Statement of Purpose

St Bede Childcare have been delivering childcare in nursery’s and out of school clubs since 2003 and feel that through an effective childminder agency we can extend this through parental choice. As an agency, we have a clear understanding of what is “outstanding” practice and feel that through our qualified agency managers we can cascade this information through to both new and old childminders.

Aims and Objectives of the Childminder Agency:

  • To provide quality, regulated childminding places for children and families around Bolton and Wigan areas through the rigorous and effective training of potential childminders. St Bede Childminder Agency has over 10 years’ experience within the childcare sector and provides “Outstanding and Good” childcare to families within the Leigh, Bolton and Wigan areas. All Agency Managers are trained to a high level and offer quality advice and support to all childminders on a regular basis.
  • Parents looking for childminders in the Bolton, Wigan and Leigh areas can be confident that their childcare choice is of a high standard and will be monitored thoroughly through internal audits and visits on a regular basis both announced and unannounced. This will enable them to access quality care at an affordable rate.
  • Childminders who register with the agency will be able to choose a basic package suitable for existing childminders, to further training and development opportunities at an additional cost. These will be available to all childminders to choose what support they feel they need and how to take their business further with our support and resources. Childminders can remain rest assured that through their support visits from our agency managers they can increase their knowledge and further their career prospects.
  • To ensure that children are offered a safe, secure, environment that supports children in developing skills and to make progress in their learning and development. We will ensure that all prospective childminders homes are inspected prior to registration to ensure the environment is safe. (See home visit audit and refer to 1.1)
  • To ensure that parents of children attending childminding sessions are given information about; the provision on offer to their children, how their children are progressing in their learning and if they need any additional support, information on how well the childminder is judged within their inspections and what they will need to do to improve, how often the agency will monitor and assess the provision. (See 1.2 to 1.3)
  • To treat all employees, childminders, children and any other people equally and will not discriminate against any person regardless of their ethnic origin, gender, special need, sexual orientation, special need/disability, culture or social background. (See 1.4)
  • To ensure that children are completely safeguarded and protected from serious harm or abuse in childminders care, this will be done through robust recruitment and selection procedures carried out by the agency, regular training of safeguarding children training that is mandatory for all childminders. Childminders will be required to have a clear DBS certificate and to fill in regular suitability questionnaires to declare that they remain suitable during their registration with the agency. Childminders will have to ensure that all other people working or living in the premises that they are delivering childcare will also have to have a clear CRB/DBS and suitability questionnaire. The childminder will be required to take the lead responsibility in safeguarding children and will follow the procedures in contacting external agencies to share information and take advice. (See 1.5) Any safeguarding concern that is raised by a member of the public of a member of the household which concerns any adult living in the property will be immediately raised with the named individual to which it will be discussed that this could potentially impact on the registration of the person applying to the agency to become a childminder. Following a decision, the childminder will either be registered with the agency and procedures will be put into place to protect the children or a pre-registration exit interview will be conducted by the agency managers. To ensure that children are given plenty of opportunities to learn and develop whilst in the care of the childminders employed by St Bede Childminder Agency (See 1.6 to 1.7)

The registration process (See registration timeline):

In registering childminder’s the agency will ensure that application forms are completed including a declaration about whether the person has had any cautions, convictions or cases pending, or whether they have been involved in social services or are unable to work with children. The application form will include details on their previous employment history, we will also take copies of original photograph identification. We will interview all people applying to childmind within our agency to ensure that they have suitable experience and knowledge of childcare, then references will be obtained to check that they have good integrity and character. The childminders will then be required to enrol on our training course that enables them to have a full comprehensive understanding of childminding and the EYFS. They will have a  robust premises check of the premises they will be delivering childcare and if there are any modifications are needed the childminder will be given targets and timescales for them to be completed as part of the registration process. Childminders will be required to complete a registration visit that will include providing satisfactory answers to suitable person’s interview and provide proof that they have adequate insurance cover. Once these procedures have been satisfactorily completed the childminder will be issued with a certificate of registration to display within the premises that they are delivering childcare.

We will:

  • Offer full training and support to childminders, professional advice and quality assurance monitoring visits. This will be done through initial monthly monitoring visits carried out by Agency Managers giving both written and verbal feedback following their visit. (See 1.6 to 1.7)
  • Offer membership to childminders compromising of a basic package. Childminders can add extras to this package but this will be at an extra cost. (See finance package details) These packages will receive the same level of support from agency managers regardless of the levels of experience, qualification or time as a previously registered childminder. They will receive equal quality and audit visits along with free services from the agency.
  • During registration, agency managers will request information from the potential recruits which childcare register they wish to apply for. Any childminder who wishes to apply to look after children on the early years register will need to complete an assessment audit surrounding their knowledge and understanding of the EYFS. Any childminder who is recruited to join the agency will need to undertake EYFS training through the agencies training package and where further knowledge is needed, local authority training will be encouraged.
  • Before any childminder can take children into their home as part of St Bede Childminder agency, they will need to complete our 3 day bespoke training package which will be delivered by our agency managers. This training will cover all areas of the role required to become a childminder along with further guidance and advice regarding running a business from home. An example of the training modules covered will be EYFS, behaviour management, working with parents, managing your finances, marketing and communication and working with the local authority.
  • Oversee the smooth running of the services that childminders offer to the children through consistent and effective management systems. Agency Managers will moderate each other’s grading using the audit tool and Ofsted evaluation schedule to ensure consistency of quality throughout the agency.
  • Ensure that relevant and legal regulations are complied with for each childminder and will take responsibility for this, including Ofsted registration. Agency Managers will closely monitor the safety of the children using the Statutory Guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2014) and The Childcare (Childminder Agencies) Regulations (2014) These documents will be referred to throughout the quality visits.
  • Where possible, find alternative provision for children in the event of sickness or other absences, within one of our nurseries, holiday clubs or childminders. Although we will try our upmost to ensure the children are placed in a setting close to the child’s home address, this may not always be possible due to high capacities of children in some of our venues.
  • Advertise, recruit, interview, induct and obtain references and DBS disclosures for all childminders. DBS disclosures will be completed prior to registration to establish a clear picture of each childminder’s background. Further training and inductions will be completed after this crucial stage. A family visit will also be arranged to discuss the arrangements to become a childminder and how this will impact upon the family. This will allow for discussions surrounding the suitability of all family members and their DBS checks.  (See 1.8 to 1.9)
  • Where possible, offer children a range of flexible sessions and hours to suit the parents/carers best possible needs. This will include early/late drop off and collections depending on the childminder.
  • Ensure that the childminders are offering a wide range of stimulating and educational resources to support the children’s learning stage. If the agency feel this is not being done, actions will be noted for the following visit and checks will be carried out through the audit tool to highlight the importance using our traffic light system.
  • Ensure that all parents who contact the agency looking for a potential childminder are signposted to the correct point of information for all available childminders in their local area.
  • Following the agency Complaints Policy (See 2.1) the agency will respond to all complaints raised within 28 working days of the date of the complaint

Agency arrangements for ensuring quality practice:

Each childminder is regularly quality assured and should their performance fall below an acceptable standard, they will be given notification to improve and a time scale to do so. The childminders will be fully supported through this time by the Agency Managers should they need it. An evaluation report will be written following a monitoring visit and will be published on the childminders web page to be shared with both current and prospective parents. Using our traffic light system audit tool, this will allow agency managers to have all information they need regarding their childminder and from this will write an action plan with points to consider for the future. (See 2.0) Using the audit and assessment tool, agency managers will be giving the childminder a score between 1 and 10 in areas such as safeguarding, policies and procedures, EYFS and ratios. Any low rating will give an amber or red rating which will highlight areas of improvements for their next visit.  

All childminders will need to complete a minimum of 4 support visits per year in the first year (2 unnanounced), leading to 2 visits after the first year (1 unannounced), CPD hours  will be 20 hours for the Early Years Register and 10 hours for the Later Years Register. These hours will be documented by the childminders agency manager, who will advise where they feel further development is needed through their audit visits and recommendations. Childminders can access agency support, peer support and training to secure these hours.

Agency managers will use the EYFS tracking document and their audit tools to judge how a childminder has improved outcomes for children since their last visit. Using the percentage given and the colour rating we will be able to clearly see if a childminder has made progress since their last visit. Children on the early years register will be tracked using the EYFS and their progress will be monitored by the agency also should there be any cause for concern.

Once childminders are registered with the agency, they will be required to attend regular training to build their continuous professional development on an ongoing basis. On registering the childminder we will follow a number of procedures to make sure that they are trained to a satisfactory level to ensure the children’s safety and well-being at all times. For example, childminders will have to embark on a Safeguarding children course, paediatric first aid course and a Basic Food Hygiene course.

Any childminder who fails to meet the standards of the agency will be given a clear action plan with areas of improvements and a time scale in which it needs to be completed by. This will prompt an additional home visit by the agency manager who will return to the home of the childminder and assess whether improvements have been made. Failure to meet timescales and improvements will result in a childminder being deregistered from the agency. Following our enforcement timeline (appendix 1) we will ensure that appropriate action is taken at an appropriate time and if the agency feel that the childminder has breached requirements or objectives of the agency, they will assess the level of enforcement required and the outcome of this will be at the discretion of the management team. If at any point the agency managers become concerned about the practice of a childminder or the welfare of the children it will be at the discretion of the agency to act in a way which is needed. We will not tolerate poor levels of practice or care within the agency.

