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Would you send your child to an unregistered "childminder&qu ot;?

(68 Posts)
DoubtfireDear Thu 28-Aug-14 18:00:04

I live in a small village, DS attends the village primary school, he is nearly 5. There is no afterschool club or childcare in the village, the nearest registered childminders and daycare are 20 miles away in either direction and none do pick up.

I am about to start college 20 miles away, I wont be home until two hours after DS is out of school, twice a week.

There is a lady in our village who used to be a registered childminder but is no longer registered. She watches many of the children who go to the village school and does pick up/drop offs. She seems to be very good with
them all, lots of activities, takes them out for the day gives healthy meals and snacks and is firm but good fun from what i've seen of her with the other children and she has a playroom set up in her home for them.

I just dont think I'm comfortable with the fact that she isn't registered so her home/play room have not been checked out, I don't know if she has a limit on how many children she'll watch at a given time etc.

Just wondered what the MN view on this was, at the minute I'm still on the "no way" side of the fence but my family are not being very helpful at the minute and i'd like to be able to stop relying on them if possble.

whatsagoodusername Thu 28-Aug-14 18:04:11

I'd wonder why she was no longer registered.

I'd do it if it was someone I knew and trusted, but I think I'd be wary of someone I didn't know well and who used to be registered and no longer is.

Pippidoeswhatshewants Thu 28-Aug-14 18:08:46

Why is she not registered any more? Is there a maximum number of children she looks after?

If she answered these questions to my satisfaction and seems nice / comes recommended, I would send my kids to her. Especially if they are of an age when they can tell you about what happens while they are minded.

BrieAndChilli Thu 28-Aug-14 18:10:46

I'm not registered although did the training just decided it wasn't something I wanted to do but my friend has been left in the lurch with childcare so I will be havin her child a couple of mornings a week for an hour and them drop her at Playschool along with my child.

grendel Thu 28-Aug-14 18:13:02

If none of the children stay with her for more than two hours per day, or if all of the children are over 8, then she doesn't need to be registered, so she isn't necessarily breaking the law.

She may have chosen to de-register from Ofsted because she didn't want to deal with all the paperwork surrounding the early years foundation stage. It's not necessarily sinister. (Many childminders have done this.) However, if she had be de-registered by Ofsted for some kind of infraction, then I'd be quite worried.

In any event, I'd be wanting to know what sort of insurance she has as most childcare insurance companies wouldn't cover her if she wasn't registered.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Thu 28-Aug-14 18:14:08

If she is acting as a childminder while being unregistered I would consider that dodgy. I would also wonder WHY she is no longer registered.

insancerre Thu 28-Aug-14 18:22:59

No I wouldn't use her. She won't be insured and won't be following any statutory regs. She won't be inspected and you have no guarantees of her competence
I would use a friend or a family member but I wouldn't pay someone who isn't registered

DoubtfireDear Thu 28-Aug-14 18:24:17

I don't get the feeling it is anything sinister, I asked her in passing one day "are you a childminder then?" and she said not officially, that she wasnt registered any more. She didn't elaborate but her family have lived here for quite a long time and I have never heard anything negative.

She is open enough that she isn't registered and I don't think she is trying to pull the wool over anybody's eyes. Two of the children she looks after are eight, the rest are between 3 and 6, she also has her grandchildren with her who are about 1 and 3. Some she has all day, some are wraparound school/nursery.

I don't think she has a maximum number, just whoever needs her at a given time, it's a small place so she doesn't have hoardes of children but sometimes about 7 or 8 maximum including her grandchildren.

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 28-Aug-14 18:25:14

I would use her if it was for less than two hours per day as I would (rightly or wrongly) assume it was paperwork reasons that she wasn't registered.

DoubtfireDear Thu 28-Aug-14 18:26:18

insancerre

that's my main worry that she isn't insured or regulated by anyone, not that i think amything intentionally untoward would be going on but in the event of an accident or being overcrowded there is no-one to look into it.

DoubtfireDear Thu 28-Aug-14 18:40:50

It probably will be less than two hours a day, DS finishes school at 3 and I'd be home by 5.

insancerre Thu 28-Aug-14 18:47:14

Accountability is everything.

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 28-Aug-14 18:48:34

I would still want insurance registered or not registered in the same way as I'd want my children's dance, football, piano teachers, soft play venue etc to have insurance

DoubtfireDear Thu 28-Aug-14 19:06:09

Would she have insurance to look after children in that sort of setting without being registered though?

She takes them out of town to activities on the bus sometimes too.

BackforGood Thu 28-Aug-14 19:13:21

As quoted upthread, you don't have to be registered for over8s and you don't have to be registered for less than 2 hours a day. So, nothing amiss if that were all she were doing.
Also, you don't have to be registered for looking after your own grandchildren.
What sounds wrong is the other dc that she has for the day. I mean, any of us can do a favour for a friend on a voluntary basis, occasionally, but if it's paid childcare, then she needs to be registered for that.

