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CHILDMINDING AGENCIES - WAKE UP ALL YOU CHILDMINDERS!


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Elizabeth Truss has proposed changes in 2 areas for childminders. The much talked about RATIO change and the quiet under the carpet route of CHILDMINDING AGENCIES.

 

Everyone seems to have focussed on the ratio element. But WAKE UP!!! - the agencies are going to be trialled in September 2013! Which means they will probably go ahead. Ms Truss and the Government have not consulted Childminders about their full intentions - and have no desire to unless WE force her to take that route.

 

In order for any changes to be made in the way that the current system works - the current law must be analysed - new changes proposed and then passed through parliament to make a new law. Yet Childminders who are currently the STAKEHOLDERS in their own BUSINESS have not and will not be surveyed. At least to date nothing has been mentioned! It will simply pass quietly through parliament.

 

The NCMA to my knowledge as of yet have only surveyed Childminders on Ratio's - which I find astounding (I could be wrong though!) - a consultation has not been developed with regards Childminders and their feelings with regards belonging to an agency and the implications for their business, training, help, support, fees, grading, if they can claim FEET funding, EYFE funding, to include their own business autonomy overall.

 

I urge ALL Childminders to read Nursery World, contact the NCMA and urge them to represent us all by lobying the governement to undertake a full investigation into the views of ALL childminders - BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.

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What I find uncanny in circumstances such as these changes is that all registered settings are contactable via the regulating body and yet the government don't choose to go down this route when it's something that will affect everyone. Instead they appear to talk to 'lots and lots', (taken from the mumsnet/truss web chat) probably targeted, and base responses on these few

 

 

 

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Exactly!

 

Are the local authority not already acting as an agency in one way or another? Parents can contac the Family Information Service for a list of Childminders in their area - on this information is what the childminder offers - her qualifications and Ofsted grading. Local authorities also have information services for prospective childminders - training for those wanting to be a childminder then further on-going support such as Networks and bespoke training. Being on the Network allows childminders to draw down the EYFE and FEET funding.

 

I wish childminders would start to make a huge noise about this - I am starting to try and alert everyone to the chaos having agencies will cause.

 

I can not understand why Truss thinks that childminders can operate out of schools, children's centres etc., Childminders are home-based and offer children a home from home. They also have access to other childminders via outings and social groups. They have huge access to the outside world on a daily basis.

 

Why would a childminder want to operate within an institute of 4 walls of concrete? Will these places have lovely huge sofas to allow a child to settle in have a cuddle and be supported in an environment that is quiet so the child can think freely and be able to communicate while undertaking activities? Will there be a lovely bedroom which is calm, free from noise of too many children who are not sleeping or resting? Will these children have differing age groups that the child will see as role models and next steps for their development? or will they be stuck in a baby room, a toddler room, and EYFE room?

 

Will these agencies dictate how much a childminder can charge? Will they provide adequate accessible reasonable funding for training and workshops? Will they supply library resources for childminders to borrow? Will they have someone on hand who can pop in to support with situations with regards behaviour/SEN etc., How much time will each childminder be allocated by the agency???????

 

The reason why childminders have become so popular with parents is that all offer a service which the parent can analyse and then choose whom they best feel reciprocates their own parenting style and ideas. They have also been approved by Ofsted. Many childminders belong to an LA agency who offer continual and regular support and therefore ensure a QUALITY provision is maintained if they wish to stay on the Network. This is not done every 3 years but once a term!

 

We need an answser as to what is happening now - not just breadcrumbs and a dumming down. We need the proposals and the facts in writing - and then a consultation.

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Actually (don't shoot me) i was thinking the agency idea was quite a good one. From what i have read it is to support those childminders who are having trouble running the business side to their operation. Our area has very little support for childminders and i have regular contact with several. The ladies i work with are experienced and knowledgeable but we still get together to have chats about what is happing and how we are all dealing with it, i consider it part of my partnership working. If i have read the info correctly it is not suggesting that those who are childminding at present are going to change their business. The government want to increase the amount of home carers and indeed Mrs Tickell was very complimentary about the sector and acknowledged how important they were to the future plans. What does worry me however is where the money is coming from for this.....if i as an outstanding setting wanted to act as an agency who is going to pay me? the childminder? or the government from the NEF funding budget? i think this is where we need to ask questions.Mrs Truss at no point has suggested that all childminders will follow this pathway, it appears to be for those with less business background who need support (probably because they don't want to pay for support from the LEA!)

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I'm absolutely torn about this. As a Network Childminder - with all the extra training and qualifications that entails, I certainly wouldn't want to be an agency childminder - I like to choose the families I work with, and the days I work - but I can see the value in agencies. Most childminders really want to fill all their places and I think an agency could benefit these practitioners. If FFE and Vouchers could only be redeemed by agency Childminders then I think many of the best practitioners would want to leave the industry. As it is, I'm looking toward an exit strategy - after this next crop of babies! So that's another few years.

