AC hildminding Strategy for Gateshead by 5kI048i8

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									                A Strategy for
               Childminding in
                 Gateshead




Contributing to:
The Childcare Sufficiency Plan 2008-11
Learning and Children’s Directorate, Gateshead Council
Contents                                                 Page No

Executive Summary                                             3

Introduction                                                  4

Strategic, National and Local Contexts                        5

Equality, Diversity and Community Co-hesion                   7

Outcomes                                                      8

Objectives                                                    8

Delivery and Resources                                        8

Risks                                                         9

Performance and Review                                        9

Action Plan                                                   Appendix 1

Consultation with Childminders                                Appendix 2




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Executive Summary

The purpose of the Childminding Strategy for Gateshead is to summarise in
one document, what actions will be taken over the next 3 years to ensure
that childminders have the opportunity to contribute to early years and
childcare services across the borough.

The strategy will be reviewed annually as part of the Gateshead Childcare
Sufficiency Plan. This in turn, will feed into the Strategic Children and Young
People’s Plan.

The challenges for childminders are common to all childcare services:
sustainability, quality improvement; visibility (to other services, and to service
users- parents, families and employers).

With a workforce of 260 childminders, all self employed, independent
childcare workers, the challenge for the Council is to develop positive
partnership working with childminders, and to include their unique services as
part of the Gateshead ‘Childcare Offer’.

The key objectives the Childminding Strategy for Gateshead sets out to
achieve are to: -

Establish closer working relationships between Children’s Centres and
Childminders;

Review and develop an improved plan for providing information on
childminders for potential users- parents, families, and employers;

Encourage childminders to develop a range of flexible services including those
which meet the childcare needs of children with disabilities and those of
families with extra needs e.g. shift work.

Build on the quality of services provided by childminders by including them in
the Gateshead Quality Improvement Programme (QIP).

The Strategy will also consider the geographical spread of Gateshead and will
aim to have childminder services available in each of the 5 Neighbourhood
Areas.




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                  Childminding Strategy for Gateshead

INTRODUCTION

This Strategy has been written to build on the great strengths childminding
has as part of childcare services in Gateshead.

The uniqueness of the service offers a very important choice for parents,
carers and employers, who all have a stake in ensuring children are well cared
for when they are away from their homes.

The Strategy draws on Research, which was carried out in 2007 by
Helmepark Associates. The Research collected views and ideas on the future
of childminding and the future role of the Early Years and Childcare Service in
supporting childminding. These were collected from childminders, parents,
Children’s Centres and employers.

The Strategy will contribute to the Council’s statutory responsibility to produce
a Childcare Sufficiency Plan. This Plan will lay out how sufficient good quality,
accessible, affordable childcare will be available in Gateshead to meet local
demand over the next 3 years. Childminding will be a key contributor to the
successful delivery of the outcomes of the Sufficiency Plan.




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Strategic, National and Local Contexts

Local Context

Gateshead carried out a comprehensive survey of childminding, completed in
August 2007 as part of the Childcare Sufficiency Supply-side survey. This
took the form of an 11-page questionnaire.
At that time there were 248 childminders, offering an average 5 places each.

63% of childminders had one or more vacant places.

The majority opened from 8.30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Wrap around
childcare after, and before School and in school holidays was provided by
most.

The most common hourly rate was £3 to £3.50.

Most expected the Children’s Information Service (CIS) to promote them.

Few childminders were engaged in any way with Children’s Centres.

Less than 25% of childminders were interested in gaining a Quality Assurance
Award.

There was little knowledge about the Early Years Foundation Stage.

First Aid and Child Protection were the most frequently attended training.


Gateshead Early Years and Childcare Service until 2006 offered a framework
of support to childminders. With funding priorities changing in 2006, the level
of support was reduced. However, advice and information continues to be
provided.

Every 2 months briefing sessions for potential new childminders are held,
organised by the Training Team.

Training is commissioned from Gateshead College, including the mandatory
Introduction to Childminding Practice.

Regional NCMA also provide training.

Council Training, including Early Years Foundation Stage Training, Child
Protection, and First Aid is available, promoted direct to childminders.

Free insurance can be claimed by new childminders.


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Marketing is provided via the CIS for childminders.
One Development Officer has developed a wide knowledge of childminding
and gives telephone advice and support.


Before 2006, Gateshead was a national leader in developing Quality Assured
Childminder Networks.


The Government has promoted childminding since 1998, as part of the
Childcare Strategy.
The National Childminding Association (NCMA) gives a regional and national
voice to childminders. Gateshead has regular meetings with the local NCMA
team.


Strategic

The Early Years and Childcare Service and Family Support services came
together in the new Learning and Children Directorate in Gateshead in 2006.
Both services have policies and procedures for supporting childminders.




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Equality, Diversity and Community Cohesion

Gateshead Council aims to ensure services are open to all families and
children, regardless of age, gender, disability, ethnic origin or sexual
orientation.

Childminders are recruited from all parts of the borough. For example specific
recruitment has taken place within the Jewish Community.

Equal opportunity diversity and disability equality training is available to
Childminders.

Sponsored childminders receive additional training and support in order for
them to provide care for children placed with them by Gateshead Family
Support Team.

Gateshead’s Community Co-hesion Strategy aims to build stronger and more
co-hesive communities in Gateshead. Local, good quality, affordable childcare
services contribute to this, and Childminders are key to providing childcare in
some communities.




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Outcomes of the Strategy

The Childminding Strategy will support parents, families, children and
employers, make more informed choices regarding childcare, by increasing
the information available about their services. In addition childminders will
have the same opportunities, as well as responsibilities, to improve their
service to be flexible, inclusive and of good quality.
Childminders will be encouraged by the Council to develop and promote their
services in order to contribute the aims of the Gateshead Childcare Sufficiency
Plan.


Objectives of the Strategy

   To increase the links between childminders and Children’s Centres

   To promote childminding to potential services users

   To increase the opportunities for childminders to provide flexible and
    inclusive services

   To encourage and support childminders to improving the quality of their
    service through a Quality Improvement Programme.

   To plan for childminding services to be available across the 5
    Neighbourhood Areas.

See Action Plan Appendix One


Delivery and Resources

The Early Years and Childcare Service of the Council will work with the
childminding sector to deliver the outcomes across the borough.

The Plan will be monitored by a Strategic Childminding Group, who have
drawn up this Plan. They will meet 4 times a year.

No new resources are available to deliver the outcomes and objectives.
Officers employed in the Service and in Children’s Centres will deliver the Key
Actions.




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Risks

The major risks to the Strategy are: -

1. Childminders are self-employed businesses. There is no compulsion for
   them to engage with the Council and support the outcomes.

2. A surplus of childcare places in some areas of the borough- with daycare,
   out of school and holiday childcare places as well as those with
   childminders available- may lead to a decrease in the number of
   childminders.

3. The long hours childminders work leave them little time for training and
   professional development.

4. In some areas of Gateshead there are barriers to recruiting and training
   childminders.


Risks will minimised by: -

We will support childminders who want to engage with the objectives of the
Strategy.

We will promote the differences between the types of childcare services to
potential and current users.

We will provide flexible training and development opportunities, to fit in with
childminder work patterns.

We will work with partners in the BME and Faith Communities to develop and
support training.


Performance and Review

The attached Action Plan will be reviewed quarterly by the Childminding
Strategy Group. Reports will be given to the Early Years and Childcare
Partnership (as part of the Childcare Sustainability Plan) and the Children and
Young Peoples Plan.


Consultation

A consultation was carried out with a representative sample of Gateshead
Childminders (27) and Heads of Children’s Centre were also asked for
comments. Responses can be found in Appendix 2.
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                                                            Appendix 1
                                                   Childminding Plan 2008 – 2011

Key Objective One

Establish closer working relationships between Children’s Centres and childminders and have a childminding plan in
place for each Children’s Centre cluster in the 5 Neighbourhood areas.

