Journalist and Writer
Hilary Wilce specialising in all aspects of education
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The Quandary - 19 Nov 2009

I want to become a childminder but friends say the job has become a nightmare under the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Hillary's Advice

All registered child carers who look after children under five now have to follow the EYFS, which is the new official framework meant to ensure that children are properly cared for, and that all aspects of their learning and development are catered for. If you want to become a child minder for tiny children you will have to register with Ofsted, and be inspected by them to make sure you are meeting the requirements of the EYFS.

So, yes, the job is much, much more formalised and bureaucratic than it has been in the past, and if you are allergic to form-filling and box-ticking, then being a modern child-minder will definitely not be for you.

But there are lots of resources to help you navigate the EYFS, and many chlld-minders seem to have taken it in their stride. The hardest part, they say, is at the beginning, when you have to get your head round all the jargon and paperwork, but afterwards it is mainly common sense and often just puts a formal framework around what they have always done before.

There are even some child minders who have found it positive. They welcome the training courses, and say it makes them think about all-round child development and that the record-keeping is a useful way of tracking children’s progress.

Everything will depend on your attitude. The EYFS could be part of your problem, or part of your solution, depending on how you care to look at it.