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New proposed changes to childminders and Ofsted registration - discuss

(20 Posts)
rm00054 Thu 30-Jan-14 08:09:13

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-25878607

The link says it all really, childminders will have the option to register with government agencies and won't need to be ofsted regulated themselves.
What do you all think?

(I'm a lurker on these boards, but don't post much. Could someone make the link clickable for me if I didn't do it right. Ta.)

HSMMaCM Thu 30-Jan-14 12:53:50

I will not be joining an agency. I like being in control of my rates, the children I take on and I do not want the quality of my setting judged against someone else's standards.

nannynick Thu 30-Jan-14 13:42:13

The employment status of someone who joins the agency I feel is currently unknown. Not sure there has been a decision on that but I would wonder who has control - I suspect the childminder would be an employee of the agency ... Wonder what salary they will be paid?

HSMMaCM Thu 30-Jan-14 13:54:56

There are 2 options at the moment depending on the agency set up. CMs can be employed or self employed and pay an agency few.

DolphinChildcare09 Sun 02-Feb-14 19:55:25

I knew the government feel that childminder agencies are a good idea and that there are trials currently going on but this news recent article and the ofsted consultation survey that has now been published, have prompted me to look into it a bit more.

This link details the governments ideas behind the agncies; proposalhttp://www.education.gov.uk/popularquestions/a00221420/intro-child-agency-england

Unfortunately there is little information of how the agencies will be implemented and what the costs will be to remain an ofsted registered independent childminder and also what limitations their will be to cpd and support services (ie what will happen to Pacey).

I can see the agencies being quite attractive to some childminders, pros would be, high level local support, possibility of no Ofsted inspections, cheaper training and possibility of less paperwork.
On the con side, many chidminders have spent hours building up their buisnesses and would not want to make changes or work 'under' someone else.

For parents, they only have to contact the agency, it can be difficult to find childminders particularly if new to an area. The agencies may work as a mediator between childminder and parent, so many of these issues we hear of on here and other sites can be resolved quicker. So some parents may find it is a good idea too.

So my stance really would depend on the fine details, which I suppose over the next few months will be made clear.
I am keen to see some reports as to how the pilot schemes are working, there is no information online that I can find other than that of where they will happen (also on the link i put above).

Lastly which people may find extremely hypercritical of me to say but if the future is agency, then I would most defintly look into setting one up, I feel as an experienced childminder I could offer a good service to both childminders and parents as I have been in both situations.

One last note I do not know if this is the vision, but if I was running an agency I would visit each childminder at least once every 3 months to ensure they are keeping up to date with everything as I would have a standard I would want each childminder to adhere too, at the moment qip and ofsed do not visit or inspect childminders regually enough and many do say there is no support for them. x

(First post on mumsnet, but I needed to get some of my thoughts down)

Paintyfingers Sun 02-Feb-14 20:51:59

I still think this is a bad idea. I think parents can be trusted to pick a good cm without the help of agencies.

jhe Thu 06-Feb-14 23:15:56

you have forgotten the extra cost to childminders at the moment agencies are estimating a charge of between £400 an £1000 a year or a presentage of the fees this will have to be passed on to parents.. also we will still have to do all the eyfs and all other paperwork except registeration and loking for parents. There will be very little reduction in paperwork. As it is due to come into force in september and the trials are not finished how can they expect us to hae a balanced view on it? The agencies will be in it to make money. Even ET Ms Truss has little idea on how they will work. I will stay independant as i can run my own buisness and there is lots of help in forums for us.

leeloo1 Fri 07-Feb-14 16:26:18

"£400 an £1000 a year" shock

Do CMs really find it so hard to find 'clients' that they'd pay this? Surely either there is demand in the area - in which case CMs will find work (if they're good), or there isn't, in which case will the agency be charging the fee even if they can't find work? And what if the agency have favourites and find them work preferentially?

I find CMing is a very personal thing - each set of parents have individual requirements and needs for their child - and will find a CM who meets their needs and who they feel comfortable with - these CMs are easy to find via childcare.co.uk/council lists. I can't imagine they'd go to an agency and just go with whoever is recommended! I suppose it works for nanny agencies, but thats a 1-off fee paid by parents for introducing them to a range of nannies - the nanny isn't paying to be found work like CMs would be.

