A Strong Voice for Croydon Central - Gavin Barwell MP
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The importance of childminding
14/01/2011 21:44:00


This morning, I visited Julie Wilson, a registered childminder who lives in New Addington. As well as caring for six children herself, she provides support to newly registered childminders.

The visit was organised by the National Childminding Association (NCMA), of which Julie is a member. It was very useful to learn more about what childminders are required to do and hear what government is doing - and could be doing - to support them.

There are over 500 childminders in Croydon and more of them are rated good or outstanding, like Julie, than in virtually any other council in the country, which is testament to their commitment and to the support that Croydon Council provides. They play a vital role, both in supporting parents and in promoting development during the first crucial years of a child's life. There needs to be a much wider recognition of the vital role they play.

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Readers' Comments

On 21/01/2011 13:22:00 Julie Wilson wrote:
Thankyou for your comments. I told the childminders at my Stay and Plays that I also run about your visit. They were so pleased that childminders were being heard. So once again, thankyou for coming to visit.


On 22/01/2011 12:24:00 Anna Gardner wrote:
I used to be a Registered Childminder and the support and encouragement I recieved from Croydon's Childminding team has given me the confidence to futher develop my career. The team provide a valuable support service to Childminders which is far superior to other boroughs. Not only do they provide opportunity for personal development, but ensure that our future generation is being cared for in a safe and secure environment whilst recieveing valuable learning opportunities. Childminding was the perfect job for me and my young family as I could stay at home and raise my children whislt earning a living, but it has also provided a foundation on which to build my career.
On 24/01/2011 13:28:00 Nigel Wynn wrote:
We used a Croydon-based childminder during the early years of both of our children's lives. It's essential that Croydon Council continues to fully support and encourage the great work that Croydon's childminders do and that an easily-accessible education and support network is available for them.

A registered childminder can give peace of mind and a sense of security to parents in what can be a confusing and emotional period for them when they are trying to find a balance between their family and working lives. It provides a safe, exciting, structured, stimulating environment for your children that serves as a solid start to their lives. It can give your children a chance to mix with their peers to improve their social skills and relate to other children outside the family.

For working parents, a registered childminder can give them a chance to continue to support their family financially and continue their career path without worry of being penalised for taking extended time out of work.

I'd agree with your sentiments that the work of a childminder supports the parents as much as the children and they play an important role in the community.

On 24/01/2011 21:30:00 Michelle Parker wrote:
I used a Registered Childminder for wraparound care of my daughter when I returned to part-time education as a mature student.

My Croydon Childminder was an amazing support to me and my daughter and the family at this time and I know that the support and encouragement she received from Croydon's Childminding team helped her to develop her Childminding business and extend her own professional development. From discussion with other mums at Uni, using childminders in other locations, I am aware that this kind of support provided by Croydon to its childminders is far superior to that provided by other boroughs ~ long may it continue!!

Childminders support parents and promote development throughout the early years and beyond in a unique and family orientated way, they deserve to receive continued professional support and recognition for the valuable and vital role they play.

On 09/02/2012 17:28:00 Marion Brown wrote:
I hope, given your very public concern here about Croydon Childminders, that you are giving appropriate support to the Croydon Childminding Support Team as their jobs are being reviewed for redundancy. As a childminder, I find this consultation very worrying. We childminders are all essentially on our own and really need the help, training and advice given by the people in Croydon's Childminding Support team.

It is really not easy getting one's head around all the requirements OFSTED and other agencies lay down. Unlike other institutions regulated by this body, we do not have a more experienced manager to support us or a team to swap ideas with. The central childminding team has helped me form networks with other childminders and have liaised effectively with other council teams working in childrens services to start to solve some of these problems with others.

I worry that these might not be so strong without the support of a central council based team I already see many of my peers less now, with the closure of many childminding groups locally. It not always easy to gather a few childminders in one house together when they each have 3 children to care for. Childrens services are not always easy to get hold of when you need them. A friendly face of a childminding co-ordinator is so much more effective than an answerphone.

I am currently doing a funded pathway to EYPS and have gleaned from other students on the course that childminders have completely different issues to other Early Years settings. I get the impression we are greater in number than managers of nurseries too. I feel sure some amalgamated service focusing on Early Years will not provide the same time or support the excellent staff have given me over the past 3.5 years as a childminder and would really like to know if someone is making sure this will not get lost.

I believe Croydon childminders are currently some of the best in London because they have been supported by people who really know all of us, our children and the issues that we face day to day. It would be a shame for Croydon parents and children who use us to end up losing such an excellent service through such a cut.




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