Council Encouraging More Registered Childminders

The Council wants to encourage more people to take up childminding.

There are only three registered childminders in Scilly and Town Hall staff say there is demand for more.

Since 2007, the Council has worked with the National Childminders Association and today, their South West Manager, Liz Elmore, is on the second day of a two-day visit, meeting the existing childminders and talking to islanders who want to set up a similar businesses.

The NCMA provides support for 36,000 childminders across the country including advice on training and business planning.

Anyone setting up a service could take between 3 and 6 months to register and get child safeguarding measures and risk assessments in place. They’ll also have to follow a set curriculum and meet Ofsted requirements.

But Liz says her organisation and the Council’s Early Years Team want to help.

The role requires more than just look after the youngsters.

This could include dealing with behavioural issues or anxiety and even supporting the child’s parents through difficult periods.

Liz says her association can assist child minders who want advice or a sounding board, something that can present a challenge when you are working alone on the islands.

She said childminders have a duty of confidentiality and having independent support away from the islands could be invaluable.

Liz says that once her team has met islanders in person, help and support can be offered using technology that gets around our isolation. Training is web-based, using a computer and webcam with ongoing support via email.

Potential childminders will need to understand the legislation involved and the educational requirements of the early years sector. It’s no longer enough just to be good with children.

Liz says the number of children you can look after is also regulated. The maximum number is six children under eight, and that reduces for children of younger ages or if the child has special needs.

If you want more information on support and training, call Helen McGuinness at the Early Years and Youth Office at Carn Thomas on 423 680.