Action                      Achievement Date and       Milestones that will      Impact of the delivery of   Measurement of impact
                            Lead Officer/Service       need to be completed      this objective by this      (to be SMART)
                                                       to meet the objective     action
1. An identified worker     1. April 2008              1. Consideration be       1. Childminders will have   Increase in the number
in each Neighbourhood                                  given by EYCS during      a named person with         of contacts made
area who as part of their   2. Early Years and         review of job roles and   whom they can liaise in     between CM and CC in
role will act as single        Childcare Service       specifications as to      their area                  each of the 5 areas –
point of contact and key       (EYCS)                  which role is best                                    West, Inner West,
worker between                                         placed and most           2. Relationships and        Central, East, South.
childminders and                                       appropriate to pick up    trust between Children’s    Baseline is different for
Children’s Centres (CC).                               this task                 Centres (CC) and            each CC and increase
                                                                                 childminders (CM)           will be agreed for each
                                                       2. Heads of Centres       developed                   area.
                                                       (HOC) to be consulted
                                                       as to what this would     3. More information and
                                                       mean in relation to       support for childminders
                                                       roles and
                                                       responsibilities and      4. Easier access to this
                                                       practicalities of key     information and support
                                                       worker

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                                                     3. Agreement by Early
                                                     Years and Childcare
                                                     (EYCS) as to which
                                                     role will pick up this
                                                     task

                                                     4. Agreement by HOCs
                                                     as to which individual
                                                     will pick up this task
2.Each Key Worker to       1. April 2009 (date for   1. Identify CM in each   1. Provides up-to-date     Records of increased
build relationships with   full action to be             area through ICHIS   information for contacts   attendance at CM
CM in their area           achieved)                     (April 2008)         with CM                    Welcome sessions.
                                                                                                         Baseline is different for
                           2. September 08           2. Plan and deliver      2. Begins the process of   each CC.
                                                     Welcome Sessions for     building relationships     The increase will be
                                                     CM – 1 per month for                                agreed for each local
                                                     6 months (9:30 –                                    area.
                                                     11am - structured play
                                                     sessions)

                           3. September 08           3. Use Welcome           3. Allows CM’s to
                                                     sessions to consult      express the views about
                                                     with CM about their      their needs/wants
                                                     needs/wants and
                                                     development of a
                                                     Drop-in

                           4. October 08             4. Develop CM Drop-in    4. Provides specialist

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                                                  or build links with      group for CM
                                                  existing drop-ins.



                          5. March 09             5. Support CM’s to take 5. Provides further
                                                  ownership of Drop-in    opportunities for CM
                                                  on rota basis

                          6. On going             6. Engage CM’s in        6. Gives opportunity to
                                                  attending other CC       receive publicity through
                                                  Activities/one-off       mail-outs
                                                  events/Early Years
                          Key Worker (CC)         Foundation Stage
                                                  Workshops.

                          7. March 09             7. Register CM with CC   7. Promotes CM as
                                                                           childcare option
                          8. Each year            8. Celebrate National
                                                  Childminder Week
3.Regular meetings with   1. Sept 08              1. Develop Bi-Monthly    1. Provides time for        Attendance at cluster
CM’s & CC                 Key Worker (CC)         Cluster meetings with    regular contact             meetings
                                                  CM                                                   Record of the cluster
                                                                                                       meetings and gradual
                                                                                                       increase in attendance
                                                                                                       demonstrated.




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4. Involve CM in the      1. April 09             1. Agree               1. Provides a                 Membership of the
management and            Childminders            representation from    communication channel         Parents Forum,
development of the CC.                            Cluster Group Meetings up and down.                  Management and the
                                                  onto Parent’s Forum                                  Steering and Reference
                                                  (PF), Multi-Agency                                   Group.
                                                  Management (MAM)                                     Childminders views
                                                  Group & Steering and                                 recorded in meeting
                                                  Reference (S & R)                                    notes.
                                                  Groups

5.Promotion of CM in CC   1.June 08               1.Develop a marketing     1.Increase peoples         File of information on CM
(see also Objective 4)    Michael Hunt            strategy for CM           awareness of CM            in CC’s.

                          2.September 08          2.Consult with CM as      2.Allows CM’s to express   Survey responses with
                          Key Worker              part of Welcome/Drop-     the views                  potential users show
                                                  in sessions about                                    knowledge of CM.
                                                  publicity/marketing


                          3.June 08               3.Develop a resource      3.Raise CM knowledge of
                          Information             file for CM about CC      CC
                          Assistants (IA)         and their activities

                          4.June 08               4.Develop a ‘Meet the     4.Raise parents/staffs
                          CM & IA                 Minder’ file for CC and   knowledge about CM
                                                  display in CC

                          5.Ongoing               5.Include CM in           5.Receive up-to-date

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                            IA                      relevant mail out of CC    info about services
                                                    services                   available



                            6.Jan 09                6.Include on solution      6.Allows wider spread of
                            Michael Hunt            Finder/EY Web page         information about CM
                                                    information on
                                                    Childminding.

                            7.April 08              7.Provide notice board     7.Ownership of their
                            Michael Hunt            for CM in CC               information

                            8.Ongoing               8.Sign-post to CM
                             CC Staff               services

6. Raising the profile of   1.June 08               1.Briefing to all staff    1.Gives consistent         More CM in supply pool.
CM within CC                 NCMA                   about CM & benefits at     message to all EY staff
                                                    Full Team Meeting                                     More CM approach CC.

                            2.April 08              2.More in-depth            2.Provides support for     Baseline established of
                            Brenda Graham           training for 5 Key         key workers to carry out   CC using CC services.
                                                    Workers to build up        additional duties
                                                    their knowledge and
                                                    skills in relation to CM

                            3.September 08          3. Inclusion of CM on      3.More employment
                             Simon Wake             Childcare Supply Pool.     opportunities made for

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                                                                        CM to join the Pool

                    4.April 08              4. ICP to include a slot    4.Introducing CC early in
                    EY&CS                   giving information          training to all CM
                                            about CC.
7.Training          1. Ongoing              1. Inclusion of CM in       1. Highly skilled           Training Records show
                    EYCS Training Team.     multi-agency and other      childminders.               number of CM taking up
                                            training in CC including                                training.
                                            Early Years Foundation
                                            Stage                                                   Establish baseline of CM
                                                                                                    with Level 3 qualification
                                                                                                    and agree % increase.

8.Referrals to CM   1. June 08              1. Development of           1. Allows CC to use CM      CM recorded as
                    Referral Working        protocol for referrals to   as part of referral         providing special services
                    Group                   CM in relation to           process
                                            monitoring, risk
                                            assessment, quality,
                                            payments etc (In line
                                            with sponsored
                                            childminding)




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                                                Childminding Plan 2008 – 2011


Key Objective Two

Encourage childminders to develop more flexible services including meeting the needs of children with disabilities
and families who have particular needs for having childcare services for their children



                             Achievement Date       Milestones that will       Impact of the              Measurement of
Action                           and Lead           need to be                 delivery of this           impact (to be SMART)
                              Officer/Service       completed to meet          objective by this
                                                    the objective              action
1. To have one point of     1. June 2008            1. Officer within the EY   1. More information and    1. Increase in the number
contact for a childminder   Early Years and         & CS identified as point   support for childminders   of CWD taking up a
who cares for a child       Childcare Service       of contact                 to provide services to     childcare place with
with a disability (CWD)     (EYCS)                                             CWD                        childminders.
or is considering doing                             2. Childminders            Easier access to this      Establish baseline in 2008.
so.                                                 informed of the            information and advice
                                                    Contact Officer and
                                                    their role




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2. Extend the ICHIS        1. April 2000           1. More Information       1. More choice for      Increase on the current
database to include        EYCS Monitoring         collated and saved on     parents/carers          information on services
more information on        Team                    ICHIS                                             available from
childminders.                                                                                        childminders, made
                                                   2. More information                               available to parents/carers
                                                   given to parents/carers                           seeking childcare
                                                   seeking childcarers.

                                                   2. CIS to be promoted
                                                      in Introduction to
                                                      Childminding
                                                      Practice (ICP).

3. Review Briefing         1. April 2008           1. EYCS review Briefing 1. More childminders      More childminders on the
sessions for potential     EYCS                    session contents and    agree to offer flexible   ICHIS database offering
childminders to ensure                             ensure the basic        and inclusive care.       flexible and inclusive care.
issues are discussed                               information includes
regarding providing                                service options
flexible hours, services
for CWD and additional
needs and partnership
working.




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4. Promote a flexible     1. April 2008           1. The involvement of     1. Increase in           Take up of training.
childminder training      EYCS Training Team      CWD practitioners in      childminders who offer
programme on CWD                                  training e.g. Portage     inclusive childcare.
issues arranged by the                            worker in the training
Early Years & Childcare                           Flexible training
Service.                                          programme on CWD
                                                  available to
                                                  childminders
                                                  Monitoring of take up
                                                  by childminders of
                                                  training


5. Funding for CWD will   1. June 2008            1. EYCS provide           1. Parents and carers    Increase in CWD receiving
be made available to      Early Years and         information on funding    with a CWD have clear    childcare including places
parents to pay            Childcare Service       for CWD to all            information on funding   with Childminders.
childminders equally                              childcare providers.      support for childcare
with group childcare      2. Sept 2008            2. Develop a protocol     including childminders
providers                 Referral Group          and criteria for
                                                  Childminders to access
                                                  additional funding.
6. Discounted rates at    1. Sept 2008            1. Charging policy        1. Increase in play      Number of childminders
the TAP library for       EYCS                    agreed for TAP library,   opportunities for        registered with TAP and
childminders.                                     based at Chowdene         childminders using TAP   borrowing resources.
                                                  Children’s Centre         library resources.




