Back to news listing

Next article

Early Years Reform

IPPR study on impact of policy reforms on childminding

The IPPR study into childminders' responses to More Great Childcare has been published. PACEY funded the independent research earlier this year.

The study provides an independent assessment of childminders’ concerns around government proposals set out in More Great Childcare. Over 1000 PACEY childminder members took part, and its findings reinforce a number of the concerns PACEY has already been raising with government over the last year.

The overarching message from IPPR's research is a positive one: there is a strong desire to boost the quality and status of the profession, driven by the sector. However, this motivation cuts against some specific government proposals, which have been designed with the intention of making childminding more attractive by relaxing or reducing regulation. Childminders reject several elements of reform for fear of their damaging impact on the quality of provision and the perception of their profession.

The majority (57.7 per cent) think more regulation would have a positive impact on the sector. They also reject the suggestion of cutting regulation – 61.8 per cent thought this would have a negative impact. Three-quarters (73.2 per cent) of childminders want minimum requirements in place in order to be allowed to practise (like having or working towards a relevant early years qualification).

On the flipside, the large majority (74 per cent) were against the possibility of looking after more children (despite the fact they thought it would boost their earnings) because they felt it might compromise the quality or safety of their care. While 76 per cent believed relaxing ratios would increase their monthly earnings, 93.2 would not reduce the amount they charged to parents per child.

Liz Bayram, PACEY's Joint Chief Executive, said: “Alongside proposals for ratio change, thankfully now withdrawn, childminder agencies again were raised as posing serious risks to both quality of care and the sustainability of the childminding profession. The IPPR research shows that childminders remain unsupportive of this measure, with the vast majority of respondents believing it would increase, not lower childcare costs for parents.”

The study also highlights that childminders are keen to have increased entry requirements placed on their profession as well as other measures to help further drive up quality. The majority stated they felt minimum requirements should be in place to practice as a registered childminder (like passing the introductory course or achieving a relevant Level 3 qualification within two years of registration).

The majority felt that proposals to cut regulation would have a negative impact, with only seven per cent of respondents supporting the idea of moving away from individual Ofsted registration and inspection (proposed in childminder agencies).

Liz Bayram commented: “We support the IPPR’s policy proposals for childminding and would echo their concern that many of Government’s current plans contradict what childminders want for their profession. This will undermine rather than support childminding, the very form of affordable and flexible quality childcare Government is most keen to provide for children and families.

PACEY hopes this study encourages government to end its plan to introduce childminder agencies and to set out how its proposed entry requirements for nursery workers will be inclusive of childminders too. This, combined with building on other positive initiatives, like its start-up grants for childcare business, would end the uncertainty facing so many childminding businesses at the moment. If not, PACEY remains extremely concerned that the profession’s quality and sustainability will be undermined.”

The IPPR report – Early Years Reform - childminders’ responses to government proposals – was published by the IPPR on Monday 8 July. PACEY would like to thank all its members who took time to take part.