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What Do Support Childminders Do For Their £100?


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HI

Very negative Im afraid! It was a few years back but I was given a name and told she would phone me and support me in various ways! I waited and waited..... She eventually called with a very rushed phone call to ask how I was and to give her a call if I needed any help. I never spoke to her again. Unsworth

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I can see both sides of this. A few years ago I was a Support (or Mentor) Childminder for my LA.

 

I did the training, made regular contacts with the new childminders assigned to me - phone calls, visits, meeting at toddler sessions etc and supported them through their first post-registration Ofsted. ALL of them got "good"!! I'm still in touch with many of them..............

 

However, I resigned in disgust :(

 

My expenses (nearly £100) were 4 months overdue and only paid when I complained to the senior childcare manager.

 

She tried to talk me into staying on but the paperwork was ludicrous - pages of forms for every contact, which had to be submitted at the end of every month even if every person I'd spoken to said "no thanks" and the rules/regulations about what support I could/couldn't offer made no sense to me. For example, I wasn't allowed to give samples of my policies even though there are samples available on websites such as NCMA.

 

The "allowance" for my Mentoring pretty much had to be used to fund LA training courses - most of which I'd already done or didn't wish to do :wacko:

 

After resigning, I have carried on "mentoring" informally (both in person and on here!) - the portfolio I show Ofsted has many

lovely testimonials from those childminders I have supported and I'm proud to have shared my experience and knowledge. Ofsted have commented on how important it is to share "best practice" and I was fortunate enough to have someone who helped me when I first started..... what goes around, comes around in my view :o

 

The LA still has a "mentoring scheme" and I regularly hear from new childminders that they get no support or contact from their mentor "so is it ok if they ask me" xD

 

The LA are aware of this.... and so are Ofsted!!

 

Twice, new childminders have been asked about the support they get and have explained what's happened and both Inspectors knew who I was having inspected me in the past :( Both of those childminders got "good", too!!

 

I honestly feel that some of those who chose to register as Support did so for the financial incentive and don't support at all - I've heard some terribly negative feedback from those who didn't get the support they wanted/needed and some really disheartening comments that the Support childminders have made to new childminders.

 

I'm passionate about childminding and raising the profile of childminders, and the professional service we offer, which is why I continue to "mentor" as I do!!

 

I'll get off my soapbox now :(

 

Nona

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Nona, Fab response, thank you. More or less as I thought. The benefit sucked up by the beaurocracy. Perfect chance to see the New Big Society in action. I'm sure lots of responsible childminders would love to help out newbies for a challenge.

 

Sounding like a Tory, Shame!

 

Fe

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Sorry Nona, Meant to say that it sounds like you did a great job of supporting new childminders.

 

:o Thank you!!

 

Nona

 

p.s. don't forget to point your friend in the direction of the FSF - she'll get lots of support here!

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My experience with the "support" was that I had one call when they (dragons) needed a line for their report that was it . I had written a lenghty post but the pc timed out on me so maybe its just as well foryou ladies reading it ! Anyway the gist of it was that if it wasnt for this site and particularly Nona - I would have certainly still be struggling and getting P***D off with it all. Thankfully because of the support Ive had/am having - I continue to try to succeed where many good cms give up. That credit goes to you ladies and particulaly Nona whom is the real STAR !! thankyou so much we are so lucky to have you here :o

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Aah, bless! You're making me blush!!

 

I wonder how many other newly registered childminders are put off by the lack of support or blatant discouragement by the Dragons (or Coven, as used locally!) of this profession? Personally, I think they feel threatened by the thought of the competition!!

 

I'm sure there's room, and business, for more "good" childminders and, in my experience, those who ask for the support are those who want to excel at what they do! With guidance and encouragement new childminders will implement "best practice" from their earliest clients which has got to be good news for children, parents and the profile of childminders everywhere.

 

Nona x

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I think it works both ways though, as support childminder i give as much as i can but some dont want it until they get there ofsted phone call then its panic stations and everyone else is to blame!!!

 

I started support childminding 5 years ago and got £500 and had 11 in my first year, so its vary rarely about the money :)

 

I am still in contact with many of mine and i have had some go through with outstanding grades, again this would not be becasue of just me but because the childminder was ready to give as much back into their support, which is the way its supposed to be put over to them from co-ordinators.