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7. Annual Childminder       1. Early Years and      1. Consultation with       1. More childminders      Numbers attending Event
event to promote their      Childcare Service       childminders on aim        able to access            Number of positive
profession and bring        Each year               and outcomes of an         information and support   evaluations of the Event
together services who                               event                      through a networking
can offer training,                                 2. Event plan in place     event.
support, opportunities to
them.
Link to National
Childminding Day.

8. Work with the Family     1. September 2008       1. To work co-             1. Wider pool of          Increase in childcare
Support Services to         Children’s              operatively with Family    childminders who can      places with childminders
meet additional care        Centres/Family          Support Services to        take children with        who are sponsored
needs of a child using      Support Services        find a childminder for a   additional needs or a     through Family Support
childminders                                        child with additional      CWD                       Services.
                                                    care needs using
                                                    Children’s Centre
                                                    services
                                                    2. Review the joint
                                                    referral meetings to
                                                    include placing children
                                                    with childminders




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9. Provide appropriate    1. June 2008            1. Training adapted to     1. Increase in           Increase in take-up of
and accessible training   Central Area            meet cultural, religious   childminders for the BME childcare with
and support for           Children’s Centres      and awarding body          and faith communities    childminders in BME faith
childminders in the BME                           requirements                                        communities
and faith Community
10. Support and           1. January 2009         1. Model of support for    1. Schools have a better   Increase in take up of
encourage childminders    CM and EYCS             childminders agreed        understanding of CM        places by school age
to develop links with                             with BME and faith         services.                  children with childminders.
Extended Schools in                               communities
their area.
                                                  2. Links developed
                                                  with schools through
                                                  drops and briefings.




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                                                Childminding Plan 2008 – 2011


Key Objective Three


Include Childminders as participants in the Gateshead Quality Improvement Programme (QIP)



                            Achievement Date        Milestones that will      Impact of the             Measurement of
Action                          and Lead            need to be                delivery of this          impact (to be SMART)
                             Officer/Service        completed to meet         objective by this
                                                    the objective             action

1. Recruit childminders   1. April to June 2008.    1. Childminders who       1. Childminders           Parental satisfaction
to begin the Quality      Early Years and           have expressed an         improving the service     survey shows an
Improvement               Childcare Service.        interest in joining a     they offer.               increase in a positive
Programme (QIP).          (EYCS)                    Quality Improvement                                 view of the childminder
                                                    Programme (QIP)                                     as a childcare provider.
                                                    contacted and
                                                    recruited.

2. Training for           1. April to April (2008   1. Training is arranged   1. Training by            Training places taken up
childminders that links   2009).                    flexibly to meet the      childminders increases.   by childminder increases.
into the Quality          Early Years and           working hours of                                    Training improves
Improvement               Childcare Service         childminders.                                       practice of the
Programme (QIP).          Training Team.                                                                childminders who attend

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                                                    2. Training is arranged                                training Parent
                                                    to support the QIP                                     questionnaire).
                                                    modules.

3. To view together the     1. Sept 2008            1. Development of         1. Increased EYFS            Take-up of Training by
Early Years Foundation      Quality Team in Early   Training and support      training for childminding.   Childminders increases
stage and the Quality       Years and Childcare     for childminders that     More confident,              for Early Years and
Improvement                 Service, and Raising    links EYFS to QIP         reflective childminders.     Foundation Stage.
Programme and the           Achievement Service     modules.                                               Baseline to be
impact of these on the      (RAS).                                                                         established
practice of childminders.
                                                                                                           Parents report in the
                                                                                                           satisfaction survey an
                                                                                                           increase in standards of
                                                                                                           childminding services.



5. Provide the              1. Oct 2009             1. Agreement of           1. Childminder mentors       Number of childminders
opportunity for             Early Years and         Childminder mentor        trained.                     trained as mentors
childminders who have       Childcare Service       role.                     More childminders to         Number of childminders
achieved the Quality                                Put in place a strategy   take up the QA Award.        who have a mentor
Assurance Award to                                  to ensure childminders
mentor other                                        are aware of
childminders on the                                 mentoring role.
Quality Improvement
Programme (QIP).


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6. Search for additional   1. April 2008           1. LA External funding   1. Increase support,        Increase in childminders
funding to employ an       Early Years and         group carries out an     through a dedicated QIP     on the QI Programme
Officer to support the     Childcare Service       exercise to identify     for childminders.           Increase in childminders
Childminder Quality                                additional funds.                                    achieving QA Award.
Improvement                                        2. On being successful   2. Status of childminding
Programme.                                         a childminding Quality   raised.
                                                   Improvement Partner
                                                   (QIP) recruited.




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                                                Childminding Plan 2008 – 2011

Key Objective Four

Review and develop the information available on childminding for parents/carers in Gateshead

Action                      Achievement Date          Milestones that will    Impact of the               Measurement of
                            and Lead                  need to be              delivery of this            impact (to be SMART)
                            Officer/Service           completed to meet       objective by this
                                                      the objective           action
1. Audit what               1. Michael Hunt.          1. Report produced      1. Gaps identified in       Audit produced of
information is already      January 2008              showing current         provision of information    current information,
available on                                          resources                                           identifying gaps
childminding in
Gateshead.
2. Consult with             1. Information            1. Parents consulted    1. Required information     Marketing Strategy to
parents/carers as to        Assistants/Michael Hunt   via CC’s to determine   is identified               represent views of
what information they       April 2008                what is required                                    consultation
would like available on
childminders.
3. Consult with             1. Information            1. Childminders         1. Increased                Marketing Strategy to
childminders as to how      Assistants/Michael Hunt   consulted via           involvement for             represent childminders
their services could be     April 2008                Children’s centres to   childminders in             ideas for marketing their
marketed more                                         ascertain views         marketing their services    services
effectively.
4. Develop a Marketing      1. Michael Hunt June      1. Marketing Strategy   1. Plan in place to raise   Marketing strategy
Strategy for childminders   2008                      produced                awareness of                produced
                                                                              childminding

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5. Produce A5 leaflet      1. Michael Hunt June    1. Leaflet produced      1. Leaflet available in all   Increase in childminding
specific to childminding   2008                    and distributed          Council buildings and         information available to
                                                   accordingly              sent out in information       parents/carers
                                                                            packs
6. Promote childminding    1. Michael Hunt         1. Case studies of       1. Advert in local press,     Increased exposure for
through article in local                           childminding produced    Council News                  childminders in
press and Council News                             as part of article                                     Gateshead and enquiries
                                                                                                          to CIS
7. Promote childminding    1. Michael Hunt/Local   1. Have stand at         1. One to one                 Numbers of
at childcare event on 15   childminders March 2008 childcare event          discussions with parents      parents/carers taking
March                                                                       regarding childminding        part in discussions at
                                                                                                          event

8. Develop links with      1. Children’s Centres   1. Regular meetings      1. Provides opportunity       Regular attendance of
childminders and           August 2008             between childminders     for childminders to raise     childminders at
Children’s Centres                                 and Children’s Centres   awareness/promote             Children’s Centres
                                                                            service with front line       Increased awareness of
                                                                            staff                         childminding for
                                                                                                          Information Assistants
9. Increase childminder    1. Karen Stewart        1. Develop links and     1. Childminders have          More detailed
information on ICHIS       September 2008          system for               increased information on      information given to
                                                   childminders to          ICHIS                         parents/carers
                                                   regularly update
                                                   information
10. Include childminders   1. June 2008 Michael    1. Pages developed on    1. Childminders have          Increase in childminder
information on solution    Hunt                    solution finder to       greater exposure              searches on solution
finder                                             include childminders                                   finder


                                                              25

                           EY/06/08/CSW/Gateshead CM Strategy/Draft CM Strategy Written Doc- SH SK
11. Provide up to date   1. Michael Hunt,         1. Customer Services     1. Public receive       Higher quality
information and advice   Customer Services/       and Information          information allowing    information being
on childminding via      Information Assistants   Assistants trained and   informed choice to be   disseminated and
Customer Services and                             aware of requirements    made                    greater customer
Information Assistants                                                                             satisfaction




                                                            26

                         EY/06/08/CSW/Gateshead CM Strategy/Draft CM Strategy Written Doc- SH SK
                                                Childminding Plan 2008 – 2011

Key Objective Five

To have plans for childminding as a choice for parents, families, children and employers in each of the 5
Neighbourhood areas

Action                      Achievement Date        Milestones that will   Impact of the              Measurement of
                            and Lead                need to be             delivery of this           impact (to be SMART)
                            Officer/Service         completed to meet      objective by this
                                                    the objective          action
1. As part of the           1. April 2008           1. Complete mapping    1. Clear picture with LA   CM GIS maps
Childcare Sufficiency       Early Years and         exercise               of childcare gaps and
Plan map CM places          Childcare Service                              plan in place to fill
according to the 5 areas.
2. Where an identified      1. April 2008           1. Demand and supply   1. Childminders included   Childminders clearly
demand for childcare is     Early Years and         surveys compared       in Childcare               identified as filling a
not being met: -            Childcare Service       Gaps and development   development plan.          sufficiency gap.
1. Pre-school;                                      areas identified
8. Out of School;
9. Flexible Hours
10. Holidays

Childminders will be
considered to fill the
gap.




