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CM Club - Advise about looking after 2 under 1's

17 replies

looneytune · 27/01/2007 14:44


I recently received my new certificate from Ofsted stating that I can have 4 under 5's, 3 days a week, as per my request last year (to allow sibling to come on board). However, there has been a change in circumstances and I now have my nearly 4 year old full time mindee leaving next month to go to private school and of course I can't replace her as the 4 under 5's were for the people named in my request and not for new business (apart from the sibling).

So, in a couple of weeks time I will have NO mindees on a Monday or Friday and these days are not very easy days to fill

I've had lots of enquiries for full time and have turned them down but one lady would really like to use me (lives off the road I lived on before I moved and she said she'd seen me lots and wanted me ) and she only requires hours like 8.30-2 Mon-Fri. I told her I couldn't help due to my numbers but after thinking about it more, I wondered if it may be worth requesting a new variation - they'll probably say no but worth a try. Phoned the lady and she'd like me to try.

So, I'm going to put to Ofsted that due to my ds being in nursery 8.50-11.30 each day, apart from the school run, I'd only have 4 under 5's for about 2 hours (basically the lunch time routine). The bit I'm not sure about is having 2 under 1's (this is the part of the request that worries me).

I'm proposing to have:

Ds - 4 in March, attends nursery every morning so only together for 2 hours
Mindee x - 18 months old (6.45-6.30 - Tues, Wed, Thurs)
Mindee y - sibling, currently 5 weeks old but wanting to start asap (6.45-6.30 - Tues, Wed, Thurs)

Mindee z - 3½ months in Feb when they need to start (8.30-2 Mon - Fri)

I feel confident in the looking after side of things but I could do with some advice about transporting 3 young ones. One option would be the older 2 in a double buggy on those days with the youngest in a sling. But what about when the little one is too old to be in a sling? I have a single pram, double and a buggy board and Litaf seat to go.

Have any of you got 3 young ones like this who could give me some advice?

I may decide not to put the request in but I'd like to at least thing about it.


OP posts:
mykidzrmyworld · 27/01/2007 15:33

i applied for varition and told inspector my son was in nursery every afternoon so only a small number of hrs would be over but she said no due to the school hols and when mine off sick etc.
Its always worth a go and asking.
Have the thought of a triple buggy?

looneytune · 27/01/2007 16:05

Good point about the holidays, can you tell this is all very new in my head!

Yes, a triple buggy may be the way to go IF by some miracle it's agreed. I very much doubt it though but thought there's no harm in trying!

OP posts:
ThePrisoner · 27/01/2007 16:40

I've recently been granted a variation to have 4 under 5yrs, and it's for totally new business. I did a thread here about it.

The parents couldn't find childcare for a schoolchild (who I could accommodate) and a baby (I could only do one day, and they need four). Ofsted accepted what I said, and I am surprised they didn't double-check with the parents because I could easily have been lying about the reasons.

Three of those children have been my mindees since they were very young, and I had two babies (6 months old) and a 14month old! I've got a triple buggy, which is on loan from my network.

Tan1959 · 27/01/2007 16:47

Hi there Looneytune, I applied for a variation last year for two under ones and a 15 month old; was granted it...

I used to use a sling & double buggy as 15 month old was not a walker. Those triple buggy's look really heavy, I wouldn't relish the thought of pushing one of those, they seem a bit anti-social on the pavement; have enough trouble dodging all the obstacles on the pavements as it is with a double - mind you, it's it's all up hill where I live so pushing a double is hard enough - I'm no spring chicken . Your Litaf seat to go sounds a good option though.

Try putting your application in, you may be surprised.

Before submitting my application, I telephoned my inspector first and had a chat with her - I found that to be really beneficial

nannynick · 27/01/2007 17:15

My suspicion is that you will be refused, however it is always worth applying - never know they may be feeling nice!

The reason why I feel you will be refused, is that you will exceed the maximum of 3 children under 5, as stated in the 2004 Guidance - HMI 2573. Tribunals use that Guidance, and it says that variation to 3 under 5's will only be considered if it time limited and is Siblings or Continuity of care. See Flemming v Ofsted as an example.

Once your son is in full time education (10 educational sessions) he is then 5 for ratio purposes... may be something to consider.

looneytune · 27/01/2007 17:18

Wow TP, what has happened to Ofsted hey! Well, I'm definitely going to try but I don't think they'll grant it due to the ages plus I don't have your experience!