Anyhoooo, yes, I've used a "retired" CM for after school care for mine - came highly recommended and just got fed up with the ridiculous paperwork requirements that were being put on her. Mine were there for under 2 hours x 3 days a week, so it wasn't an issue.

cruikshank Thu 28-Aug-14 19:17:55

I think others have covered what her reasons for not being registered might be - maybe talk to her and ask her? Something along the lines of 'Oh yes of course, since they're older/not with you all day you don't need to register, do you?' and see what she says.

One thing to bear in mind though is that if you're hoping to get anything back for childcare through tax credits, the care provider has to be registered.

DoubtfireDear Thu 28-Aug-14 19:23:07

I couldn't possibly say how long she has each child for or how many days, just that most of them are under eight, and definitely more than two hours a day regularly for some of the children.

I know she doesn't have to be registered to look after her grandchildren, my concern there is that it brings her total number of children up, and I'm sure there would be limits on those numbers if she were registered.

This is definitely more than doing a favour for a friend once in a blue moon and she charges
a (very reasonable) hourly rate.

DS would be there for 2 hours or less, twice a week, but my worry is that she isn't covered at all if anything happens and he is in with too many other children or children that she has had longer than she is "allowed" to, who is accountable?

DoubtfireDear Thu 28-Aug-14 19:26:18

Thanks cruikshank, I know I wont get any help from tax credits if i use her, but it would be for four hours a week and would be affordable. cost isnt really my main worry here.

It's definitely not that she doesn't need to register, as i said in my last post the children are.mostly under eight and mostly there for a big chunk of the day.

BackforGood Thu 28-Aug-14 19:29:30

My concern wouldn't be is she "covered" or who is "accountable". If something bad happens, I wouldn't be worried about 'insurance' or blame I'd be worried about the consequences for my (well, all the) dc.
The decision for me, would be - is it safe? is it sensible?
and
would my (still quite little a a little bit vulnerable at just 4 and starting school for the first time) ds get the attention he needed at that stage?
If there are several younger dc there, then I'd have my doubts, whatever the regulations said.
That said, I've been in the position of not being able to find childcare myself, and have huge sympathies with you wanting it to work.

cruikshank Thu 28-Aug-14 19:32:34

Hmm well in that case I would be more wary, sorry; isn't it against the law to charge for childminding if you're not registered and you should be? Although in a lot of ways I guess it makes no odds if she's good with the children and keeps them safe and happy - that's all you want, really, isn't it? Sure, if something went wrong there could be a problem with insurance etc, but if something went wrong that's a problem in itself and probably a lot bigger than the insurance issue. I suppose it depends on how risk-averse you are - it sounds like a bit of a fudge, but for the sake of getting 4 hours a week covered locally rather than traipsing across the country to someone who may well not actually be any better but has got the rubber stamp - it may well be worth it.

Ragwort Thu 28-Aug-14 19:40:21

I would (and have) used informal childcare, it's a bit like having a babysitter isn't it?

I know there are insurance issues but if the worse happened I am sure you would be more concerned about your child than 'liability'. My DS had an accident when my parents were looking after him once, these things happen.

DoubtfireDear Thu 28-Aug-14 19:43:10

You are right, I hope it didn't come across that in the horrible event of something happening I'd be more concerned about who to blame or how to make a claim. I think that it's the fact that having insurance would mean she would have to stick to certain rules or criteria that would be checked out. As it stands I don't think there is any form of regulation she is sticking to (with regards to no. of children, home being safety checked etc.) so I can't be sure of how safe DS would really be.

While she seems very competent and obviously has experience there's no telling what the setting would be like and how she could cope with DS if she has several other little ones running around.

I don't think I'll rest easy if he goes to her, I may just have to grin and bare it with my family.

LatteLoverLovesLattes Thu 28-Aug-14 19:51:11

I think it's best that you don't use her.

She has told you exactly what she is offering and it's an 'Aunty/Granny' type environment. You want somewhere that the regulations are all adhered to. The two aren't going to mix.

I wish registration was optional and parents could choose this kind of care OR ofsted regulated care.

Kimaroo Thu 28-Aug-14 19:54:33

I thought schools had to either provide care if there was a need or point you to childminders or other providers in the area? Have things changed in the last few years?

DoubtfireDear Thu 28-Aug-14 20:51:14

LatteLover, your are completely right, I think in an absolute emergency one off i would call on her (if the road was blocked and I couldn't get home or something) but as a regular thing I don't think it's worth it. I'm not going to use her.

Kimaroo, I have never heard of that before, but DS only started school last week so I'm not really aware yet. I'm in Scotland if that makes any difference, but I think if the school had an obligation then there would be something in place as there are no other childcare facilities in the area at all.

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