Advice and suggestions to help you start up your own childcare business
Providing high quality childcare can be enormously rewarding and give children a great start in life. Opening a new provision requires commitment and research.
There is a lot to consider including knowing about your community, the competition in your area and sustainability.
We have included some advice and suggestions which should be useful as a starting point, however all new provisions are different and will have individual considerations.
If you are interested in becoming a childminder in Somerset there are a number of stages you should go through. First, contact Somerset Family Information Direct (SFID) by using the button below to register an interest and to request an information pack.
Register an interest now
There are some other training costs associated with registering as a childminder, your initial information pack will explain these and for further information you can attend a drop in session.
You will then need to read the Ofsted pre-registration briefing session where you will be advised about the registration process and requirements. There is also a drop in session available with one of our early years and schools improvement officers, which allows you to ask questions and find out more.
The early years and schools improvement officer will support you through the entire process.
Prospective childminders must have completed training, which helps you to understand and implement the early years foundation stage (EYFS) before you can apply to register with Ofsted or a childminder agency.
You will need to apply for a disclosure and barring service (DBS) check and sign up to the portable update service for yourself and anyone else in your home aged 16 or over.
You will be signposted to the relevant Ofsted forms, which must be filled in once you have completed all the relevant training.
Once Ofsted have received your completed application form, they will contact you within 12 weeks about your registration visit and a fee must be paid. You must have public liability insurance to operate as a childminder. Your early years and schools improvement officer will advise you how to arrange this.
As soon as your Ofsted registration certificate and public liability insurance certificate are in place you can start childminding.
Ofsted will give us the details of your service. You will be able to update information as changes in your service are implemented.
Once registered, Ofsted will first inspect you within 30 months. After that they will carry out inspections approximately every 3 to 5 years, depending on your inspection outcome, or sooner if a complaint is made about your service. The early years and schools improvement officer will support you until you have received your first full inspection. When you are registered you automatically become part of the Somerset Childminding Association – the early years and schools improvement officer will explain the purpose of this network.
You must remember to keep Ofsted informed of your changes, for example name, address and the service you offer.
Ofsted charge an annual fee to keep your registration active.
PACEY now offer a free business toolkit for all childminders
Often the hardest part of starting a new childcare business is finding suitable premises. You should have an idea about what age ranges you wish to care for, and how many children. Children under two years must have 3.5 square metres of floor space available per child, falling to 2.5 square metres for two-year olds and 2.3 square metres for three and four year olds. Providers must also ensure that as far as reasonably practical, the facilities, equipment and access are suitable for children with disabilities.
Remember, it is likely that planning permission will be required, so consider whether there is enough parking, suitable drop-off points and whether neighbours are likely to object.
You should also consider where you expect parents to come from, what clientele you and whether there are other childcare groups in the area (see Childcare Sufficiency Assessments below).
Cost of premises
A childcare sufficiency assessment provides an overview of the local childcare market, comparing the supply of childcare in an area to the demand for childcare. Demand for childcare is based on the number of children in the area and the average national usage. By comparing supply with demand, we can see whether there is a requirement for more childcare in an area.
If you would like a childcare sufficiency assessment of a target area, please contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01823 355828.
Early Years Officers can provide practical advice and support on everything from suitable premises to operational delivery. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
Staff are usually the single largest cost for any nursery. Statutory staffing ratios must be considered. You must also meet the ratios of qualified staff (see the EYFS Framework) and consider whether you will have an Early Years Teacher or Early Years Professional on the staff team.
The overall timescale will vary depending on individual circumstances, such as locating premises, whether planning permission is required and recruiting staff. Ofsted registration can take up to six months and Ofsted will only do a registration visit when the setting is ready to open for business, so planning ahead is crucial.
Whilst every effort has been made to provide up to date and correct advice, we make no representations or warranties of any kind. Any reliance placed on this information is strictly at your own risk.
Somerset Childminding Association
PACEY: Registering as a childminder
Register as a childminder or childcare provider – GOV.UK information
Somerset Centre for Integrated Learning (SCIL)
Ofsted – Pre-registration briefing
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