Childminders to receive more support from government
Childminders are soon to receive more support, training and advice to deliver quality childcare services for parents across the UK, the government has announced.
The number of childminders looking after children in their homes in the UK has fallen by almost 50% over the last two decades and the government plans to cut some of the red tape surrounding the registration of childminders.
Childminder fees payable to Ofsted will be frozen for the fifth year in a row to encourage more childminders in to the sector and they will no longer need a separate registration if they are providing food.
The move comes just after an announcement of further help for working families with the tax-free childcare scheme, which will begin in 2015.
Education and Childcare minister, Elizabeth Truss, believes the move will benefit working parents by giving them better access to quality childcare.
“We know that good early education gives children the best possible start in life. Childminders are an important part of this and offer huge flexibility for parents – we want to see their numbers increase,” she said.
Figures show that families are taking advantage of more flexible care, such as nannies and nanny shares, and a consultation has been published to look at childminder agencies and the way they should be operating, from Sept 2014.
Childminder agencies were introduced in the Children and Families Act and aim to provide support and training to local childminders.
The consultation will look at annual fees, the hours of professional development for childminders, quality assurance visits, the direct support agencies will provide to childminders and the powers of the local authority over agencies.