 

Some ask for support but then have the attitude they know everything anyway so you often ask why do i bother?? others want you to do everything for them, you just cant win sometimes!! I have often phoned them and been made to feel i am harassing them when all i am trying to do is help :o

 

Surely its a 2 way thing?? you can support if supprt is wanted, but being registered for 8 months then when it gets near ofsted due start twisting they are not getting support is a bit unfair???

 

just my thoughts anyway :)

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we no longer have support childminders in our area, we have a childminding development worker from the ncma, but are basically left to fend for ourselves. Maybe they withdrew the funding? I have no idea. We are all part of a childminding group and support each other independantly instead.

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Thanks for the response C04. I suppose there are new childminders who know exactly how to set up their business - ex teachers and the like, and don't want someone else sticking their ore in. But I stumbled into childminding and really didn't understand how childminding was different from looking after your friends' kids and my Support Childminder never offered to visit my setting and never offered to allow me to visit her's. She sent me one letter of introduction, phoned once, made me drag my minded children to a children's centre out of my region if I wanted to see her and then only showed me what they did there, and then, when I bumped into her at a training session somewhere, she asked how I was going and was very pleased that she could note that down as a support meeting.

 

Teachers, nursery nurses, TAs etc all get to see how other settings work during their training. But Childminders can be registered without any experience of best practice and then often work independently from then. I think this is the gap Support Childminders should be filling.

 

Apparently it is poor form for other professionals to share their policies and procedures with newbies, but if she had just had a look at my work and made some constructive comments I would have felt

much more confident.

 

If she had visited my setting she would have seen how far I had advanced - or hadn't - I didn't know - I was just bumbling along. I really needed to be puppywalked and I feel that I was failed that way. And it erk me that she got a day's pay for that.

 

Rant over - just as well I didn't write this yesterday when I was REALLY grumpy!

 

Fe

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I have also heard about support childminders not sharing info with newbies and i cant for the life of me understand why, there are very few people can say all the portfolio has been put togther solely by them, most info i have is from other childminders, internet, training etc and i actually quite like sharing things if i find anything out :o

 

P&p's are something you work on as your practice developes and are always different, but as the saying goes why re-invent the wheel, if i have something that is workable for someone else then great, they can adapt it as they see fit xD

 

I will now only do home visits once fully registered, i will also meet up with them anywhere that is suitable for both parties :(

 

We all need help at times no matter how long we have been doing this job, lets face it nothing stays the same for longer than 12 months :(

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Yes, the Bromley site was an absolute boon when I was a newbie, but sometimes an extra pair of eyes cast over your work can expose gaps and errors that the inexperienced newbie might not have seen.

 

The thing is, I wasn't upset at the time, it is only with hindsite that I can see how much more help could have been easily given. If only I knew then what I know now and wasn't afraid to ask about something I wasn't sure about for fear of looking like a wally.

 

The best thing about this forum is that I can ask about what I'm not sure about, or better still, look and see if someone else has asked that same question for me.

 

Fe

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Guest cathy m

It continues to frustrate me that some new childminders get very little contact and support from their mentors!

I support all childminders that approach me and am happy to share policies, procedures offer guidance, help them with docummentation etc

no I am not an official mentor however I mentor different childminders who all have different levels of experience and competences. Many new childminders receive support from existing, more experienced childminders in their communities.

 

It is unfortunate that so many are invaluable in their support of new childminders but don't receive the recognition and training that mentors do

Cathy

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It continues to frustrate me that some new childminders get very little contact and support from their mentors!

I support all childminders that approach me and am happy to share policies, procedures offer guidance, help them with docummentation etc

no I am not an official mentor however I mentor different childminders who all have different levels of experience and competences. Many new childminders receive support from existing, more experienced childminders in their communities.

 

It is unfortunate that so many are invaluable in their support of new childminders but don't receive the recognition and training that mentors do

Cathy

 

Cathy, perhaps we should start a new scheme for those who mentor "just because we can!" :o

 

Nona

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  • 1 month later...

you have hit the nail on the head there nona. my mentor (or buddy as my LA liked to call her) discouraged me from childminding. at that time. our LA had just had a major recruiting campaign and recruited many more ch's than expected. this must have overwhelmed the "buddies" and they must have felt incredibly threatened in the labour market as our town is so small. i must admit, in hindsight, the town became flooded with new cm's. however, very few went on past the briefing sessions and the town wasn't as deluged as feared. in short, my mentor was worse than useless - she actually did her best to dissuade me. what is worse, at my first inspection around jan 2005, i was graded as good even though i had no children with me at the inspection because there was overwhelming evidence of good practice and it wasn't my fault that 2 children were at nursery and the other was off poorly. whole set up was a nightmare and has now been scrapped.

