Devon County Council takes steps to increase the number of childminders across the county

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Posted on: 23 January 2020

Devon County Council is encouraging more people to become childminders, following a Council report that identified a decrease in numbers across the county.

The Annual Childcare Sufficiency Report 2018-2019 identified a decrease of 9.5% in 2019.

Childminders offer a vital, flexible service, especially in rural areas and places where a provider such as a nursery, preschool, after school club or holiday play scheme may not be viable due to the low numbers of children living in the area.

New measures, introduced by the Council, are making training courses for prospective childminders more accessible, flexible and cheaper. A large proportion of potential childminders are in work and looking to change careers or about to return to work after starting a family.

In the last year the Council has developed a new range of online courses including a blended training package for Paediatric First Aid and an e-learning package for Preparing to be a Childminder.

These courses provide easily accessible learning and development opportunities and flexibility to enable prospective childminders to fit the training around their current time commitments.

The training is split into four parts including a free, one-hour information session, a two-day or e-learning Preparing to be a Childminder Course covering the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Ofsted requirements, a fully funded Safeguarding Awareness Course and a 12-hour paediatric first aid course.

The Preparing to be a Childminder course cost has been reduced from £130 to £50 and the Paediatric First Aid course costs an additional £65. Whilst a paediatric first aid course is compulsory it is not necessary to complete the specific first aid provided by the Devon Early Years and Childcare Team.

Candidates will be supported by the Early Years team throughout the training process and that help will continue after they have been registered with Ofsted through our team of Early Years and Childcare Advisers. There will also be continued professional development opportunities.

Cllr James McInnes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools said:

“Childminding is a rewarding and fulfilling career, providing young children with a safe and stimulating environment.

“We continue to work hard to help provide a high quality and practical level of childcare support for families and to support the registration and training of new childminders.

“We have many high quality, proactive childminders working in Devon, both on their own and with other childminders. We are proud that 97.9% of our Childminders are rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted (compared with the national average of 94.9%).

“However, it is important that we are always developing the support that we provide childminders and it is good to see new strategies being developed and put into place to make our training more accessible and flexible.

“We hope that the flexible training and the e-learning courses will encourage more people to become childminders.”

Tania, a childminder from East Devon, said:

“I would recommend childminding as an extremely rewarding career choice. I can be flexible with my working hours to the benefit of my own family and the families of the children I care for. It was one of the only jobs where I could care for my own child whilst still earning. I feel very lucky to be able to watch children grow and learn through the opportunities I give them to play, explore, be curious and have fun, whilst ensuring they feel safe, secure and loved.

“There is fantastic support available from Devon County Council’s Early Years Team and other online sources.”

For more information about becoming a childminder you can contact the Devon Early Years and Childcare Team

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