery, some need a gradual introduction. Their parents can access the full funding and use the nursery provision best suited to their child if I also provide this.

HSMM Wed 03-Oct-12 11:03:51

I agree with goldmantra. Very briefly.

Pros: professional, keep children
Cons: paperwork, may lose money

alibeenherealongtime Wed 03-Oct-12 14:02:56

NCMA will come along set up a wonderful network, which you are proud to belong to and then the Local Authority pull the budget so the network goes and the NCMA use their money on lots of other futile projects in deprived areas where no one turns up for the training.

Meanwhile you carry on offering the funded places to your families with no support or training from anyone. And all for £2 an hour less than you would normally charge.

Enjoy it whole it lasts and take very opportunity, it was great and we had a great network coordinator too.

Me cynical?

bigpaws Wed 03-Oct-12 14:17:16

alibeenhere - that was my suspicion. Extra workload and it could all change in 6months.
Anymore experiences........?

Frakiosaurus Wed 03-Oct-12 19:01:37

I was at the childcare expo at the weekend and in the seminar on the Govt's vision for families the representative from the Govt's EYFS team made a very interesting slightly off the cuff remark about how the funding would soon be available to all CMs and not just accredited ones....

Ho hum.

Goldmandra Wed 03-Oct-12 19:17:41

Well that would make a mockery of the whole network system!

MrAnchovy Wed 03-Oct-12 19:30:57

That's very interesting Frakiosaurus, that would fit with Liz Truss's proposal for childminding umbrella organisations because every childminder that can receive any funding (childcare tax credits, vouchers) will have to be a member of a umbrella organisation which will replace the function of the networks. It looks like these proposals may be more entrenched than many have hoped.

Tanith Wed 03-Oct-12 20:24:44

That wouldn't surprise me in the least. In our LA, the Network co-ordinators have been swallowed up in the Childminder Support team. They are still responsible for Network members but they also have responsibility for other childminders, too.

Surrey CC took over first childminder training, then the Network from the NCMA. Both have deteriorated as a result.

alibeenherealongtime Thu 04-Oct-12 16:37:14

Frak I was at a meeting last night and they are indeed going to make it a lot easier for c/m's to offer funded places, so hopefully the LA will then offer more support if there are more of us offering it. They are very keen for us to get involved in 2 year old places.

It is great for some parts of the county where the childminders only charge £3.50, they can fill their places and make money, not so here at £7 per hour and get £5.00!

bigpaws Thu 04-Oct-12 18:27:40

The 2 year old funding appealed to me, but I was told it was only for childminders that have NVQ 5? Is that a national requirement?

Tanith Thu 04-Oct-12 19:41:05

I haven't heard that. I was under the impression you only had to be part of a Network and have a Level 3 qualification.

bigpaws Thu 04-Oct-12 20:31:37

We were certainly told at our network briefing that you need to hold Level 5 before you can get funding for 2 year olds. I'm feeling bewildered by it all - and I haven't even joined!! hmm

Is it not local authority specific?

HSMM Thu 04-Oct-12 20:51:37

Yes. Each network has a their own rules.

Italiana Sat 06-Oct-12 09:34:01

Each Network has its own rules...how very true!
Many LAs do not have a network at all, others one that covers all c/ms and some only opened to the few.....a real mixture that has caused c/ms to be excluded from delivering the Free Entitlement

Things will change now as LAs will need c/ms to pass the FE to the 2 year olds so networks will be open to all.
The funding for 3/4 year olds varies.. in some LAs is below what we charge in others more than our fees...

Also the funding for 2 year olds will be around £6 but drops when the child becomes 3...so many c/ms will be very careful

The £100m funding announced by Clegg is nothing more than shambolic...it is meant for expansion and will cut funding to Sure Start to give to the funding for 2 year olds...so robbing the needy to give to the poor...it will be administered by LAs so no one knows how it will work or who will get it

Most c/ms have the places already so why do we need funding to expand?

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