Childminders, Children and Parents to Benefit from the Launch of the Organisation for Childminder Agencies (OFCMA)
Ofsted registered childminder agencies have come together to form the Organisation for Childminder Agencies (OFCMA). The organisation provides mutual integrated support to enable member agencies to deliver high-quality services to their registered childminders, and to be the visible leading voice for Ofsted registered childminder agencies.
By coming together through a professional body, OFCMA has developed standards that sets the quality bar for childminder agencies. It includes key objectives and a code of practice for all members to commit to. All member agencies demonstrate excellence by continually aiming to exceed the minimum requirements for childminder agencies, such as offering a minimum of 2 visits per annum to its registered childminders from the second year, instead of the required one visit.
“All member agencies demonstrate excellence by continually aiming to exceed the minimum requirements for childminder agencies,”
With an integrated and prominent voice, OFCMA intends to make a positive impact on early year education policy and to cultivate an active forum for pioneering practices and innovation. It also will promote the benefits of registering through an agency, connecting prospective and existing childminders with the information and tools they need to help further their own careers. The body also intends to conduct research into aspects of care, recreation and education of children to support member agencies.
Until now, Ofsted registered childminder agencies have not benefited from unified support and representation in the sector. The lack of information about the role of agencies and exactly how they can support and improve quality and professionalism of childminders has not been publicised. Lack of information and biased myths have drowned out the many benefits of registering with an agency. Despite this lack of integration, childminder agencies have seen increased demand and have been recruiting new childminders over the past four years.
In recent months, more childminders have chosen to register with agencies because of the backlog waiting to be registered with Ofsted and the lead time to registration, generally 6 – 8 weeks depending on the wait for suitability checks, is much faster than Ofsted’s. There is also the added value of agencies offering far more support than Ofsted.
Childminders who register with an agency instead of directly with Ofsted benefit from personalised start-up support, ongoing training, and support and quality assurance. The unique service of providing support with annual inspections leads to better care and early education outcomes for children and everyone else, including the childminders themselves. Parents can have confidence that their childcare provider is regularly monitored and inspected, whilst receiving professional guidance and training necessary to provide their children with an excellent early years’ experience.
The following Ofsted registered childminder agencies are already members of OFCMA:
Dandelions Childminder Agency
Leap Ahead, Achieving for Children
Northumberland Church of England Academy
Rutland Early Years Agency
Suffolk Childcare Agency
Little Footsteps Childminder Agency
OFCMA website: www.ofcma.org.uk Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org