                                                              27

                            EY/06/08/CSW/Gateshead CM Strategy/Draft CM Strategy Written Doc- SH SK
3. Where there are no     1. Sept 2008            1. Targeted            1. Childcare available     Number of CM recruited.
childminders, but a       Early Years and         campaign(s) in         where previously there
demand is identified      Childcare Service       response to demand.    was a gap.
targeted CM recruitment
to take place.




                                                            28

                          EY/06/08/CSW/Gateshead CM Strategy/Draft CM Strategy Written Doc- SH SK
                                  Appendix 2

    Report on the consultation on “A Strategy for Childminding in
Gateshead” by Julie Henderson, Development Officer, Gateshead Early
                    Years and Childcare Service.

This report collates all the comments and feedback given on the document “A
Strategy for Childminding in Gateshead”.
An email was sent to all the Children Centre Heads asking for comments and
feedback on the document “A Strategy for Childminding in Gateshead” with a
reply date of the 12th February 2008. Included was a request for details of
any Childminders who were involved with these centres. No comments were
received. A further email was sent to encourage responses to the Strategy
and one response was received. (Appendix 2)
Information was gathered on drop-in sessions for Childminders in the 5
Neighbourhood areas (West, Inner West, Central, South and East).
Cluster groups of Childminders were identified in the Gateshead area.
Lists of Parent and Toddler groups and Childminder groups in the area were
provided by the Pre-School Learning Alliance.
Current Childminder drop-in sessions or Parent and Toddler groups were
matched to the Childminder cluster groups and one venue for each cluster
group was chosen.
A letter was circulated to all Childminders, stating the intention to meet and
gather together comments and feedback and listing dates, times and venues
to maximise the number of respondents. Childminders were given the option
to receive the Strategy via post or email if they did not attend any of the listed
venues.
Proformas were created which were used to collate all the feedback.
Copies of the document were photocopied so these could be distributed to
Childminders attending venues and to those individuals unable to attend.
Names and postcodes of Childminders who contributed to this report, together
with any volunteers who wished to take part in any other pilot schemes or
information gathering sessions were not included in the general report to
ensure confidentiality and anonymity of responses.
Information about the Strategy was circulated in the January News Bulletin
from the Early Years and Childcare Service posted on the Gateshead Early
Years and Childcare weblog. A telephone number and email address was
included to enable anyone who wished to contribute comments or feedback
on the Strategy to do so.
Feedback and comments of 27 Childminders representing the 5
Neighbourhood areas are included in this report as Appendix 1.
(These annonymised comments are from individuals in this report and were
taken from discussions by Childminders at various venues.)
Feedback and comments from Heads of Children’s Centres appear as
Appendix 3.




                                       - 29
Main findings of the report


 1. Childminders want to be consulted on all aspects of training.

 2. For the majority of Childminders the nearest Children’s Centre was
situated too far away to be easily accessible. Childminders wanted local
venues to be available which could be used for their needs.

  3. Childminders wanted a named, responsible, contactable, person whose
sole job (not a temporary post) would be to work with Childminders giving
advice and support and would regularly visit Childminders at local venues and
their own homes.

  4. The role of the professional e.g. Health Visitors, Midwives, Early Years
staff and Head Teachers is vitally important. Professionals should learn about
the role of the Childminder during their training and can advise new parents
about all aspects of childcare.

 5. Include more information on Childminders on the ICHIS database and
make sure this is regularly updated. To make sure when parents ring up the
Children’s Information Service that they get a detailed list of all the
Childminders in their area.

 6. Events in the local area need to be priced realistically for Childminders
who can have a small group of children. A central equipment loan pool and
resources for arts and crafts should be created and should be realistically
priced, as should the TAP library. All of these resources should be mobile.

  7. childminders would like mail-outs and training packs with information just
for them. Also Newsletters for Childminders about events in Gateshead.

 8. Extra funding available to parents and Childminders for children with
disabilities and Childminders with parents who do shift work. Extra training to
be available through a named, responsible person whose job it would be to
consider the needs of the Childminder, child with disability and parents.

  9. Childminders were uncertain over the merits of joining a Quality
Improvement Programme as they thought they already offered a quality
service that their parents were happy with. An individual that would visit them
to improve quality and practice would be more acceptable than simply
producing written work answering questions.

 10. Childminders approved of the idea that they would act as mentors to
other Childminders.

 11. Many of the Childminders are very apprehensive about the introduction
of the new EYFS framework. They were unsure about what was to be



                                      - 30
expected of them in terms of written work and if their registration would be
taken away or their Ofsted grading lowered for non-compliance.

  12. Childminders would like to have extra funding available to them. Grants
to replace equipment and resources and to attend training and events.

 13. Many Childminders wanted the previous Childminder Networks to be
established again.




                                      - 31
                                 Appendix 1.

                Comments on page 3 – Executive Summary

Comments

How do you encourage Childminder’s to develop flexible services? I have
had a boy with Autism and am a sponsored childminder but I can’t accept
children in wheelchairs as I have steps up to my house and I don’t have space
in my house for children in wheelchairs.

Strengths
No comments

Weaknesses
No comments

Comments on page 4 – Introduction

Comments
No comments

Strengths
No comments

Weaknesses
No comments

    Comments on Key Outcome 1 – Establish closer working relationships
 between Children’s Centres and Childminders and have a childminding plan
  in place for each Children’s Centre cluster in the 5 Neighbourhood areas.

Actions
1. An identified worker in each Neighbourhood area who as part of their role
will act as single point of contact and Key Worker between Children’s Centres.
2. Each Key Worker to build relationships with Childminders in their area.
(Plan & deliver welcome sessions, take ownership of drop-ins, attend
Children’s Centres activities/one-off events/EYFS workshops, register
Childminder with Children’s Centre, celebrate National Childminder Week)
3. Regular meetings with Childminders and Children’s Centres. (Develop bi-
monthly cluster meetings with Childminders.)
4. Involve Childminders in the management and development of the
Children’s Centres. (Agree representation from Cluster Group meetings onto
Parent’s Forum PF, Multi-Agency Management Group MAM and Steering and
Reference Groups S & R)
5. Promotion of Childminders in Children’s Centres. (Develop a marketing
strategy for Childminders, consult with Childminders about publicity and
marketing, develop a resource file for Childminders about Children’s Centres,
develop a ‘Meet the Minder’ file for Children’s Centres and display in
Children’s Centres, include Childminders in relevant mail out of Children’s


                                     - 32
Centres services, include on solution finder/EY Web page information of
childminding, provide noticeboard for Childminders in Children’s Centres,
sign-post to childminding services.)
6. Raising the profile of Childminders within Children’s Centres. (Briefing to all
staff about Childminders and benefits at Full Team Meeting, more in-depth
training for 5 Key workers to build up their knowledge and skills in relation to
Childminders, Inclusion of Childminders on Childcare Supply Pool, ICP to
include a slot giving information about Children’s Centres.)
7. Training (Inclusion of Childminders in multi-agency and other training in
Children’s Centres including Early Years Foundation Stage)
8. Referrals to Childminders (Development of protocol for referrals to
Childminders in relation to monitoring, risk assessment, quality,
payments etc (in line with sponsored childminding)

Comments – What do you think of the proposals?

