Working in partnership
Working in partnership with schools and other childcare providers can be a great way to expand your childcare offering and share expertise. It also helps parents to find flexibility and consistency in their childcare arrangements.
Wraparound care/after-school clubs
'Wraparound' care is childcare before and/or after school hours. If you offer wraparound care, you'll need to ensure that you can make drop-off and pickup times at your local school.
If you're a childminder caring for children who attend different schools, you might decide to team up with another registered childminder in your local area. This way, you can each take responsibility for drop-offs and pickups at one school. You'll need permission from the families you work with first to make sure they're happy with this arrangement.
If you run a pre-school, you may offer wraparound care as a 'breakfast club' and 'after-school club'. After-school clubs usually offer a light tea, drinks and activities for the children, and stay open until 6pm.
Registered childminders and childcare on domestic premises usually agree individual pickup times with parents. You can choose to offer after-school children a hot dinner, light tea or just a snack - depending on your agreement with parents.
Wraparound care is a fantastic way for children of different ages to socialise together and forge friendships and, of course, it's a great opportunity for childcare providers to work with each other, and in partnership with local schools.
PACEY members can find out more in our practice guide on Wraparound care, which includes information on meeting Ofsted and CIW requirements, balancing children's needs, and working in partnership with parents.
Childcare on domestic and non-domestic premises
Regulations in England mean that childminders and those offering childcare on domestic premises may provide care on non-domestic premises for up to 50 per cent of the time.
For example, you could childmind in your home for morning sessions, then offer care in a church or school hall in the afternoon. Working in partnership with your local school or church can offer flexibility for your business and help strengthen children's sense of community.
It's up to you how you split the time, so you could also base yourselves on larger premises for the school holidays, and childmind in your home during term time.
Ratio requirements stay the same, but it is possible to run larger groups by working in partnership with other registered childcare providers, in groups of two or three.
Find out more about 50/50 delivery and how to apply.
Childcare on Domestic Premises in England
If you’re a childminder with increased demand in England, you may want to consider registering as childcare on domestic premises. In many ways, it is not very different from working as a childminder, but the key factors to consider are:
- You can have four or more staff members working together, and can therefore care for more children, but you may need to seek planning permission from your Local Authority.
- You will be reinspected by Ofsted, who will consider whether you have sufficient space to accommodate more children and whether you are set up to expand your business in this way.
- Half of your total staff members will need a minimum of a Level 2 qualification.
- You will need to provide a space away from children where your staff can take breaks.
Another way to expand your business within your home setting is to employ an assistant.
Read more about childcare on domestic premises
Group setting and childminder partnership
It's common for families to split funded childcare hours between a childminding setting and nursery or pre-school. This is often referred to as 'blended early education and childcare'. It's important to offer consistency between different childcare settings, in the same way that it's important to establish consistency and communication between a child's home and their childcare setting/s. Nursery and childminder partnerships can often work well as you can share expertise and provide flexibility for working families.
Find out more about blended early education and partnership working.
Read about how one childminder works in partnership with her local nursery.