Common questions about childcare

child-schoolWhich childcare options are available?

There are many different childcare options available to parents and guardians, ranging from babysitters and childminders to nurseries and play groups and before and after school clubs. Childminders tend to cater for individual children or small groups of children, while nurseries, playgroups and Sure Start centres cater for much larger groups of children.

There are advantages of all types of childcare; one on one care allows children to get a great deal of attention, while group childcare allows them to develop social skills and spend time with other children. Before and after school clubs are very useful for parents who start or finish work before or after school hours; many are free and run by local schools. Babysitting is usually a casual, informal arrangement which involves somebody looking after children for a short period of time; many people use babysitters if they go out for the evening, for example.

What are the benefits of working with children?

There are many benefits of working with children; childcare is extremely rewarding and you will find that you get a lot of love and affection from the children you look after. Many people build lasting relationships with the children they look after and the bond you make with the children in your care is very special. When you work with children you are able to watch them grow up and develop.

If you work as a registered childminder, you can generally fit your hours in to suit you, as most childminders are self-employed. This means you can work as little or as often as you want and you can choose your own holidays, and you can also set your own rates.

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How much can you expect to earn if you work in childcare?

Childcare is not a well-paid industry relatively speaking but there are many benefits of the job. In general, nursery nurses can expect to earn between £5.50 and £12 per hour (depending on their age and experience) and childminders can expect to earn anything between £3 and £15 per hour (depending on where you live and how many children are in your care). Nannies who work full-time can expect to earn anything between £200 and £400 per week if they live in or £250 to £500 per week if they live out (this is based on a 40-50 hour week).

Can anyone work in childcare?

Most people can work in childcare in some capacity but there are certain requirements for some positions; some positions require qualifications and experience, while others are open to anyone. It is important that people who work with children have certain character traits, as they must be patient, caring, enjoy working with children, compassionate, energetic and outgoing.

How do I become a childminder?

If you want to become a childminder you need to register with the National Childminding Association and be inspected by Ofsted; you must fill in an application form, undergo an Ofsted visit and pay a registration fee. Childminders are also required to complete a paediatric first aid course before they can work and complete an early years course after they have registered.

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How do I become a nursery nurse?

If you want to become a nursery nurse you will probably have to complete a childcare course of some kind; many people go through the NVQ scheme but some also take GCSE and A level exams in childcare. Some nurseries will take people who have no experience or qualifications and have a genuine interest in pursuing a career in childcare; they will learn on the job and complete qualifications while they work.

What is Ofsted?

Ofsted is an organisation, which regulates providers of childcare, education and training for children and young people. Ofsted carries out inspections to ensure that children are being cared for and educated in a safe environment. The organisation is also responsible for regulating standards of care and education, which assures high quality childcare and teaching.