It is a good idea to pass information on.
If you were offering something that we couldn’t get anywhere else, we would
attend these sessions, something on music or something extra for the children
that we couldn’t get elsewhere, something different from the usual soft play.
We started this drop-in group originally so that our children could play
together and they could meet other children and adults and so Childminders
could meet together to get mutual support and advice. There was nothing
else about at the time.
When planning courses it would be a good idea to ask Childminders what
they want and when they want to do it.
Trying to do courses on the odd evening and weekend is not the answer.
It would be much better if trainers could come to us at our drop-in sessions
and bring someone else to supervise the children while Childminders were
involved in training. This would mean that parents were happy as the
Childminder was still there and the children would be happier as they wouldn’t
have to go somewhere they didn’t know or be away from their Childminder.
I used to go to my local Childminder drop-in session but the new EYFS is
putting a lot of people off doing childminding any more. Because of falling
numbers of Childminders in the area and falling numbers of Childminders
attending drop-in session it folded. Now I support my local school and attend
their local Parent and Toddler sessions.
The rise of more breakfast clubs and Out of School clubs mean that we don’t
have as many children.
Childminders are not taking babies as they think they are too much hard work.
A lot of Childminders only take older children and do pick-ups and drop-offs.
Until we get Health Visitors and Midwives as part of their training to learn
about the role of Childminders we will get nowhere. These professionals are
visiting new mums and if they are asked about Childminders they are
dismissive or don’t know anything which gives a negative image of
childminding to new parents. A lot of Health Visitors and Midwives talk about
nursery provision and leave out Childminders.
I have been to my nearest Children’s Centre but if you are walking with a
double pushchair it is too far. Getting onto public transport with a double
buggy or 2 or 3 children under 5 is really difficult. We have quite a few


                                       - 33
Childminders in this area that may use our local Children’s Centre but
perhaps about once a month a minibus could pick us all up and take us to our
local Children’ s Centre. I would go along if they had a soft play session,
bouncy castle or mini gymnastics.
The number of Childminders is getting less and less all the time. We have
lost 3 in the past few months, mostly because their children have grown up
but we have had no one to replace them. Childminding is not seen as a well-
paid job and is not promoted so it looks as if they will not be replaced.
We haven’t got a Children’s Centre that is near us; we are miles away from
our nearest one. When you have a double or triple buggy it is too much
trouble to get there for a couple of hours. In this area there is an empty
school that closed in July, we don’t know what plans there are for this but we
would love to use this as a drop-in centre. There are enough Childminders in
this area to have a venue just for Childminders. We have our own drop-in
session at a local hall and we have committed to keep this going even when
we are on holiday or if we have no children. It is not the best of venues in that
it is used by lots of other groups and there is not enough storage space for us
to leave all of our equipment so we have to bring a lot of our equipment
backwards and forwards from our own houses. We do it for the children
though, and for us as Childminders. We would rather have this for our
committed group rather than have it for people who just drop in for a few
weeks and then leave.

Strengths

Training should be offered through the day, weekends and evenings. The
Steering group involvement would be a good idea but when would meetings
take place? Would Childminders be able to get to them? Childminders have
drop-off and pick-up times for children and this would mean that even times
around early and late lunchtimes wouldn’t be a good idea to some
Childminders. Could more than one Childminder attend and this could work
on a rota basis so that some Childminders who are a lot busier than me could
get a break and would not be expected to attend all the time?
The “Meet the Minder” file would be a good idea but photographs of
Childminders may put Childminders off wanting to be included.
I have considered joining the childcare supply pool and this would be a good
idea for me so that I would be assured work or my children would be covered
in the event of an emergency.
I used to do my own marketing but Childminders in this area have been
reduced from 30 to approx. 8 and I think anything that could be done to
improve marketing of Childminders would be a good idea. There are new
Childminders coming into the business but of the 2 new Childminders in my
area one has had a really bad first time childminding and I have tried to
support her as much as I can. It would be better if someone could take this
job on – to support Childminders but especially new Childminders if they have
had bad experiences.
I am on a steering group and find that it is very useful. I find myself putting
childminding forward and explaining to individuals what Childminders do. I
spoke to a Community Midwife who hadn’t heard of Childminders. When I



                                      - 34
have raised any problems or concerns with local Councillors their reaction is,
write to your MP, which is not very useful.
It would be better if Children’s Centres could charge a small fee to
Childminders and this would encourage more to take part in events. We may
come from a so-called affluent area but the children we are caring for may not
and we are not paid a lot of money. One small fee to cover as many children
as you have rather than charging per child would be a better idea, rather than
put Childminders at a disadvantage.
The strength of a Key Worker would be when you are ringing up you are not
getting lots of people you are just getting one and you can build up a
relationship with this person.
Perhaps if Welcome Sessions, training or events were on in the school
holidays then Childminders would have more time to access them as they
wouldn’t be dashing off to pick children up or drop them off.
I would visit the local Children’s Centre for training if it was in walking distance
and if they had a crèche during the day for the children.
Put a crèche on and train for a 2-3 hour period, do the training for free and
come to us at our sessions.
I try to come along to as many training sessions as I can, as I am a new
Childminder. Training was something that was put forward by 2 other
Childminders who I met through the drop-in sessions. I have been given a lot
of advice and support from these Childminders and it is because of these
people that I’m coping. If I didn’t have these people I feel I would be
struggling. I haven’t had any support from anyone else. We tend to support
each other, as we don’t have anyone else to support us.
If the Key Worker could help that would be a good idea but we have had
these types of workers before for a short time before they left. The last
worker was a nice lady and we did raise points with her but she didn’t come
back.

Weaknesses

Information on Solution Finder is only OK if parents can work a computer and
have access to a computer – not everyone has this or wishes to access this.
Sessions would only be available through the day.
Our mums wouldn’t be happy that we were leaving the children with someone
else.
All day or over 2 hours wouldn’t be a good idea. Perhaps a maximum of 2
hours would be a good idea.
No cash incentives.
Our nearest Children’s Centre is a long way away and not easily accessible, it
is a car journey and the price of petrol is going up all the time.
I feel that Childminders are always the last to be consulted and considered.
We don’t want to give up our Saturdays as they are our only time off but it
seems if we have to take up training that is one of the most popular days to
choose.
Even when others could be there to look after our children some of our
children wouldn’t like this idea and we wouldn’t want to put our children
through something they didn’t want to do.



                                        - 35
The person at our local Children’s Centre who represents Childminders
doesn’t understand Childminders and is no use to us at all. Will the new Key
Worker be as bad?
How can we be involved in bi-monthly meetings? There is no way we can
have a conversation with our children there, it’s nonsense.
I would like to be on various committees with Children’s Centres to try and
promote childminding in the area but since the drop-in sessions have gone I
don’t know what to do.
To give Childminders the chance to organise and run their own drop-in
session – to be honest that’s what we are doing now in this venue. We have
organised it and we run it without help or support from anyone else.
We do get information through mail-outs. A bulletin comes out but the
information is not relevant to us. At one time one piece of important
information was missed because it was at the end of a large bulletin and no
one had got to the end of it. We would like information passed out to us that
would be just for Childminders and something that was of interest to us.
National Childminding Days/weeks are a good idea but the last one we had
the local Children’s Centre pulled out all the stops and only 3 people attended.
They have put on three open days and one good thing is that out of one of
them one parent wanted a Childminder.
We were having a session together next to a Children’s Centre nursery and
someone from the nursery had to go through the room with a prospective
parent to show them around the centre. This person ignored the
Childminders and did not let the parent know who we were or anything about
us. We know that the Children’s Centres need to have children but they
should still let parents know that Childminders are out there and give them all
the information on all the providers that are available.
If we took our children to a crèche I think it would have implications on our
insurance, as these children would not be looked after in our own home by
ourselves.
It’s all well and good providing a Key Worker for Childminders but this person
has got to understand what Childminders are all about. Childminding should
be the whole of this person’s job not just added onto their original job, as this
wouldn’t be fair to Childminders or the Key Worker at all. We would need
someone who could act as our person to go to for all kinds of needs and this
person should not be only available through a Children’s Centre but be
accessible out in the field and come out to our sessions and to our homes.
The childminding network was ideal as every 4-6 weeks someone would
come out and provide training at the centres. This folded due to lack of
funding. Prior to the Network Childminders were isolated and if you had a
problem you were stuck, but now we are worse off. We used to have people
who were available who understood but now we have no one. When we had
the Network it brought everyone together for regular and frequent training and
it had a social aspect too, which was great. You were also monitored at a
quality level and felt you didn’t miss out on things. The people who came out
read through all of the documentation and condensed it and gave us what we
needed to know. The job as it should be done couldn’t be given to someone
as an add-on to their normal job it would be unfair to them and to us.
I am put off attending events at Children’s Centres because of the cost.
Because I come from outside the Children’s Centre’s immediate area I’m