Tan1959 - pleased they granted yours too. My 18 month old is very much a new walker which is why I have to have her in a buggy. I'd rather the 18 month old was in the litaf seat to go but I'm not sure if it can go on a double buggy? Need to check.

Right, what else do I need to think of? I've got sterilizers, cots, bedding etc.


OP posts:
looneytune · 27/01/2007 17:20

Cheers Nannynick, I feel the same but thought what the hell, may as well ask!

I got the distinct impression that the lady I spoke to at Ofsted (not inspector) was trying to tell me to use my existing certificate and not to worry about the names being different however I pointed out that it would also be 2 under 1's which isn't reflected on the certificate.

OP posts:
mumlove · 27/01/2007 17:24

Will Ofsted say that both babies are very young. That's my thoughts. Maybe if their ages were more nearer the 6mths and 9mths ages together.

When my DD was just 1 yr old I started to care for my older mindeees sibling of 8 weeks, and it brings back the all the feeding, winding, cuddling etc. that a very young baby needs.

nannynick · 27/01/2007 17:24

TP - I wonder if yours had anything to do with the Sibling relationship, as you had the space for the older child (correct me if I am wrong) and you were the only minder able to do the school run. Though it still surprised me a lot that they granted your variation! If only we knew their reasoning behind it - but fully understand they you won't ask them, else they may spot they made an error!

Loony - Is mindee Y listed on current variation by name? If not, wonder if you could say that Mindee Z is with you now, and that you want to add Mindee Y (as is a sibling).

looneytune · 27/01/2007 17:29

Nannynick - sibling isn't on the original variation as mum was still pregnant at the time. These mindees mum has suggested I take on the business as currently within my numbers (well, will be by the time they need me as it's just after other mindee leaves) and then when she wants me to take baby on (not 100% when she wants me to start), apply to Ofsted for the baby to come on board as sibling. I said I'd hate to have to let the other person down if I got refused as would have to give notice.

Oh, I just don't know what to do.

OP posts:
shosha · 27/01/2007 17:29

Message withdrawn

nannynick · 27/01/2007 17:31

So do it as a paper exercise only... apply for the variation for Sibling Y to join DS, X and Z. If they grant that, then you can start care for Z and take Y from the proposed start date.
If they refuse, then you can tell Z that you can't accept them.

looneytune · 27/01/2007 18:16

Nannynick - remember helping me with layout etc last time........well, I've adapted that letter. What do you think? Please ignore layout, can't be bothered to adjust as fine on actual letter.

If anyone else has any feedback, please fire away!

Variation Request
February 2007 to end December 2007

Reason: parent struggling to find childcare (part
time hours)
Start date: end February 2007 (date TBC)
End date: end of December 2007
As Child A starting full time school after Christmas.
Days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
Hours: 8.30am - 2pm

My Own Child (age in February 2007):
A ? xxx (my son) ? very nearly 4 years (date of birth ? xxx)

Minded Children (age in February 2007):
B ? xxx ? 19 months (date of birth ? xxx)
C ? xxx ? 2 months (date of birth ? xxx)
D ? xxx ? 4 months (date of birth xxx)

I was recently granted permission to look after 4 children under 5, on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I?ve had a change in circumstances and one of my mindees is leaving on xxx February 2007, therefore invalidating my certificate allowing 4 under 5?s.

I have a lady, xxx, who is desperately searching for childcare in our village and is having no luck so far and is worried she will be unable to return to work as planned. We don?t have many childminders in our village and the ones we do have, don?t have any vacancies.

Due to the short hours this lady requires childcare, I am writing to ask permission to look after her child. This would mean looking after 2 children under 1 between 8.30am and 2pm on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. My son attends nursery every morning until 11.30am so there would also be 4 under 5?s in total for 2½ hours on those days. Obviously there are the school holiday?s to consider but most of the morning is spent at local baby and toddler groups which my son also loves so I feel very confident about looking after these children in the holidays too.

Both Mrs xxx and Mrs xxx are confident in my abilities and are more than happy for me to do this.

I have enough travel cots, so that there will be adequate facilities for the young mindees to take naps, providing separate cots and bedding for each in this manner. The cots will be placed in the spare bedroom. My son very rarely has naps now he is older but when he needs one, he can use the sofa with his blanket. I also have a sofa bed in the playroom.

