After spending my entire working life so far within early years settings, I decided last year that it was time to spend more time with my family and set up as a childminder – I have two young children, 8 and 2 years, and hope for more in the future!
I was unsure of how this process would work, or even where to begin, until I came across a fantastic Facebook page called First Steps To Childminding (FSTC). This page was a total game changer!
My research into childminding slowly began over summer 2019 in the hope to answer my many questions. Amongst my research I came across the page FSTC. This was like a lifeline, so many people going through the same process with so many similar questions and worries. After a lot of scrolling I finally began my own journey into the application process. By the end of October 2019, I had managed to complete my DBS (and my husband's), receive my health declaration form back from the doctor's surgery (after a lot of too-ing and fro-ing over the cost!), and eventually submitted my application.
The application to Ofsted itself seemed easy enough from what I had read on the FSTC page, however I still found it a little confusing at times and it took me a few days before I felt confident enough to press submit. I opted to go through Ofsted rather than an agency as I have always worked alongside Ofsted and it is what I know.
Once the application was submitted it was just a matter of waiting! I began to focus on policies and procedures, risk assessments, storage for resources, and ensuring my house was safe. I had a couple of hold ups, and panics, with the application as I was contacted by Ofsted regarding references, or a lack of! One of the referees I had written down had not known me long enough (over 12 months), but it didn’t state this on the application itself but simply for my most recent employer who I of course wrote down. After managing to source two other people, the references were finally back, and I was simply to await the call.
After what felt like I lifetime I finally received the call from a very lovely inspector, who gave me five days’ notice of her visit for the pre-registration. She told me everything she would need from me and roughly what to expect, which was really helpful and reassuring. All I needed to do was refresh my knowledge and have everything together on the day, and of course a last-minute ‘panic post’ to FSTC whose members, as always, responded with great advice and tips on how to pass the day.
The registration visit was actually really nice, the inspector was lovely and made me feel relaxed the minute I opened the door and all my nerves washed away.
The inspector explained exactly what we would do throughout the process, starting with a tour of the house (including garden space). Then we'd go over I.D, all previous jobs/experience and then a run through of safeguarding and each area of the EYFS. I had to give examples of what I know and how I would meet the areas for a 2.5 year old and babies. Safeguarding was across all areas, including prevent and FGM. Anything I stumbled on, she knew what I meant or guided me through it.
The whole process was a total of three months from submitting my application to receiving my certificate – which arrived under 24 hours from the visit!
This has been such a proud moment for me and my family and a huge achievement. Without the help and support from my friends, family and the FSTC group, I do not think I could have done it at all!