                                      - 36
charged £2 per child where people next to the Children’s Centre get charged
50p. This cuts into the amount I charge parents and I end up with nothing left.
People in some areas feel left out of the mailing lists for the local Children’ s
Centres. They don’t advertise enough or in a wide enough area.
I don’t feel as if I was interested in getting involved in committees as I feel I
have little enough time with my family and don’t have time for myself never
mind doing other things.
Training has got to be something we don’t feel apprehensive about. I have
been to some training where we have to do things that make me feel
uncomfortable or embarrassed. There should be an opt-out for people who
feel embarrassed about doing things in front of others – even if you know
them well. I feel dreadful about “performing” in front of adults and sit the
whole time dreading what might come next. This does not make me feel
comfortable about training.
I was made to feel picked on by the trainer at a training course and was very
close to tears. It made me feel as if I didn’t want to attend another training
session and put me off.
We don’t get paid for a lot of this training and we don’t get time off or time in
lieu as a lot of other childcare workers do and you wonder why Childminders
don’t want to do extra training?
I have used Children’s Centres in the past but haven’t used any for a long
time now. I find that it’s mainly for younger ones but not for any older
children.
When I went to the Children’s Centre we were in a room that had access to a
person but with nothing for the children to do.
Our local Children’s Centre hasn’t got a drop-in for Childminders but it is
something that they are talking about starting although we are not involved in
the planning or the organisation which would be something we would be
interested in doing because we preferred it when we were consulted and able
to take a leading role in the set up and running of any events. This was
something that the Networks were all about – giving us a say in what we
wanted and needed as Childminders.
I wouldn’t want to be involved in any Steering Groups for Children’s Centres
as I haven’t got the time and I don’t see it to be relevant to me as a
Childminder.
There should be someone who is there for us as Childminders. I tried to book
on a Food Hygiene course and tried for about a week and a half to get
someone on the phone to get some information.
Part of the problem is Dryden. We haven’t got a clue about who to talk to.
We need someone that will come out to us.
We do get a training pack out but it would be better if this were focused just
for Childminders so we wouldn’t have to pick through all of the training to find
some that was just for Childminders.
We have a lot going on that we did ourselves and this is more local and
focused on us than we would get in the Children’s Centres.
I’m working 60 hours a week and don’t feel I have the time to join Steering
Groups or any other groups. I am very against using my weekends, as I need
quality time with my own family.
We have had people working with us that have come to us but not followed up
on what they have said they would do. We went back to them only to find out


                                      - 37
they have moved on and their position was only temporary. We would like a
named person that would get back to us when they said they would and be
available to us to contact on the phone.

  Comments on Key Outcome 2 – Encourage Childminders to develop more
 flexible services including meeting the needs of children with disabilities and
    families who have particular needs for having childcare services for their
                                    children.

Actions
1. To have one point of contact for a Childminder who cares for a child with a
disability (CWD) or is considering doing so (Officer within the EY & CS
identified as point of contact, Childminders informed of the Contact Officer
and their role.)
2. Extend the ICHIS database to include more information on Childminders.
(More information collated and saved on ICHIS, more information given to
parents/carers seeking childcarers, CIS to be promoted in Introduction to
Childminding Practice (ICP)
3. Review Briefing sessions for potential Childminders to ensure issues are
discussed regarding flexible hours, services for CWD and additional needs
and partnership working (Early Years and Childcare Service review Briefing
session contents and ensure the basic information includes service options).
4. Promote a flexible Childminder training programme on CWD issues
arranged by the Early Years & Childcare Service. (The involvement of CWD
practitioners in training e.g. Portage worker in the training, flexible training
programme on CWD available to Childminders, monitoring of take up by
Childminders of training).
5. Funding for CWD will be made available to parents to pay Childminders
equally with group childcare providers (EYCS provide information on funding
for CWD to all childcare providers, develop a protocol and criteria for
Childminders to access additional funding).
6. Discounted rates at the TAP library for Childminders (Charging policy
agreed for TAP library, based at Chowdene Children’s Centre).
7. Annual Childminder event to promote their profession and bring together
services who can offer training, support, opportunities to them. Link to
National Childminding Day (Consultation with Childminders on aim and
outcomes of an event, event plan in place).
8. Work with the Family Support Services to meet additional care needs of a
child using Childminders (To work co-operatively with Family Support
Services to find a Childminder for a child with additional care needs using
Children’s Centre services, review the joint referral meetings to include
placing children with Childminders).
9. Provide appropriate and accessible training and support for Childminders in
the BME and faith community (Training adapted to meet cultural, religious and
awarding body requirements).
10. Support and encourage Childminders to develop links with Extended
Schools in their area (Links developed with schools through drops and
briefings).




                                      - 38
Comments – what do you think of the proposals?
It is harder to look after CWD and you can’t have enough CWD to get as
much money as you would need as you need to look after less CWD than
other children. I approve of extra funding to parents so they can pay extra to
Childminders to look after CWD.
I would support parents who were desperate or who needed the odd overnight
care.
I think if you took a child from outside your area you should at least get your
mileage (sponsored children get mileage).
I would have children from outside my area but I would have to charge more if
I had to pick-up from a school outside my area.
I think that Childminders should be given training on looking after children with
disabilities, which would give us more confidence about our ability to look after
these children, then we would be aware of the links and support that was
available out there.
If anyone is going to work with children with disabilities they need to have
what I’ve got as a sponsored Childminder, not passed from person to person
promising that they will get back to you but never does. If I’ve got a query I
don’t bother with Dryden I just go to the NCMA.
I felt I didn’t need any support when I had a child with Autistic Spectrum
Disorder. He gets all the help he needs at school. I don’t think there is any
support if we were to take on a child with disabilities and we need this support
on our doorstep, not in the centre of Gateshead.
Extra funding would be a good idea for the children and the Childminders.
Sometimes we aren’t able to take on children with disabilities because we will
need to cut down on the amount of children we can take on. We should be
funded to take less children if had a child with disabilities.

Strengths

I had a child with Down’s Syndrome and I had wonderful back up from lots of
areas with meetings and support, although how much this was driven by mum
and not just offered as standard I don’t know.
I feel I am very flexible and that this is one of the Childminders biggest
strength. I do weekends, over-nights, shift work and Bank Holidays.
I have had children with disabilities in the past and found that I have had a lot
of training and support. What I got as I was a sponsored Childminder just
needs to be extended to other Childminders who are not sponsored but are
caring for children with disabilities. You need someone who you can contact
when you need help or support and you need to build up a relationship with
that person and be assured that you are not going to be passed around from
person to person and that this person will ring you back when they say they
will.
I think if there was an officer dealing with Childminders looking after children
with disabilities then this person should look after the needs of the child and
the parents. They should consider all of the provision available and choose
which would be the best for the child and parents. Childminders can build up
a special bond with parents and they may offer help, support and advice,
which the parents wouldn’t get or ask for from anyone else. For Childminders
the family is just as important as the child.


                                      - 39
If the Toy Library were mobile it would be a much better idea. Then the toys
could come to us and we would use it much more than we do now. A
catalogue could be used for us to look at and order toys that would be too big
to keep on the vehicle.

Weaknesses

I thought the joining fee for the Toy Library was quite expensive and then you
had to pay for the toys you borrowed. I think you should get rid of the joining
fee and charge a little bit extra for the toys you get out.
I think it depends on the information given out to parents – if you tell parents
that some Childminders have Satisfactory, Good or Outstanding in their
Ofsted report the only problem would be that you have this label for 3 years
and you may have improved but this wouldn’t be shown by your Ofsted rating.
I am all for continuity of care but if I have children who are coming to me for 1,
2 or 3 days on different days of the week or for odd days throughout the
month having these children will mean that I will have to turn down any full-
time children that may come along. Maybe we should charge the parents
more who are only using the place for odd times during the month (or parents
who do shift work) so this would pay for a full-time place when they were only
accessing it part-time so the Childminders would not be out-of-pocket.
I have had parents who did shift work and this meant not having a fixed day
that children would come to me. It meant that I had to leave spaces free all
week so that I could look after this child and this stopped me from accepting
other children on my free days as I never knew which days would be my free
days from week to week.
I had a child with Cerebral Palsy and was given no support; no training and no
back up. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have with normal
children you have no idea what it will be like looking after a child with special
needs. It turned out that this child was blind and this wasn’t known when I
first started to look after him.
Some parents are blinkered and will not accept that their child has extra
needs and you cannot accept any help or support until the parent accepts that
their child needs additional help.
My house is not able to house some children with disabilities, I haven’t got a
stair lift and I wonder how my other children will cope with a child who may
need one to one attention.
TAP library – I don’t drive a car so I can’t get to the toys or get them home.
I did look after a child with complex needs and found that I got lots of back –
up and support from the parent and what the parent had sorted out. I didn’t
get any support from anyone that the parent hadn’t contacted herself.
I had to give up looking after a child who had disabilities because it was
putting my other children at risk.
The Toy Library is too far away and then it is only open from 10-12 am.