 

Honey.

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I'm with Littleantics on this one. I have put a lot of planning, time and effort into opening and operating a quality childcare business that offers families a good service. An agency will take this away from us and take anywhere of between 10%, 15% or even 20% of the profits for the service I provide and for what I may ask? I am more than capable of running my own business and like being independent in doing so, hence the reason I am a Childminder. Being with an agency to me is standing under an umbrella where the agency under Truss's proposal will be Ofsted inspected and if they do not get a successful Ofsted inspection i.e. a Good or Outstanding this is reflected on me and hence will interfere with my business! I could go on and state further and Childminders should I think stand up for their businesses and livelihoods as well as for the valuable quality service they give to the children and families that use their services! After all many Childminders are rated Good and Outstanding and this shows their professionalism. I could go on and on regarding reasons to say NO to agencies, although I do not want to hog!

 

Littleantics you are right in my opinion that this area of concern is not being talked about enough and the fear of the increased ratios is taking the limelight so to speak due to the incredulity of what Childminders as well as Nurseries are being asked to do in terms of ratio increases. This vital area needs to be brought to the fore and more of an informed discussion needs to be taken.

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I absolutely agree that there needs to be a discussion about this ....there seems to be lots of conflicting info, i suspect because no one knows at present.Wiggle wiggle its interesting that you think the childminders would pay for this service ..Have you read this somewhere? (welcome by the way!!)

It sounds like you are already running successfully and therefore will not be asked to join an agency, I just see this as support for those who need it but i may be nieve..... the government has a way of twisting things sometimes! :huh:

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Sue J is right - there will be no consultation unless their hand is forced! Gove has had a turn around with regards education. The more people who are opposed the better.

 

Finleysmaid - it is great you offer a different view. But what saddens and angers me is that support and finance was taken away from local authorities who did provide training and support. They had to fold their Childminding development officers, support and training as they had no finance curtesy of the government.

 

Now the government are saying there is no support for childminders or training as local LA's are not supplying this I wonder why??? If you join an agency it is likely that the parents will pay a fee (whereas LA Family Information Support is free). Childminders will probably have to pay the agency a fee which will provide them with training. Agencies will pay your wages and decide what you can charge - (Affordable childcare!!!) - and they will cream what is left off the top (oh they say these agencies are non-profit making - yeah right you run a business and do not want some return?). Training will be at a minimum or at premium cost to you.

 

If you turn down a parent and visa versa more than 3 times - will you be a viable option for the agency to keep you on?

 

Will they tell you when you can take holidays and how many? If you have a complaint against you will the agency drop you like a hot cake?

 

Will the children know the emergency back-up childminder should you feel ill?

 

Also if I was running a profitable agency who wanted to obtain an outstanding grade from Ofsted I would cherry pick those with a level 3 who can support FEET amnd EYFE ( they do say if you dont belong to an agency you will still be able to offer this - wake up eventually they will prise those not with an agency out of the market and inspection may be double!)

 

I could go on. At the moment you can run your own business to a point in your own family home. Do you want to belong to a School/children centre and work out of their if you have FEET children as this may be one of the criteria for you if working with the agency. So home-base will disapear - exactly what this government want as they find it too costly to run.

 

But they took the finances away. This move was planned and very well calculated!

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  • 4 weeks later...

hmmmm... Interesting... I need to look into this more.... And then get in contact with co ordinator.... Then ask every1 I know to contact N.C.M.A ..... It sounds a lot like the time our yearly payment nearly ended up being 135.....

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  • 1 month later...

I sympathise and agree with Wiggle Wiggle and Littleantics --- anyone heard of a frog in hot water? Pop him into hot water and he hops out immediately, but if you put him into cold water and gradually heat the pot, he will sit there and quietly cook. When he realises whats happening, its too late!!

Id hate to have too much legislation and laws regulating my business.

Home from home for children is the intention, and who has the insight to tell me how my home should be??

Lets get together and make our voices heard before we're 'cooked' :D

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  • 2 months later...

sorry but there will be no discussion - the childminder agencies are being brought in via the Children and Families 2013 bill - no consultation more of a railroading approach.

 

http://www.education.gov.uk/aboutdfe/departmentalinformation/childrenandfamiliesbill/a00221161/children-families-bill

AngiM

 

Childminders that use agencies will get lost in the system of an agency idea, they will not get inspected regularly as Ofsted will not see all on the agency books which is an extreme unfair system, will the parents that use the agencies know of this, if we are independent we get inspected by ofsted, pre-school alliance etc which surely will give the parents the knowledge that they are dealing with a professional and able to approach us directly - yes Pacey and fiscal advertise our names etc but the parents can choose who they wish to see not the agency dictating who they think is best - that takes the choice away from the parent - rates will have to go up as we will have to pay for all the above.

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