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How far in advance to research childminders?

(13 Posts)
Phineyj Mon 14-Jan-13 10:43:24

I will need childcare from September when I go back to work. I put my DD on the waiting list for various local nurseries this summer, as most round here (London/Kent borders) seem to have a year's waiting list. However, I'd like to look into childminders too - can anyone advise me how far in advance they tend to work -- is it worth enquiring now about a place for September? Thanks for any tips!

Twinklestarstwinklestars Mon 14-Jan-13 11:04:18

Most will know now what spaces they will have with other children starting school, but if you find one you really want to use you may have to pay a retainer or a deposit for the place if you want to guarantee them having one.

ZuleikaD Mon 14-Jan-13 11:32:59

What Twinkle said. I already know, for example, that I will have a fulltime place in September, but if someone wanted to book it now then I would ask for a deposit.

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 14-Jan-13 11:35:48

I would start calling round pretty soon and be prepared to put a deposit down if I found one that I'd definitely like to use.

It's also worth calling the nurseries fairly soon to get an idea of their vacancies coming up - September is usually a big movement time in childcare as one bunch of children start school, so it's worth keeping an eye on the situation.

HSMM Mon 14-Jan-13 12:45:15

Someone came to see me at the weekend about my September space.

NickNacks Mon 14-Jan-13 12:47:31

Same i had someone come recently about a September space.

calmlychaotic Mon 14-Jan-13 23:47:29

I would start looking now, childminders could be losing children in September if they are starting school so would be happy to take a booking now, I have contracts signed to start in September.

slev Tue 15-Jan-13 08:58:53

So would most people charge a deposit rather than a retainer then? DS will transfer to pre-school from nursery in September so I'll need a childminder then, but I'd assumed that anyone I found now would charge a retainer and can't afford to pay that on top of nursery fees - but maybe it is worth starting to look now?

HSMM Tue 15-Jan-13 17:41:35

I am charging a deposit and not a retainer, because I don't have a space now to retain, because the space is not available until September. If I had a space now I would charge a retainer.

slev Wed 16-Jan-13 08:13:39

Ah, that makes sense - thank you. So I guess no harm in starting to look but will be a bit pot luck as depends on people's individual situation. Veyr useful advice - thanks!

minderjinx Wed 16-Jan-13 10:48:13

I have had several enquiries about September places, but no-one is yet able to commit firmly as the school places allocations don't come out until March. There will then be a bit of a scramble I expect! Of course in other areas (or indeed if private schools are your choice) there may be less or no likelihood of being allocated anything other than first choice.

Phineyj Sat 19-Jan-13 14:02:23

Thanks minderjinx, that is a very useful tip!

poopnscoop Mon 21-Jan-13 09:46:35

It differs... I focus on the under 3s... So don't abide by school terms. I'm always full and have a waiting list... Included on there are a couple of babies not born yet.

When I have a vacancy open up it's due to a redundancy/house move/mum having another baby so lessening the hours of her older child... Which can happen anytime in the year.

If you are in an area where there is a huge demand for Early Years childcare I would start looking ASAP. Good luck! smile

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