 Comments on Key Outcome 3 – Include Childminders as participants in the
              Gateshead Improvement Programme (QIP).

Actions.
1. Recruit Childminders to begin the Quality Improvement Programme.


                                       - 40
2. Training for Childminders that links into the Quality Improvement
Programme (Training is arranged flexibly to meet the working hours of
childminders, training is arranged to support the QIP modules).
3.To view together the Early Years Foundation Stage and the Quality
Improvement Programme and the impact of these on the practice of
childminders (Development of training and support for Childminders that links
EYFS to QIP modules).
4. Quality Improvement Workshops to be accessible to Childminders and
resources available for those attending (Workshops arranged to meet
Childminder’s needs by Quality Team, audit of resources for Quality
Improvement in the Early Years).
5. Provide the opportunity for Childminders who have achieved the
Quality Assurance Award to mentor other Childminders on the Quality
Improvement Programme.
6.Search for additional funding to employ an Officer to support the
Childminder Quality Improvement Programme.

Comments – what do you think of the proposals?

I have done it already. I am still waiting for feedback from the NCMA Quality
Assurance that I did. It was a compilation of evidence in a file and I didn’t
have anyone coming out to visit me. I think it would be a better idea for
people to come out to look at my practice. Only people that do come out are
Ofsted and they only come out once.
Parents know their children are being looked after well and are happy. They
are not impressed with things like Quality Improvement or Quality Assurance
Schemes.
I feel I have given a good enough service and I am flexible even though I don’t
get any extra money for doing this. I am not going to change what I am doing
if I do a Quality Improvement Scheme as I feel I am doing everything I need
to. I enjoy childminding at the moment but I don’ t want to change what I am
doing. I don’t want to be doing paperwork when my children have gone
home. I need to have time with my family.
I think as a group we are quite happy supporting each other and getting
advice from each other and this is the way we would prefer to go rather than
the Quality Improvement route.
I haven’t done any training for quite a while because the courses that are
running are through the day and at times I can’t get to.
I have done my Level 3 and I used to go to the Network training sessions
when they were running.
This all sounds like the Network that used to be available and an NVQ. I
would be interested if it was Gateshead Childminders together and if training
was available at twilight and on Saturdays. Having training available to us at
a drop-in session wouldn’t be good for me as my children would be coming
back and forth and I couldn’t concentrate on what was being said.
I work hard and do a good job of childminding and my parents are happy with
what I do. Why would I need to improve myself more?
I offer good quality childcare. Why would I need to do a Quality Improvement
Programme?



                                     - 41
NCMA Childminders work to NCMA standards and that is the only quality
control we have.
Is the Quality Improvement Programme for Gateshead or Childminders?

Strengths

I would think that supporting new Childminders is a good idea but I wouldn’t
be able to go to them, I would be available for people to come to me.
If training were delivered close to me and at times I could access it (after 6), I
would be interested in joining a Quality Improvement Programme.
Childminders who could be mentors are a very good idea.
If Childminders could be mentors they could pass on a little bit of their
experience to other Childminders. I don’t know what I would have done
without the advice and support from other Childminders.
I think that when we had the Networks and someone would come out to see
us this improved our quality and our practice. If the Quality Improvement
Programme meant that someone would come out and visit us to look at what
we were doing and how we were doing it this would give us a boost that we
are doing the right thing. It would mean that we wouldn’t have to do anything
but what we would normally do.
I think a Quality Improvement Programme that would take on board what we
had when we had the Networks would be a good idea.

Weaknesses

I am only doing some training so I can work in a school or nursery in a couple
of years and then I will leave childminding.
Shouldn’t you be training the Childminders who need it and leave the others
who are providing good quality childcare alone?
There will be no extra money for doing this and Childminders are not well paid
to start with. I don’t want to change what I’m doing. I enjoy doing it but I don’t
want to spend my time writing, that’s not what I feel is a major part of the job.
I like to be home for my family and have time for my home life too.

Comments on Key Outcome 4 – Review and develop the information
available on childminding for parents/carers in Gateshead.

Actions
1.Audit what information is already available on childminding in Gateshead.
2. Consult with parents/carers as to what information they would like available
on Childminders.
3. Consult with Childminders as to how their services could be marketed more
effectively.
4. Develop a Marketing Strategy for Childminders.
5. Produce A5 leaflet specific to childminding.
6. Promote childminding through article in local press and Council News.
7. Promote childminding at childcare event on 15th March.
8. Develop links with Childminders and Children’s Centres.
9. Increase Childminder information on ICHIS.
10. Include Childminders information on solution finder.


                                       - 42
11. Provide up-to-date information and advice on childminding via Customer
Services and Information Assistants.

Comments – what do you think of the proposals?

There is at the moment really bad news in the press and in the Gateshead
area about Childminders. We need something positive rather than negatives
in the press and websites to promote Childminders.
I think you should have an open day to promote childminding.
Information could be available at schools that Childminders pick up from to
promote Childminders to parents or in baby clinics.
People don’t realise what we have to do – all the training we have to do,
assignments often done at the end of a very busy day or in addition to our
working week. If parents knew what we went through and go through to be
Childminders they would have a greater appreciation of us and recognise us
as professionals.
If you provided a newsletter for all of the Gateshead Childminders about what
is going on in the whole of Gateshead and what is important for Childminders
to know that would be very useful.
Information on Childminders and childminding could be put up in baby clinics
and doctors’ surgeries.

Strengths

I was impressed when I saw a poster at Heworth for services for children in
the Gateshead area and Childminders were first on the list.
You could put the qualifications of the Childminder on the database, if they
are part of a Network, if they have a level 3 and how many years they have
been a Childminder.
Putting information about Childminders in the job centres – when people hear
about jobs and wonder what to do with their children they could think about
Childminders.
Perhaps a poster advertising childminding in general would be a good idea in
Children’s Centres but I wouldn’t want my telephone number advertised.
I have had a lot of phone calls from parents recently directly from the CIS and
think that this is a good thing.
Brand new parents go to the baby clinics and word of mouth happens here.
Information about childminding in general could be put up here and in doctors’
surgeries. I know that we weren’t able to put up information on individual
Childminders in surgeries but a general poster with a central number would be
a good idea. The local library and local schools would also be a good idea
but some School Heads promote only certain Childminders. There should be
equal opportunities for all Childminders and not just a chosen few.

Weaknesses

The majority of children that I have looked after parents have got to know
about me through word of mouth, referrals by other Childminders or other
mothers. I have never had a parent that has come to me via the CIS and I
have been working as a Childminder for a lot of years.


                                     - 43
I have been working as a Childminder for 16 years and it has never been as
quiet (for children) as it is now. Childminders will give up if they are not
promoted.
The ICHIS list is not updated enough. Parents have told some Childminders
that they have not been given the full list of Childminders in the area, only part
of the list. Why don’t parents get the full information of which schools each
Childminder picks-up from to help them choose?
The ICHIS list is not updated as often as it could be about vacancies. A letter
should be sent out at least once a month to ask if Childminders have any
vacancies.
Some of us are a little dubious about our information being secure on the
ICHIS database.
There was a press release last night (7th Feb 2008) in the Herald and Post
free paper that listed providers for parents and Childminders were not listed in
the press release.
Funds that are (or have been) available to Childminders to use while they
have vacant places are not available to Childminders in this area as they are
considered an affluent area.
We have not heard about any childcare event on the 15th March.
As for Solution Finder – half of our group does not have access to a computer
and only 1 Childminder uses a computer in her business while 1 Childminder
has access to a computer but cannot work it.
I don’ t think the CIS works well. I have heard of parents who only get a
partial list of Childminders and this is no good to parents or to Childminders.
If the results of Ofsted reports were on the ICHIS database parents may then
think that they would not want to have a Childminder who did not at least have
a “Good” report. This would be a little hard on new Childminders who may
only get a “Satisfactory” in their first Ofsted report.
I haven’t looked at Solution Finder as I just have access to the computer for a
short time.
The ICHIS database had my old prices on. Perhaps a letter could be sent out
to remind us to update information as time goes by and we forget how long it
has been since we have updated information. I feel bogged down with
paperwork and know I should update my information on the database but
keep forgetting about it.
I have seen nothing good about Childminders in the local press. The only
news I have seen is bad news. There was one article that talked about a
Childminder shaking a baby but when you got to the end of the article it wasn’t
a Childminder but this was how the newspaper had named her. There should
be a policy whereby if Early Years are putting information in the local press
about other providers there should be a positive article about Childminding put
in with it.
We haven’t seen any business from the CIS. We write down any parents who
ring us wanting Childminders and give this out to other Childminders in our
group and we find this works very well.
I haven’t had any children through the CIS but through word of mouth and
through referrals from other Childminders.
I find the NCMA really useful. Their legal service is really good. I was able to
ring up and ask a question, which they were able to answer straight away.