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you have hit the nail on the head there nona. my mentor (or buddy as my LA liked to call her) discouraged me from childminding. at that time. our LA had just had a major recruiting campaign and recruited many more ch's than expected. this must have overwhelmed the "buddies" and they must have felt incredibly threatened in the labour market as our town is so small. i must admit, in hindsight, the town became flooded with new cm's. however, very few went on past the briefing sessions and the town wasn't as deluged as feared. in short, my mentor was worse than useless - she actually did her best to dissuade me. what is worse, at my first inspection around jan 2005, i was graded as good even though i had no children with me at the inspection because there was overwhelming evidence of good practice and it wasn't my fault that 2 children were at nursery and the other was off poorly. whole set up was a nightmare and has now been scrapped.

i forgot to finish what i was saying there! when my buddy rang to ask how my inspection went, and i told her what had happened, she screamed down the phone at me that it can't be possible - shouldn't be possible - and would complain about it! some support huh? she had me in tears and my husband had to put the received down for me to calm me down.

the vest mentors will be those who do it for no more reward than the joy of getting a childminder through her first year and possibly beyond. taking the £ out of it will put paid to those who choose to do it for any other reason.

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i forgot to finish what i was saying there! when my buddy rang to ask how my inspection went, and i told her what had happened, she screamed down the phone at me that it can't be possible - shouldn't be possible - and would complain about it! some support huh? she had me in tears and my husband had to put the received down for me to calm me down.

the vest mentors will be those who do it for no more reward than the joy of getting a childminder through her first year and possibly beyond. taking the £ out of it will put paid to those who choose to do it for any other reason.

 

What a horrible, but sadly not unusual, experience.

 

I honestly believe that mentoring only works when it's supportive and not competetive.(sp)

 

Nona

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Good point about new CMs being a threat to Support CMs (SCM) business. Maybe an incentive could be built into the existing system so that SCMs benefit from their charges getting good results, and specific direction given to SCMs so that they understand the needs of prospective and new CMs.

 

Questions the SCM could have asked which would have helped me are

 

1. Do you have X,Y,Z policies and procedures, risk assessments etc?

2. Would you like me to look them over and check for obvious errors or omissions?

3. Are you confident that your setting is appropriate for meeting the welfare requirments?

3. Would you like me to visit your setting to give an objective opinion about the set up?

4. Would you like to visit my setting to see how I meet children's needs?

5. Are you confident with the EYFS and would you like me to look at how you observe, plan for and record, children's development, interests and needs?

 

ChildmindersNan, what a terrible situation to be in. If you SCM were to benefit from your good result, she may have been much more supportive. How do Pyramid Selling Schemes benefit from recruiting new members? By those further up the chain benefiting from the sucess of the Newbies'.

 

Night night.

 

Honey

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I too am of the opinion that it is always better to share good practice, after all, we are all working for the good of the children. I am always happy to share my policies and proceedures and show people how I work. The only thing I do insist on, is that they visit my setting to see how I work as well. It does annoy me to think that all the hard work and effort that I have put into my policies, planning, risk assessments etc.... is just being copied by other childminders. I think that you can only really appreciate and learn from someone elses paper work if you have an idea of how they put it into practice. However on numerous occasions when i've been asked to share my work and I've invited them round to see how I work first they have declined the offer! I personnally love visiting other settings to see how other childminders work, have a good nosey round and get some new ideas. Sharing good pracitce may well raise the standard of the competition and, in theory, make business more difficult but from my experience those that share good ideas get plenty back and so their pracitce improves also.

 

(please excuse my spelling and typing errors, never been the best at either!!!!!)

 

My area doesn't do support childminders as far as I'm aware but I'd love to be one! Love talking about what I do, could go on about it all day!

