Childminders look after children in their own home. A childminder has to be registered and inspected by OFSTED or other regulating body in Scotland or Wales. A childminders house has to be inspected for safety and suitability as well. Childminders in England and Wales have to complete a basic registration course which includes first aid training. A childminder and anyone else in the family who may be around during childminding hours have to be CRB checked.
Childminders usually offer quite flexible hours and charge fees on an hourly basis normally. It is best to agree a written contract with your childminder to cover hours, holidays, overtime and other details so no arguments or confusion arises later. Fees are generally about £3 to £6 an hour.
A childminder can take up to 6 children under the age of 8 years but no more than 3 can be under the age of 5 an only one can be under one (except for siblings). A childminders own children who will be at home during the care have to be counted in the number of children that are being cared for.
The benefits of a childminder are the greater flexibility of hours available, they are registered and inspected regularly, usually they are local to you or your employment, your child will be in a home like environment, the same person cares for your child all the time and your child will be cared for in a small group.
The downsides to a childminder is that a childminder will be caring for a range of ages not necessarily the same age as your child, they may not be flexible with hours, they won’t be able to look after your child if he/she is ill and a childminder may not want to follow your child’s routine but have one that fits all the children looked after.