                                       - 44
The phone calls we get are not consistent. Parents have rung us and not
rung other Childminders because they have not been given the whole of the
list. A lot of our parents go on the Internet and get our Ofsted reports and use
these to decide whether to go to a particular Childminder. I get my parents
mostly through word of mouth. I don’t think parents think of going to the
Children’s Information Service.
In mail-outs, as Childminders, we always seem to get the information at the
last minute. It would be nice if all the information came together; this morning
I had two envelopes of information from the same place. Everything that we
get seems to be for nurseries, can’t you send out things just applicable to
Childminders?

 Comments for Key Outcome 5 – To have plans for childminding as a choice
for parents, families, children and employers in each of the 5 Neighbourhood
                                     areas.

Actions.
1. As part of the Childcare Sufficiency Plan map Childminders places
according to the 5 areas.
2. Where an identified demand for childcare is not being met: -
Pre-school, Out of School, Flexible Hours and Holidays. Childminders will be
considered to fill the gap.
3. Where there are no Childminders, but a demand is identified targeted
Childminders recruitment to take place.

Comments – what do you think of the proposals?

A well set-up Childminder Network would give support to new and old
Childminders. The extra support to new Childminders would be especially
welcome.
As a group in my area we don’t get any support but I am trying to be the
support to the Childminders in my area. When you get feedback from parents
saying you are doing a good job it boosts moral and makes me believe that I
am doing it right.
There is definitely not the amount of children going around that there used to
be. People are opening up Out Of School Clubs and getting a lot of money to
start these up. These places can charge less than us and money is important
to parents who choose these places rather than Childminders. What will
happen when there are less and less Childminders?

Strengths
No comments

Weaknesses

Childminding promoted where there are gaps – the problems would be how
would these children get to the Childminders who may be based in a different
area. I am limited to how many children I can take from other areas as to how
many I can get in my car. I may not be able to pick-up or drop-off in lots of
areas especially if they are a distance apart from one another. I couldn’t use


                                      - 45
a central place either because this would need to be checked by Ofsted. We
couldn’t use the crèche mobile, as this is always over-stretched.
I had a good relationship with my nearest school Head and she put leaflets
about Childminders in the area in the book bags of the children. Now the new
Head is only interested in marketing her Out of School Club and does not put
leaflets out any more.

Any final comments on Childminding in Gateshead?

You need to make people aware of what Childminders do – all of it, the
responsibility, training and commitment that go into childminding. People
don’t realise that Childminders have to do additional training such as First Aid
and all the paperwork you have to do.
The number of parents wanting Childminders seems to be falling. We have
noticed a lot of grannies helping out by looking after young children for their
families.
Why are Childminders not able to be included in the Graduate fund that is to
replace the Transformation Fund? Childminders are just getting used to the
novelty of being paid for some courses they attend and this is to be taken
away from them.
Being able to access training and other support from our drop-in group
session would be a good idea as our nearest Children’s Centre is too far
away, so if people could come to us it would be much better.
The new EYFS will lead to more people who are not registered and this will be
a backward step.
Part of the problem is that as soon as the children are 3 we lose our children
because we aren’t accredited. We did get a letter some time ago asking if we
wanted to become accredited but we have not heard anything more.
Schools do not talk to Childminders. I have slowly built up a relationship with
the school where I pick up my children as my children went there and I am
just now getting some of the teachers to talk to me to pass messages onto
parents of the children I am picking up. It is all about the School Head.
Relationships can be built up but once the Head leaves, you have to try to
start again from scratch and some Heads are just not interested in having a
relationship with Childminders.
I am a great believer in outdoor play and think that this is a bonus for
Childminders who can get children outdoors on a more regular basis that
nurseries or Out of School Clubs can.
I don’t know what you want from Childminders, all this written work that
parents don’t want. Is this something extra that you think will get rid of
Childminders so you don’t have to deal with us?
We want someone to support us but all this training is too much.
The rise in petrol costs is leaving a lot of Childminders out of pocket. I have
had no increase in my wages and I am not asking for extra cash due to the
rise in petrol costs.
I am getting out of childminding as my children are growing up and I want my
house back. I am doing training for my NVQ Level 3 and will finish this in July
this year. I hope to do supply work at the beginning as I still have a little boy
some days during the week. I feel very strongly that I want to be there for him
until he doesn’t need me any more. I thought the training was difficult at first,


                                      - 46
trying to get my head around the terminology and handing in assignments for
the first time but I feel I am getting used to it now. Although the course is
good, you have to get your own settings for older children and this is proving
difficult. I would like to work with children with special needs once I am
qualified as it is something I have wanted to do for a long time. Perhaps I will
do another course when I am qualified that will give me more experience of
children with special needs.
I think legislation should be in place to put a minimum wage for Childminders
so Childminders that don’t have many children can make minimum wage.
Some of my parents are paying £7 an hour for their cleaner but do not want to
pay this for someone to look after their children.
It is difficult to think of myself as a business. What should Childminders do if
they are faced with buying a child an ice cream in the park? I would just pay
for it but some Childminders wouldn’t on principle while some have a box for
“added expenses” or for trips out that the parent can put money in. Would
Childminders not buy an ice cream if parents hadn’t contributed?
At one time there seemed to be a lot of back up. Now everything seems to
have gone quiet, there is no Network or support. We used to meet as a group
to discuss changes and give support but that is gone now and I feel more
isolated than ever. For new Childminders, I know someone that went to the
original briefing session and 30 attended but when it got around to the training
only 7 turned up.
I don’t know what we can do about the new EYFS. Not everyone can put
things into words.
We would really like to have our local park. Everyone has kept saying that it
was going to be done and on a Childminding course that we went along to we
were told it was going ahead. As yet, nothing has been developed and we
have to go 11 miles away to the nearest park in our area. We need someone
to tell us exactly what is going on in our area.
We heard about a scheme whereby if you had a full-time place you could get
extra funding while you had vacancies. We heard that we couldn’t get this
money because we were classed as an affluent area but could get the money
if we were classed as a deprived area. The only problem is that some areas
(quite well-off areas) are directly beside a deprived area and can get this
money because they are linked with a less affluent area. This is unfair.
We should have a central resources library. There used to be a scheme
where we could loan out double and triple buggies but this stopped. The loan
was as long as you needed it. They also had highchairs, socket covers and
stair gates. If this could be mobile too it would be a really good idea.
One of the best things we were given was a toy grant. We would also like to
be funded to attend such events as NCMA Conference. We have heard that
other Local Authorities give grants so their Childminders can attend things like
this but we aren’t and this is a postcode lottery. We should get grants so we
can purchase really expensive equipment such as buggies, toys and safety
equipment if we can’t have a loan scheme. Childminders who have been
Childminders for 10 years should be given funding to replenish their toys and
resources. I would love to replace my stock but I can’t afford to do it. We’ve
heard of some new Childminders who have packed it in just after they have
received the grant.



                                      - 47
There should also be a scheme where we can get art and craft materials at
cost price. If this could be mobile so we could see what was on offer it would
be a great idea.
I think Childminders do the most difficult job. We provide a home-from-home
environment and we build up the best relationships with children and parents,
but we are not recognised for the things we do.
I’m just working until my next inspection then I’m going to see how I’m judged
by Ofsted and this will tell me what I’m going to do for the future. I don’t think
all this written work for the new framework is the future and I don’t want to do
it, what’s more my parents don’t want me to do it. It is really upsetting to be
told that if I don’t do all this written work I could get my registration taken away
or marked down as unsatisfactory by Ofsted.




                                        - 48
Appendix 3

One Head of Centre commented that she had no further comments to make
on the Strategy.

Comments on Page 5

Where it says, “Few Childminders were engaged in any way with Children’s
Centres” should it also say that some Childminders do engage with Children’s
Centres via drop-ins, some attend local groups/activities and are registered on
the Children’s Centre database to receive information? Opportunities are also
available for training at some Children’s Centres and some Childminders have
representation on Steering and Reference groups.

Comments on Key Objective One

      The capacity of P.O.W is an issue.
      What is the difference between a drop-in and cluster meeting?
      In-depth training for the link Children’s Centre staff as mentioned. I feel
       an action plan needs to be developed around this, and also a robust
       support mechanism for staff to have access to guidance, advice on an
       as and when basis and also a regular group basis.
      Evaluation of the work done by the Children’s Centre link staff and
       ownership by the Childminders of the work that is developing.




                                       - 49

								
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