 

xxxxx Marie

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I haven't been on here for a long time, but I have just started a (salaried) role supporting prospective childminders. I am so sad to hear that support in places is so poor! I hope that I can take your useful comments on board and make sure that I give my PCMS the support they feel they are looking for.

 

I think that mentoring does come from many sources - it takes a village to raise a childminder!!!!

 

Best of luck to all.

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I used to be a support childminder untill not so long ago and I think a lot of it depends on the new childminder. I have a lot think they knew everything and didn't want to hear any suggestion and I think threaterened when I asked if they wanted me to visit them and look through policies etc (not many took me up on this). A few would just say yes everything fine and want to get me off the phone as quick as possible. A lot were only doing it only for a friends child or for 'pocket money' and not interested in chilminding as a career or profesion at all. The ones who were interested came along to childminding and/or child centre groups and took my advise or asked me for suggestions and many of this still come to our groups and we are close. This ones all did really well in their 1st inseptions and were very gratfull for my help, others wouldn't even say till after the inspection happened and werent botherd what grade they got even if they got actions. Them getting actions used to annoy me as alot were for simple things like no risk assesment fot example and are questions I ask them near the beginning about have they got them policies etc in place. Anyway I've always helped out new childminders who come to the school or groups I attend weather they are or are not on my list so I dfecided to give up doing it through ncma and help those who I come across who would like it.Most would never call me to see me or chat about advise and others would be on the phone every 2 or 3 days. I think it depends on the newly registered childminder and how willing they are to help/suggestions and why the support childminder signed up to do it. I only used to get just over £100 every 6 months I think, not sure if it varies much place to place but I definatly wasn't in it for the money!!!

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I am a support minder and have been for about 3 years now. I took the 'job' because I believed in helping newbies - I wish there was a scheme available when I started minding.

 

Fair comments from everyone but Velvets have struck a chord for me. You can lead a horse to water as the saying goes. I religiiously phone and/or email everyone of my 12 supports once a month, I offer to visit them and they can visit me. I offer to go with them to groups etc but some of them are 'yeah yeah yeah' - they aren't interested in the slightest and I wish they would just say so - it would save me a LOT of time (and costs) and I could spend it on either supporting those few who do want it or getting on with my own paperwork. Then you get others who know it all anyway (whether they have worked in a nursery, have a friend/relative who is or was a minder or just those who will argue blue is black (hey don't shoot me I am just the messenger!!!). Its beyond me why they sign up to the support scheme - it is optional and no one forces them too.

Then you get those who are really into it and really do appreciate all the help and support you can give them - many of my supports from days gone by I am still very good friends with. Like I tell all my supports I don't claim to be superminder, I am not perfect and I certainly don't get it right all the time but together we can learn and find out new stuff.

 

I am between a rock and a hard place at times - the local Minding Mafia think I am a spy in the camp, (they seem to think that I run back to the powers that be, reporting all their shennanigans - never have, never will but I do speak out of if I come across bad or dangerous practice) and also that I am 'up myself' (as in who the hell do I think I am offering support to people) and all this is because a) I gained a good grading on my first ever inspection :o I was interviewed and offered the support role and I had only been minding 18 months c) I get on really well, personally and professionally with local EY's staff, children center staff, EYPs and all manner of sector workers. And the icing on the cake - me doing my degree - well apparently I think i am something I am not. Yet they will all come to with their queries, problems and when they want to me sort something like a trip out or something they deem unfair or not right that has been implemented. I can't win!

Thankfully the Minding Mafia don't bother me - I have plenty of good colleagues - I enjoy what I do and I get a massive amount of support from my minding team.

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Pipsqueak,

 

This has hit a nail on the head for me now! In the borough where I live (not where I work) there is exactly the same Minders Mafia that you talk about. And they seem to resent people who regard Registered Childminding as a profession, rather than as a way to paid to have coffee with your mates all morning.

 

I was at a Stay and PLay with a 2 and 3 year old. And they kept running to me to tell me the baby was crying. He was sitting on the amt, shouting with frustration while his carer sipped her tea and said nothing. He was even facing away from her. In the end my 2 eneded up patting him and telling him not to cry. I was close to tears myself. Later on I overheard anouther Childminder tell the ignorer "He has to learn" - learn what? That he isn't loved?

 

Pipsqueak, you are clearly doing a great job, and have the respect of a range of professionals.

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