The majority of childminders look after children in the childminder’s own home.
Childminders have to follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, which supports your child's early education in the same way as a nursery or pre-school.
Childminders should be registered with Ofsted or a childminding agency. Childminders should be able to provide you with a copy of their Ofsted report or you can view a copy online at www.ofsted.gov.uk. You will need the childminder's unique reference number (URN) to find a report. All childminders have to have insurance and follow safeguarding and health and safety policies.
Childminders usually charge an hourly rate that they set themselves. Some may offer a daily or weekly rate. You will agree this with them before your child starts. You will also have a signed contract in place with your childminder which details notice periods, holiday care, any sickness and late payments.
The average rate for childminders in Norfolk is £3.93 per hour (September 2016) but this rate does vary throughout the county so it is important to check the information available.
You may also need to pay extra for food and/or certain activities so it is important to discuss this with your childminder before agreeing their terms.
Childminders have their own opening days and times and will sometimes offer more flexibility if an early or late start is required. Some will also offer overnight or weekend care. It is best to discuss the hours of care required with childminders directly.
You will need to ask your childminder if they are able to offer a funded place for your 2-year-old (if they are eligible) or 3 and 4-year old.
You can speak to the childminder directly or check the Norfolk Directory to find settings who offer funded places for two, three and four-year-olds.
Childminders can care for up to six children aged under eight years but no more than three of them may be under the age of five years. A childminder may not care for more than one child aged under one year, except in the care of twins, where Ofsted will give special consideration to allow this.
The childminder's own children are included in the above numbers.
Childminders may also care for children aged eight years to 14 years provided that they can show that it does not affect the care of the under eight-year-olds.
Childminders must complete training which helps them to understand and implement the Early Years Foundation Stage before they can register with Ofsted or a childminder agency. Childminders are responsible for the quality of the work of any assistants, and must be satisfied that assistants are competent in the areas of work they undertake.
Childminders are registered with and inspected by Ofsted. They have to conform to conditions of registration and must meet all Ofsted registration criteria to be allowed to offer childcare.
Ofsted provides a report which details childminders' conditions of registration and grading. The childminder should be able to provide you with a copy of the report or a copy can be obtained from www.ofsted.gov.uk. You will need the childminder's unique reference number (URN) to find this information.