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What would your gut feel about this CM be?(43 Posts)
I've recently been to see a few CMs whom I got into contact with via the childcare.co.uk website. All were lovely. One lady lives a car drive away and although she was great I would prefer someone closer by as I don't drive. The second lady was fantastic in terms of personality, interaction with my son and I just found her really professional. The only downside is, again, distance (she is within walking distance, but it's almost 20 minutes). The third lady was perfect as she lives a 5-10 min walk away, was nice, good with my son and says she'll even pick him up each morning and drop him off each evening, which is perfect. Also her weekly rate is the cheapest of the 3.
I asked for a recommendation from a friend who lives near 3rd lady on the off chance she knew her. She did, and said she knew a child who went there in the past. She says "she's not the most amazing childminder but she's okay, I know the child looked forward to going there each day."
So I casually mentioned my friend (but not her comments) when I met 3rd lady and she said "oh yes, I know her" and much smiling and nodding.
So... I said I would make a decision on the weekend and get back to each lady on Monday (yesterday), however when I went to contact 3rd lady via the childcare website it said her profile was no longer available as she had closed her account. I thought it was a bit bizarre, and although I did have her number in my phone I thought I would leave it, as maybe she'd decided not to childmind after all, or maybe I had done something to offend her
Anyway, cut to this morning, I get a phone call and it is her, calling to see if I'd made a decision yet! In a way I was glad to hear from her but I did mention that I went on to her profile and it said her account had been closed. She apologised profusely and said it must just be that her subscription is up and they've not renewed her profile. Hmmmm, I mean I really like her and she would be soooooo handy, but should I be smelling a rat, for any of the reasons mentioned above? Any advice appreciated - sorry for long post!
sounds fine to me. These websites do charge you to join so maybe she forgot to pay or cant afford it right now.
Why, because she hadn't renewed her profile? Not sure what you'd smell a rat about to be honest!
I got given childminder's details free by the council anyway.
That wouldn't bother me in the slightest- if she's changed her mind about childminding in general or trying to avoid you in particular, then she wouldn't have rung you, would she?
I suppose you're right, it's just that her profile was active on the site for months (it was how we were keeping in touch), but suddenly she closed her account after we had met?
It's just the timing of it that I'm reading too much into, obviously. I do really like her. So I guess she physically didn't go on and close her account - if her subscription just lapsed then her profile will come up as "user has closed their account". Okay.
I have recently closed my account with that website too. There is nothing suspicious it was a problem with my bank paying them and they were very very rude I decided not to continue my subscription because of their attitude. I will use other ways of contacting parents but most of mine come through word of mouth.
My annual subscription was due while I was on holiday and I found they simply removed my profile because I hadn't remembered to renew it in advance. The worst of it is they don't send any sort of invoice or reminder, and not even an email to say your account has been closed. I only found out I no longer had a profile when I went to reply to a parent's ad and got a message saying I needed a gold account to send messages (when of course I thought I had one). I'd be tempted not to renew it out of pique, but then parents might think I was dodgy
Thanks for the feedback, it has helped knowing that's how the site works.
As I said in my OP she is lovely and got on well with my son so I have no qualms, it was just the timing of it that caused me to go After all, I've only so far spent about 40 minutes in her company.
My friend's feedback on her didn't bother me, after all saying that someone's "not amazing but okay" hardly constitues a horror story.
I cancelled my subscription with that website too, it's really expensive for what you get, nearly £20 per month, and it's not that often that I used it. We pay that for our phone and tv package.
I would have thought also that after initial contact the site becomes redundant surely?
Well no, I posted a profile well in advance of my return to work date, CMs got in touch to let me know their availability, then it was a few messages back and forth via the site until we decided to arrange a time/date to meet. Only then did I ask/get given contact numbers and addresses.
It was my first time using the site let alone looking for a CM so I assumed that's just how it worked.
The website change wouldnt bother me tbh. Ask her for references fom current and past parents so that you can get views from others.
£20 a month? Are you talking about the same website? Have the Gold fees really gone up that much - I thought they renewed at the same price as your initial purchase until you decided to cancel your paypal subscription.
Leaving that aside for now... what I would be concerned about is that at no point so far have you mentioned the term Registered Childminder... you haven't mentioned seeing their registration certificate when you visited them. Did you check registration (if in England, then regulator is Ofsted).
I've only ever paid yearly - better value, less than £7 a month which is far cheaper than an advert in a local newspaper.
I would have thought that if someone had a paid subscription and for whatever reason the payment was not renewed, then it would revert back to a standard entry - so the info still being there but the user not having the ability to start sending a message, though could still reply to a message they were sent.
Closing an account I would have thought would only be done by user request, if there was fraud or something suspicious about user activity.
Childminders can claim advertising expenses against their tax, so if it is getting new business for the childminder, I would have thought they would keep paying.
OP - you went to meet them at their home didn't you and thus had their full contact details from any paperwork they gave you at that meeting or in prior correspondence. So maybe they just thought you were certain to take the space they had and it was their last space, so they felt they didn't need the childcare.co.uk account anymore - least not until they next had a space.
Mankymink - to answer the question in your post title, Yes I would be a little concerned. If everything else was ok, such as you discussed contract, checked registration, were happy with what sort of things the CM did with the children during the day, all that sort of thing, then I'd be happy.
Were you satisfied with everything else?
20 minutes walk is hardly hours. You should go with the person who will take better care of your child, not just the nearest/cheapest.
Hi mankymink if you would like to get in touch via our website www.childcare.co.uk/contact and let us know the screen name of this childminder then we can take a look at their account and let you know the reason their account was suspended.
We don't usually remove profiles if a gold subscription is not renewed. In this instance the account would revert back to being a a free member.
Thanks a lot Richard, I've now done this.
You're damn right, FAB - 20 minutes walk is hardly hours.
nannynick - I was satisfied with everything else but have arranged to meet her again this week, she actually came to my house for the initial meeting so DS would be more comfortable.
Sorry Richard. Ahem. Didn't realise you'd be listening...
They came to you? So you have't seen where the care would be provided. I feel that's a concern... anyone else feel the same?
The next time you meet, will that be at their home?
Nannynick it does sound unusual but since she felt her son would be more comfortable in his own environment it does make sense. I have to say after attending recent training on transitions this was one of the ideas that was put in our heads ... maybe not as a first meeting but a visit at child's home would help to understand the child better before he actually starts. It would be nice to do this before the contracts are signed. But of course you should also see her home as this is where care will take place.
I agree a meeting at the child's home sounds good.
But it's the combination here that raises concerns - which of course could just be the childminder being nice to a parent who doesn't have transport. But why start this message thread at all... there must be something that the OP is not happy about or why ask for other peoples gut views.
My gut view is that there might be something amiss - the CM is offering to pickup and return the child to the child's own home, the CM has met the child at the child's own home. So far, neither parents or child has seen the CM's home.
Next step has to be to visit the CMs home to see the setup.
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