Register with the appropriate regulatory body
In order to work legally as a registered childcarer in the UK, you will need to register with the appropriate regulatory body. In England, this will be Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills). Ofsted is responsible for regulating and inspecting early years providers, including childminders and nurseries.
To register with Ofsted, you will need to complete an application form and undergo a registration inspection. During the inspection, an Ofsted inspector will visit your home or workplace to ensure that it meets the required standards for safety and quality of care. They will also check your qualifications and experience to ensure that you are suitable to work with children.
In Scotland, there is a different system. To be a registered nanny you would need to register with a childcare agency such as Tinies, which in turn is regulated and inspected by the Care Inspectorate. All nurseries, childminders and formal childcare settings must register directly with the Care Inspectorate.
Get your DBS/PVG check
As a childcarer, you will be working with vulnerable individuals, so it is important that you undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check in England or Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) check in Scotland. These are background checks which will highlight any criminal convictions which may prevent you from working with vulnerable people. It is a legal requirement for anyone who works with children in a formal setting to complete this check.
To get a DBS check, you will need to apply through an organisation that is registered with the DBS. This could be your employer or an agency that you are registered with. The DBS check can take several weeks to complete, so it is a good idea to start the process as soon as possible. A DBS is not accepted in Scotland.
If you qualified in Scotland, then you would have been asked to complete a PVG in order to complete your training. Your PVG number will stay the same, but you will be required by your new employers to apply for an update. If you have recently moved to Scotland, you must apply to join the PVG scheme. Your employers can advise you on this process.
Consider your childcare options
Setting standards for their practice, conduct, training and education and supporting their professional development. Where people fall below the standards of practice and conduct, we can investigate and act. Here's a closer look at each option:
Childminding involves looking after children in your own home. It's a popular choice for many childcarers due to its flexibility and the ability to create a nurturing home environment. As a childminder, you have the opportunity to build strong relationships with the children and their families. You can set your own hours and rates, and you have more control over the care and activities provided. However, keep in mind that childminding requires creating a child-friendly space in your home and meeting safety regulations, as well as handling administrative tasks associated with running your own business. You will also be regularly inspected by the appropriate regulatory body for your location.
Nannying involves working in the family's home to provide childcare. This option allows for more personalised care as you work with a smaller number of children or even individual families. As a nanny, you become an integral part of the family's routine and provide one-on-one attention. Nannying can offer a sense of stability and consistency for both the children and their parents. However, it's important to establish clear boundaries and expectations with the family to maintain a professional relationship. Job expectations should be discussed between both parties prior to employment and we recommend that you ensure that agreed terms and conditions are laid out in a contract. Additionally, since you work in someone else's home, you may have less control over the environment and resources available.
Working in a nursery or early years setting involves being part of a team and caring for multiple children in a group setting. This option allows for collaboration with other childcare professionals, providing opportunities for learning and sharing best practices. Working in a nursery can be dynamic and engaging, with a structured routine and access to a range of resources and activities for the children. However, be prepared for working specific hours, adhering to the nursery's policies and procedures, and accommodating the needs and preferences of different families.
In Scotland, you are required to register with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) within 6 months of the start of your employment in a nursery or after-school care setting. The SSSC is another regulatory body which sets the standards required by early years practitioners for practice, conduct, training, education and CPD. Where people fall below the standards of practice and conduct, they can investigate and act.
Build your skills and knowledge
As a childcarer, it is important to continuously develop your skills and knowledge in order to provide the best possible care for the children that you work with. There are several ways that you can do this, including:
- Training courses: There are a range of training courses available for childcarers, covering topics such as child development, first aid, and safeguarding. You can search for courses in your area on the gov.co.uk website.
- Online resources: There is also a range of online resources available for childcarers, including forums, blogs, and webinars. These can be a great way to connect with other childcarers and learn from their experiences.
- Professional networks: Joining a professional network, such as the National Childminding Association (NCMA)/Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) or the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), can also be a good way to stay up to date with the latest developments in the field and connect with other professionals.
In conclusion, starting out as a childcarer may feel overwhelming at times, but with the right preparation and dedication, you can embark on a rewarding and fulfilling journey. Embrace the joy of nurturing and supporting the growth and development of the children in your care. Best of luck as you begin your journey as a qualified childcarer!
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Martine Nadler & Carole Agnimel - The Tinies team