Whilst agencies could potentially mediate (how much mediation do we need?), they could also add levels of difficulty/miscommunication between CMs and parents. I looked round nurseries before choosing to become a CM and found most of the workers there fairly pleasant, but poorly educated and many weren't well spoken (which is why I ended up not putting my DC in a nursery) - I wouldn't want them to be mediating for me!

Also what if the CM is outstanding and the agency/nursery is only good? Would they have to take advice from the agency, even though their own practice is better?

Mmmm I sound super-snobby don't I? grin I won't be joining an agency anyway and find the whole thing hugely dispiriting, as it makes CMs look as if we're subservient to nurseries, rather than all being inspected by Ofsted on the same professional basis! sad

HSMMaCM Fri 07-Feb-14 18:59:32

Leeloo it will be interesting to see what happens. I'm guessing most outstanding CMs will have no desire to join an agency, so how will agencies build reputations?

I will do anything to avoid having someone else interfering in my high quality successful business.

DolphinChildcare09 Fri 07-Feb-14 20:11:58

Totally agree leeloo on the personal choice of childminders, even when parents come to see me I always suggest for the, to see a few more childminders as well.

I think for years childminding as been seen as subservient to nurseries and maybe just recently this view has been changing smile but yes agencies would lower that down sad again.

Wow £400 to £1000 a year, I was thinking it would be more like £100, if what happens what I think will happen, then our profession will be on the way out sad no-one would pay that! (I think agencies will be compulsory to new people wishing to start up as childminders, due to no LA funding).

Its such an area of uncertainty but really why try to fix something that isn't broke.

What do parents think?

rm00054 Sat 08-Feb-14 10:08:56

Some really good thoughts here. Very interesting to see what you think.

Ofsted have now published their 'how we intend to inspect the agencies' proposal, for which they're encouraging feedback from childminders (and anyone working with the EYFS). Here is the link:
www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/inspecting-childminder-agencies-consultation-document

nannynick Sat 08-Feb-14 11:02:58

I wonder what the Ofsted registration fee will be for childminders who choose not to go via an agency. In the past there has been discussion about it being Full Cost Recovery - See this thread from 2008 on which I posted a link to a 2005 document which indicated that £750 could be the the fee for childminders.

So is Government looking at fees again, I expect so. Will they remain the same as now, I doubt it. Perhaps they will use the stick and carrot approach to getting people to join agencies... such as raising the Ofsted fee so it is higher than the joining the agency fee. May not be the case, I can only guess. Will be interesting to see what does happen.

Lucylouby Sat 08-Feb-14 13:42:19

Nanny nick, I think that is a really good point and one I hadn't thought of. If they raise normal cm ofsted fees to above the agency fees, financially it makes sense for us all to join agencies. Which is presumably what the Government want?

Tanith Sat 08-Feb-14 14:40:44

That's why so many independent childminders are worried. They believe they will be forced into joining these agencies that neither parents or childminders ever wanted simply because it costs too much to remain independent.

Personally, I think it stinks. They've done a complete smoke-and-mirrors job on these agencies, fooling parents into thinking it'll reduce their childcare costs.

HSMMaCM Sat 08-Feb-14 16:16:06

I'm sure nannynick is right about the Ofsted fee increases.

Paintyfingers Sat 08-Feb-14 19:28:17

It's all completely stupid!

DolphinChildcare09 Sun 09-Feb-14 14:46:17

I am absolutely sure that ofsted year registration fee will rise, and there will not be any LA funding for new minders. It will leave childminders with very little choice. We really need to know how agencies would realistically run?

leeloo1 Tue 11-Feb-14 17:17:55

Ugh! I'd forgotten about the raised Ofsted fee debate. sad

Although personally, even if it was £750, I'd pay that to avoid having to join an agency. I agree with HSMMaCM "I will do anything to avoid having someone else interfering in my high quality successful business."

At least the Ofsted fee is tax deductable! grin

Runoutofideas Tue 11-Feb-14 17:58:22

I would stop childminding rather than join an agency. I refuse to be dictated to regarding how I run my business. I am normally full with a waiting list, so I don't see what an agency will do for me. Even if it is £750 for an inspection - they are currently every 4 years, so that is less than £200 to remain independent.

Runoutofideas Tue 11-Feb-14 17:58:54

* less than £200 per year

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