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“It was really important to treat my daughter like a potential employee,” says Pam.“She was interviewed, we discussed the hours that she would be required to work and outlined her responsibilities.” Holding regular supervision sessions will give you a chance to review performance and discuss any sensitive issues, particularly concerning a child’s development or child protection concerns.
It’s a question often asked in job interviews, but if you are a self-employed childminder, it’s a good enquiry to ask yourself as part of a regular business review.
Here are three routes for you to consider if you are thinking about growing your business.
“Demand has always been high for our services, and when a house came up for rent across the road, we snapped it up as it allowed us to accommodate more children,” she says.
“My vision was to provide the flexible service that parents so desperately need.
If you feel this route is for you, do bear in mind that if at any point you are operating with fewer than four people at any time, you will also need to register as a childminder and apply for a separate registration with Ofsted.
Another thing to think about is ensuring your insurance is adequate to cover you and your staff, including volunteers or students.Putting in place a programme of training and development is also important – both to help your assistant progress but also to enhance your business.As Pam says, “It is one of the best things I have done and would recommend it to anyone considering it.” One option to help you grow your business and increase the number of places you can offer is to convert to childcare on domestic premises.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.For Sam Dunn, opening up a preschool alongside her childminding business provided an additional business opportunity.PACEY believes this could be contributing to the decline in the number of new childminders in recent years.One childminder in Gloucestershire was recently told she must stop working due to a restrictive covenant on the deeds of the house she purchased five years ago and in which she has been childminding ever since.It can help to make childminding a less isolating experience, and children can benefit from interaction with another adult.For childminder Pam Holland, employing her daughter – initially as her apprentice, then as her assistant – proved an ideal way for her to expand her business. “It gave me the flexibility to offer more spaces and to be more accommodating with school drop-offs and pick-ups.‘Although the council is only responsible for delivering training for childminders, we do advise people to check if any planning or licensing restrictions are in place before applying to become a childminder.’ Another childminder in Cambridgeshire who moved to a new housing development has also been affected.PACEY’s service manager in Cambridgeshire, Caroline Maryon, said, ‘We came across the problem in Cambridgeshire when a childminder was moving into a newbuild in the county, having been a childminder for a few years elsewhere.