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Childminders Club: I love OFSTED

25 replies

Xena · 24/08/2005 12:45

Put a variation request last Friday, asking to take on an assistant and increase my number by 2 (the assistant also has 2 u8's) and they approved it today how fast was that? Just got to wait for my certificate and then I can start.

OP posts:

HellyBelly · 24/08/2005 13:13

Well done Xena!!


TrulyScrumptious · 24/08/2005 14:36

How many are you allowed to mind in total now then? I take it your assistant is full-time?

I'm going to be working with a co-childminder from my house when our registration goes through and OFSTED have told us we can look after 7 plus my dd who is 2 and a half.

Does that sound fair?


Xena · 24/08/2005 15:00

It sounds about right TS. We have 5 under 8's of our own and we are registered for 5 more. technically we could have gone for 7 mindees but as we have lots of over 8's we didn't. I'm sure thats why they approved it so quickly. (ofsted are aware I have lots over 8 as they inspected me recently)

Do you know that you can have up to 6 under 8's per childminder(no more than 3under 5's and no more than 1 under 1). But it depends on your registration interview and also the size of your house.

OP posts:

Xena · 24/08/2005 15:02

Sorry also my assistant isn't quite the same hours as me as I will only use her on the days I need more spaces as I am registered for 3 on my own.

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JELLYJELLY · 24/08/2005 16:14

Can i ask what might be a really stupid question? How do you pay her does she get the money from the extra two, does she pay you rent for the house you work in?, It is possible something i would like to do in the future but not sure if it would be worth it finance wise.


Xena · 24/08/2005 17:24

I'll pay her an hourly rate. Because I will have 2 full timers and 3 part timers I won't always need her so she wouldn't be there when 'her 2' were IYSWIM.

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katymac · 24/08/2005 17:27

I pay my staff (3 of them) an hourly rate. Higher if I'm not arround.

If we have room they can bring their children, if not they can't - but we know weeks in advance.

Also I have their children if we have space for free so that they can go shopping etc.


Xena · 24/08/2005 17:42

Hi Kmc Do I sound happy today Actually have had a really mixed week. Monday the children were dreadfully behaved and today also. Yesterday lovely weather lovely day, as we went to the zoo. The weather really affects us though, as I have mainly boys to look after and they are not interested in craft they want to play video games or be outside.
What have you planned for the rest of the holiday?

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JELLYJELLY · 24/08/2005 17:43

Do you find that you will be working to a profit? I am assuming that you have to pay the minumum wage or does this not apply?


katymac · 24/08/2005 17:58

Xena I'm on holiday at the moment so I'm not here really next week when I'm back we are all off again on the trips out etc

Jellyjelly I pay above min wage (just) and each person allows 3 extra children so extra money = £9.60 phr wages = £5.20 phr - so it's OK
But it enables both me & DH to have a life - as both of us have health problems we can't work the 52.5 hrs a week needed. Having staff enables us to work when we want and have time off when we need (just not enough of it)

I pay £6 an hour when we arne't arround


ThePrisoner · 24/08/2005 21:59

This week has been pure heaven so far as I have managed not to have any schoolchildren! Last week was organised chaos (had a brilliant time but shattered by Friday).


HellyBelly · 24/08/2005 22:50

Theprisoner - do you find school aged children harder work? I DO! Do like them and enjoy them but am sooo looking forward to the end of the holidays. I charge less for over 5's but have soon realised that they actually take up a lot more of my energy than the 3 toddlers (and my ds is a nightmare, just ask jellyjelly!! )

I say I'm looking forward to them going back to school, not the loss of money though!


ThePrisoner · 24/08/2005 23:28

HellyBelly - I like having all age groups, without a preference for any in particular. However, I sometimes had two babies around last week (aided and abetted by my able assistant, eldest dd where necessary), as well as up to 8 other children aged up to 10 years (and yes, all within my registered numbers). I have lots of mindees, but they rarely all want to come for the same week of the summer hols! It was just "one of those weeks".

If I have all "walking" children (from 2 years and over?), we can go to the woods/park/days out with no problem. Throwing in much smaller children meant much of it was impossible. Thankfully, I've had most of the older ones since they were babies, and everyone knew that our activities would be more curtailed than usual.

However, I felt like a c**p childminder and that I wasn't offering the sort of service that I think parents and children deserve. I think the children thought it was a riot, and the much older children were allowed much more time on the games console!!


HellyBelly · 24/08/2005 23:49

I suppose it's because I'm very new and having the older ones at the same time as the 3 toddlers has just been a hard mix to get used to. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy them all, just sometimes hard as they want different things and yes, I know one would spend the whole days playing computer games if they could. Think I'll be much better once I've got my MPV as can't fit all 5 in the car I have at the moment so restricts what we can do. At least it's not the whole week so we still get out and about - not so good when the weather is bad though!

Anyway, off to bed - been chatting to my mum online and she's just told me off as I'm still up


ThePrisoner · 25/08/2005 01:00

I've got a brute of a vehicle to drive, so we don't have any problems physically getting out and about. I guess it was just the huge age range that caused the problem.

I think I'm very lucky that all the older children very much look out for the younger ones - as I said, I've had most of them since they were babies, so they are all jolly used to one another now.