I have a dedicated playroom with various children?s toys (for all appropriate ages), soft toys, and numerous books. I also have boxes stored away and rotate the toys on a regular basis. So that the children can have a change, we also visit the library and toy library and the children can agree between them what they would like to borrow.

I have a sterilizer, highchairs and suitable booster seats, so that they can all be safely seated at the dining room table during meals. I have sufficient child cutlery and beakers so that each child can have their own.

As I have been caring for (counting my own son) 3 children under 5, the necessary safety equipment is already in place (such as door catches, stairgates, nappy changing facilities etc).

I have a 7 seater people carrier and sufficient car seats suitable for the age and weight of the children in question. I also have a double pram suitable from birth to age 4 and a baby sling which I would use for the youngest mindee. This means that 2 children would be in the pram, one baby in the sling and my son would walk with me whilst holding onto the side of the pram. We currently walk with a single pram for the youngest and the older ones hold onto the sides of the pram, so it would be the same but just a bigger pram.

We have sufficient floor space to allow all the children to play. The playroom includes a small child sized table and chairs to allow older children to draw, or play games at this in my sight without putting small pieces on the floor which may be unsuitable for the babies. In addition there is the living room, currently used as a room for quiet activities, and the dining table which can be used for similar purposes.

I have a garden which has sit on/push along toys, bikes/trikes and a big wooden play house with many roll play toys, aswell as a chalk board and area for them to draw, paint etc. We also have a nice new park behind us with lots of green for the children to run around.

Currently, the children all have the same meals and snacks, and at the same time which means that I would only need to prepare meals once for all children. Parents will provide me with milk and food for the babies, should the variation be granted. I propose that the babies will nap at slightly different times. This I believe would allow me to give them more personal attention, as they would both have a period of time when the other was asleep to be given more concentrated attention.

If any child was in danger, I would deal with them first. Then I would comfort any child who was hurt. I would then comfort the remaining child if necessary. Where possible, I can pick up and cuddle 2 children at once provided I am sitting down, and as long as neither are hurt or ill, I think that distraction cuddles and a story or song are often enough to settle them again. Hopefully sitting and playing with them and the other children on the floor for the majority of the time, will avoid too many instances like this in any case. Attention and distraction often prevent tears and squabbles over toys in any case and if I am constantly interacting with them, I will be able to see when they are getting bored of an activity and it needs altering slightly to maintain their interest. Provided I choose activities that can be varied to suit the older children, or ensure that they are all in the same room, I can divide my attention as and when required to ensure that all children are playing purposefully.

I currently attend baby and toddler sessions, which I would continue to do as it allows the children to interact with other children of varying ages, and introduces them to new toys/equipment and experiences to help their development.

I trust you will give my request serious thought. Myself and Mrs xxx would be very grateful if you could confirm whether or not this variation will be granted, as soon as possible as she is due to start her new job in 3 weeks.

Yours faithfully


OP posts:
ThePrisoner · 27/01/2007 18:51

nannynick - I don't know if I was granted my variation because I could accommodate the older child. Ofsted didn't contact the parents to check my story, so I could have been lying. How would they know the situation where I live? At the end of the day, they have still given me a variation for totally new business which they maintain they won't do. Hey ho!

looneytune - when I have written my variation letters (Ofsted have a nice little collection of mine now), I have made sure that they are different to each other so that is doesn't look like I'm sending them the same old blurb. Is this one more or less identical to your previous one?

I know you asked nannynick, but thought I'd interfere as well ...

"Hopefully sitting and playing with them and the other children on the floor for the majority of the time, will avoid too many instances like this in any case." - I wouldn't say "hopefully" because it doesn't sound too positive. You will be able to cope!!

I also said that when I attended local groups (music, toddlers etc), there were other minders/friends there who would help out if there was a minor emergency.

looneytune · 27/01/2007 18:56

Good point TP, there are sections of the letter than are the same as my other letter! Will re-word those bits!

I did think about mentioning other childminders at the group and then didn't put it. I will now!

I had hopefully in from last time but will remove that - thanks!

Anything else?

OP posts:
ThePrisoner · 27/01/2007 19:13

Tell them ThePrisoner said you'd manage fine with this variation.

nannynick · 27/01/2007 19:20

Looks good to me, but I can't see the Sibling Relationship. Is it worth indicating which children are siblings, or do you think that won't really help much?

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