In the last few months, the Practice Advice service has had an increase in the number of enquiries regarding registering as Childcare on Domestic premises.
I’ve been wondering why there has been a sudden interest in changing from childminder to childcare on domestic premises. It’s possibly because there’s been an increase in demand for childcare places due to other childcare practices closing. Some childminders have told me that they now have long waiting lists, and their local authority early years officer has suggested childcare on domestic premises could be a solution.
You may be considering expanding your childminding business in this way, so it might be helpful to see what it entails.
What do I need to know?
Before even considering the rules and regulations, have you got a large enough home?
According to the government guidance childcare on domestic premises is where “you can have 4 or more childminders or any mix of childminders and childminding assistants.”
Usually, you would have three under 5’s per adult (childminder or assistant), so as a starting point you need to consider if you have space for 4 adults and 12 children. This isn’t considering the additional 5–8-year-olds you may have after school and in the school holidays.
While considering this business expansion, you also need to adhere to the indoor floor space ratios specified in EYFS 3.58.
Do I need planning permission?
You will need to check with your local authority because rules and regulations vary across the country. If you do need planning permission, it’s worth bearing in mind that there will be a fee.
Which ratios in EYFS do I follow?
Childcare on domestic premises is home-based so you need to follow the ratios as set out in EYFS 3.42 and 3.43. However, you will also become a group setting so you will also need to follow EYFS 3.28.
“In settings on the early years register, the manager must hold an approved level 3 qualification or above and at least half of all other staff must hold at least an approved level 2 qualification. The manager should have at least two years’ experience of working in an early years setting, or have at least two years’ other suitable experience. The provider must ensure there is a named deputy who, in their judgement, is capable and qualified to take charge in the manager’s absence.”
This means you need to ensure that you (the manager) and your staff have the required qualifications.
You can check to see if you and your staff (or prospective staff) have the right level two or three qualifications by looking at the government guidance. Within this document is a link to a spreadsheet which lists all the valid qualifications.
An often-asked question is about the number of assistants/staff who need a level 2 qualification. If you are working with three assistants, then two of them must have a level 2 qualification (you can’t have one and a half assistants!)
You also need to ensure that all your staff have a valid 12 hour paediatric first aid certificate. It’s likely that you will already ensure this is the case in a childminding setting, so that you can leave children with an assistant for up to two hours.
In group settings, all staff must have a first aid paediatric certificate within 3 months of starting work to be counted in ratios. See EYFS 3.25 for more information but I think it is good practice for all staff to have 12-hour paediatric first aid certificates from the day they start work in your setting.
Ratios may seem to be confusing especially because childcare on domestic premises rules are a mixture of group setting rules and home-based childcare rules. Hopefully, these explanations clarify what needs to be put in place.
How do I register with Ofsted?
Before you register with Ofsted you will need a Government Gateway account, but a new account can be created when you apply for registration. You will need to use the link on this page Childminders and childcare providers: register with Ofsted - Childminders and childcare on domestic premises: registration - Guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
As it is Ofsted’s responsibility to check the suitability of those working in childcare on domestic premises, you will need to ensure that all your staff have DBS checks through the Ofsted. This is different to group settings on non-domestic premises, so you need to be aware of the differences.
How much does it cost?
To join both the early years register and the childcare register it’s £220 and the annual fee is also £220. This is something to take into consideration since the childminder annual fee for the early years and the childcare register is £35.
Can I still be a PACEY member?
Most definitely, but you would need to change from a Practitioner membership to a Manager membership. The Manager memberships offer a variety of packages to suit your setting’s needs. One of the benefits of manager membership is that a number of your employees will also have access to the member only resources.
Join as Manager or Manager Plus member
Can I keep my current PACEY public liability insurance?
Unfortunately, not, but a call to PACEY’s customer services is all it takes to help you find the right insurance for you and your childcare on domestic premises setting.
More for members
Call Membership serivces on 0300 003 0005 10am and 3.30pm Monday to Friday for further information about changing your membership and fidning the right insurance for your setting.