We have robust procedures in place for monitoring and evaluating the quality of care, as an agency we promise to;

  • Cancel or suspend the childminders registration with the agency if the senior management team feel that the childminder is not complying with our aims and objectives.
  • Take overall responsibility for the protection of the children and staff within it.
  • Ensure that parents and carers are provided with information about the availability and services that the agency can offer and are responsible for. Parents will also have the opportunity to view their childminders agency rating on our website giving them feedback on our quality assurance visits.
  • Offer a full and comprehensive complaints policy that is made available to view for parents, visitors, staff and anyone else involved with the agency.
  • Ensure that childminders are given training and support along with opportunities to develop and enhance their continuous professional development.

How the service sets out to meet health and care needs:

  • The agency will ensure that all necessary insurances are obtained, such as public liability insurance for all its staff.
  • Undertake Health and Safety checks and risk assessments; each childminder will adhere to these health and safety requirements to ensure safety at all times. Enforcements will be put into place if repeated health and safety breaches are documented.
  • Ensure that childminders offer their children healthy, nutritious meals, taking into consideration the child’s age and stage of development. During the childminders Food Hygiene training nutritional values, salt content and healthy options will be discussed and noted.
  • Ensure that childminders have access to pushchairs, reins and safety equipment for taking the children out of the home. This equipment will be checked and documented during the audit visits whilst ensure they are of good quality and hold a relevant quality kite mark.
  • Ensure that the childminders establish close working relationships with parents and carers in order for the children to have a seamless approach to the care. This will be encouraged through the agency managers giving the childminders effective strategies to engage their parents in the running of their childminding business.
  • Train our childminders in how to support children with SEN and inform them which agencies need to be involved with the child whilst supporting them in the home when working with a child with specific needs.
  • Our childminders will be trained by the local authority and in house the procedures they will follow should they be concerned a child is being abused.
  • Ensure that all documents for the childminders car have been photocopied and kept on file, for example, insurance certificate stating business use cover and also a declaration have been signed to state that no driving disqualifications or convictions are on their licence.

Where the services will be provided from;

  • The agency head office is located at St Bede Childcare, St Bede Primary Academy, Morris Green Lane, Bolton, BL3 3LJ. All senior management are based within the school.
  • Each individual childminder will be based on their own domestic premises within the Bolton and Wigan local authority.

Details about the agency, including its legal status, any Managers and their addresses;

  • St Bede Childminder Agency is a registered charity.
  • The agency Senior Management Team consists of: Jack Hatch (Agency Director) June Roberts (Registered Person, Safeguarding Officer and Agency Director) Kimberley Dearden and Debbie Hardman (Agency Managers)

Description of procedures for safe recruiting, training and registering childminders:

  • The agency will be responsible for the childminders being fully vetted. We will ensure that all childminders have a clear DBS disclosure, two satisfactory references and some previous experience of working with children.
  • The agency will be responsible for all registration documentation for the childminders, including application process, interview procedures, contracts of employment, appraisals, and performance management systems.
  • The agency will not use any childminders who have not previously attended the relevant training courses provided by St Bede Childminder Agency unless they are a previously registered childminder and only require minimal support.
  • During their registration childminders will be required to invite Agency Managers to see a childminding session and this will be to monitor and assess the quality of childcare being offered. Agency managers will base their judgements on this from the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework and will use an audit tool to document information on what they have seen to raise actions from. The agency manager will liaise with the childminder as to what improvements need to be made and by when and they will be given an action plan document to work through.
  • Any concern raised to the agency will be dealt with in line with our safeguarding policy and will be referred to the Local Authority Designated Officer. (LADO)
  • The agency will check the background and suitability of all childminders registering with the agency through contacting the local authority Co-ordinator for childminders, Social Care and the LADO for their locality and for any other localities they have lived in the last five years.
  • We will also contact Ofsted. This will be a process during the application of a childminder prior to being registered with the agency.
  • A childminder/member of staff or family member who lives in the household maybe disqualified from registration in accordance with regulations made under section 75 of the Childcare Act 2006 and the Early Years Foundation Stage (2014) In the event of a disqualification of a registered provider, the provider must not continue as an early years provider – nor be directly concerned in the management of such provision. A registered provider or childcare worker may also be disqualified because they live in the same household as another person who is disqualified, or they live in the same household where a disqualified person is employed.

The childminder must notify the agency of any significant event which is likely to affect the suitability of any person who is in regular contact with children on the premises where childcare is provided. The disqualification of an employee could be an instance of a significant event. If a person becomes disqualified then they may, in some circumstances, be able to obtain a “waiver” from Ofsted.

Upon receiving information of a disqualification the agency will notify Ofsted within 14 days of the information about the childcare worker or the member of the household with the disqualification. The registration will be suspended until the waiver is granted by Ofsted and a return to work interview will be conducted once the waiver has been granted. The agency must also inform LADO of the disqualification.

Childminder Agency Organisation Structure