The thing that I really like is that parents will ring to organise holiday care, but will ask which other children are coming and when, so that they can book theirs in to meet up with "old friends" (some go to different schools and only come in holidays). There's a lot of hugging and kissing going on!!


Xena · 25/08/2005 09:06

That sounds really nice theprisoner.
My School time hours of work are 7.30-9 and 2.30-7.30 Mondays and wednesday and 3.30-5.30 Tue,thurs and fri. So in the holidays I work alot longer hours and don't get the break during the day.
In answer to your question about profit yes it is very profitable and hopefully more so. I pay £6ph and as 2 of my under 8 mindees are teachers children I don't need my assistant in the holidays. As an employer you are liable for some holiday pay as well but you just need to include that in your budget when you work things out

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JELLYJELLY · 25/08/2005 16:25

Thankyou for explaining this, I havent long been minding so it is good to have someone that is so willing to answer questions.

If i wanted to go down that route (have an assistant)do you have to have a big house, i only have a three bed house but very big garden (i know that doesnt come in space wise though). Would this be big enough do you know what extra criteria ofsted set down for assistants? ie room sizes, amount etc not being suitable, checked.

All ideas info much apprecaited.


Xena · 25/08/2005 21:30

In the standards its set out the amount of space required per child. between 2.2-3.1?? from memory the younger the child the more space they require. This space can't be taken up by funiture unless extensivly used by children.

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ThePrisoner · 25/08/2005 22:18

JellyJelly - why do you want an assistant? To enable you to permanently take on more children, to be able to offer cover on an occasional basis, or just to help out as an extra pair of hands?

I registered my immediate family (husband and children as they had to have police checks done anyway) as assistants so that if there was an occasion where an existing parent needed longer hours or an extra day, I had cover if it meant I would be over my numbers. I do not take on additional children permanently.

However, I did register a friend once as an assistant to cover a three month period when a new child started before another child had left, and it really didn't work out. I hadn't realised just how different we were in our views re. discipline, play ideas or even acceptable noise levels (!!) and it was a very difficult time.


JELLYJELLY · 25/08/2005 22:58

We were talking tonight about our dreams and we would like to open a nursery, i know it will be alot of hard work and i know that we are not quite there yet.

We thought that if i hired an assistant for permanent care to take on extra children would be good and we were thinking of buying a bigger house. I do not know how realistic this will be and will think over the weekend once the effect of the wine has gone and the happiness of going to the festival has ceased.

DP is going to sign up and do the childminding induction as a backup care even though he has a full time job it might be cheaper and a selling point to the business if he is registered.

Can anyone give me any thoughts on this why it might not work, things i need to think further on etc. I am at just the begining of thinking this out so any views or ideas much apprecaited.



ThePrisoner · 25/08/2005 23:29

I don't use my assistants as a selling feature of my childminding, because it has been said to me by parents before that it had worried them that I might be "packing the house full of children" and it would no longer be the "home-based" care environment that they wanted.

Katymac - you must operate in a different way to me as you obviously have more adults and children present than me. Do you think the parents of mindees see you as offering a different type of service?

When prospective parents visit, I tell them my family are registered as assistants, but only to be for emergency back-up.

I also prefer to do what I want to do when I want to do it and, even if I was in charge, I wouldn't want anyone giving me shifty looks if I sat down for an unscheduled cup of camomile tea.


Xena · 26/08/2005 08:04

I think its about balance and I think that you need to watch the idea of 'packing the kids in' so that it isn't what the parents think you are doing. I could have asked them to increase my numbers by 4 more which including our own would have made 12 under 8's. Because we have so many over 8's there just would have been to many children. But yes we do have a large house our front room is 16ftx14ft our back room is 24x15ft and we have have a 10ft sq conservatory dining room.

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katymac · 29/08/2005 15:04

ThePrisoner (can't we call you No6?) - Yes I keep being referred to as the nursery, the creche, even the playroom or playgroup. I'm always quick to say I'm just a childminder.

In the 60's what I'm doing now used to be a 'home nursery' or 'group minding house'

It has lots of benefits (time off for me & DH - as we both are disabled we find working 50hrs + a week quite hard and also if we are sick, then cover is still available)

It is still homebased and we cuddle on the settee and play in the garden etc - but a bit more secure (mentally) for parents - it's nice for them to know that there are (usually) at least 2 people around for extra safety etc


katymac · 29/08/2005 15:06

BTW - I'm limited by Planning to 12 children at any time - whatever their this over 8 /under8 doesn't apply to me We are only allow 12 (so if I have 6 over 8's I can only have 6 under 8's etc)


ThePrisoner · 29/08/2005 23:15

Katymac - your minding parents know how you run your childminding work with your assistants, so that's fine and parents are obviously happy with it ...(I am not a number ... !!!)

I think that if any childminder wants to take on an assistant, then they have to up front with parents as to the reasons for doing so, and existing parents need to know. If you are going to mind six under-5s, then you must say so.

I sell myself as a "single" childminder with the obvious limits on the children I can have. When I had my friend as an assistant, the parents of all mindees knew that there would be four minded children here for 3 months, and were OK with that (or so they said!!). I don't think I'd permanently want an assistant because that's not way I want to run my business - and I'm really not trying to make it sound as though I'm judging anyone else!!

Besides, as well as having my shifty cup of camomile tea, I need to sneak in the odd bar of chocolate whilst feeding mindees carrot sticks and organic sultanas ...

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