Guide to working with assistant childminders
When considering working with or employing assistants to care for children within your business, we suggest developing an appropriate childminder assistant pack that may help you organise your paperwork and build a more effective working environment.
Points to remember when planning to work with assistants:
Being the registered childminder means you are the main carer for all children within your setting. You will be accountable for them and would need to supervise the work any assistants do. If agreements have been made by Ofsted in advance permission may be allowed for assistants to work alone for short periods of time.
Although you are entitled to have more than one assistant, you must have no more than three people in any one day caring for the children within your setting.
Guidance for steps to be taken:
EYFS Suitable Person – All childminders/assistants must be suitable to fulfil the requirements of their roles and understand what their responsibilities are. Complete effective checks to ensure assistants are suitable for the role; see (CR3.1).
Ofsted EY2 Form – If you work with or employ assistants you must complete a Declaration and Consent form for each individual – The law states that all childminders must inform Ofsted about any planned arrangements including their name and address of any assistants before employing or using them (Ofsted, 2012).
Recruitment Procedures – Vigorous recruitment procedures must be undertaken, these include: an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check (this can be obtained through Ofsted, a charge of £44.00 is usually expected for these checks). Two relevant references will be required, a full breakdown of employment history, undertake relevant interviews and may be required to obtain medical information.
Employment – Provide a clear job description which detail their roles and responsibilities, a contract with a written statement of the main terms and conditions of employment (include hours of work, salary and holiday entitlement). Explain with assistants any sickness pay, annual leave and disciplinary policy and procedures that you have in place.
Supervision – (The EYFS SF, 3.41) states that you are accountable for and must supervise the quality of the work of any assistants, and must be satisfied that they are competent in the areas of work they undertake. Childminders can leave assistants alone with children for up to 2 hours in any one day; this can only be undertaken with written signed parental permission prior to the care being given. However, if assistants are left in sole charge of children, no more than six children must be under eight and only three of those children can be in the Early Years age group, only one child must be under one. You must ensure staff to child ratio is met within current standards set at all times.
Age of assistants – Assistants aged 17 years of age can be included in the ratios set within the Early Years Register and assistants aged 18 and over for the Childcare Register.
Additional Children – Working with more than one assistant may allow you to increase the number of children you care for. The maximum number must not exceed six children under the age of eight for each adult. Some restrictions may apply and limit your ratios dependent on the space available within your setting and further restrictions that may have been imposed by Ofsted. It may be necessary to apply for planning permission to run your business from home, you must ensure adequate furniture and equipment is readily available to accommodate additional children. Consider any changes will enable you to deliver effective learning and development requirements of the EYFS to all children attending your setting.
Make sure you have informed your insurance company of any changes, and you must by law hold a relevant in-date employers liability certificate to cover assistants working within your setting.
Although no requirement has been set within the EYFS to carry out appraisals with your assistants or volunteers that may work with you, it is good practice to provide ongoing meetings to discuss how your progress is with those working with you. Developing a portfolio for both the childminder and assistants is a positive way to set realistic goals for your growing business. In addition, having to hand a clear portfolio will support your ongoing self evaluation and help inspectors make judgments in the following areas “Effectiveness of leadership and management” for example: will demonstrate your ability to improve staff practice performance management and appropriate training needs.
Questions you may ask consider asking your assistant during your appraisals:
- What communicating methods do you use to ensure you work in partnership?
- Do you feel you have any personal strengths and/or weaknesses?
- Have you identified any areas of improvement since your last meeting/appraisal? (if already undertaken)
- Do you have any concerns that may affect your daily practice?
- Are you facing any difficult challenges in your work at present?
Our new resource “Childminding Assistant Portfolio Summary guide” will be available for members to access or download from the 1st December 2015. The document gives excellent ideas for childminders who would like to build a portfolio for childminding assistants. This will be a valuable resource to demonstrate your professionalism and reflect on your provision.
Thanks for reading
Requirements of the Childcare Register. Childminders and home childcarers. August 2014, No: 080161
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