Thank you for your interest in @Home Childcare. As you not yet met the team behind @HCC, I thought you might like to know our story; why we do what we do and why we love it so much!
Although 2020 is our 5th years registered as an Ofsted childminder agency, we have actually been operating the business for 15 years. Yes, it’s hard to believe that we’ve been around for so long.
The original company was formed in 2005 as a solution for parents needing flexible, responsive childcare for parents to fit in with their working hours. We matched families in need of flexible childcare, mainly wraparound before/after school childcare, with home childcarers (nannies) who we trained and employ as workers ourselves.
This was during a time when there was more money around to fund training and development of early years professionals. As I am a fairly ballsy person, I approached my local authorities (LAs) to ask for funding to train our home childcarers. It worked; they agreed (there was a lot more funding around in 2006/2007 for training). The LAs asked if we would train childminders as well as home childcarers; after all it’s all home-based childcare. This is how our training provision was born when we started to deliver the Introduction to Childcare (ICP), the pre-registration training for childminders at the time.
During this time our training provision grew as we become an accredited training centre to deliver early years qualifications (NVQs back then). It was a natural progression for us as we could offer the Level 3 to childminders who wanted to upskill to gain a qualification in childcare.
It was around 2012/2013 that we noticed childminders who enrolled onto our qualification courses were complaining about feeling lost once they got registered due to a cutback in early years support from LAs. By then the funding cuts of the last recession had begun to hit LAs’ early years budgets during this time.
This is what gave us the idea of developing a support service for childminders. It coincided with the childcare minster at the time, Elizabeth Truss, who had the idea of enabling the creation of childminder agencies. I was asked to join the Department for Education’s task and finish group to help formulate how these new regulatory bodies would operate, and then we become one of the pilot agencies trialling the new agency model.
And the rest is history:
- We registered as an Ofsted childminder agency in 2015. The term, agency, doesn’t accurately describe our unique support and regulatory role so decided to operate as an Ofsted accredited community/network
- Become a community interest company allowing us to carry out our social mission to remove barriers for suitable people wishing to:
- Improve access for suitable people wishing to set up home-based early education businesses by removing barriers to entry
- Enable more families to benefit from the unique care and early education home-based childcare can offer.
- Used the vehicle of Ofsted childminder agencies to form a quality assured community for professional childminders
- Rebrand childminders as home early educators, childminders for short, in recognition of their specialist role providing early education to children in a home environment
And now we have just received the prestigious 2020 Midlands Enterprise Award for Leading Trailblazers in Childcare. More details to follow next week.