Promoting childminding as a choice – helping parents and carers to make informed choices
We want to see collaborative efforts across all partners to support parental choice by highlighting the benefits of childminding settings, ensuring that parents and carers have the information they need to make an informed decision about the right setting for their child from birth (where appropriate) to school age.
It's important that parents and carers understand:
- The professionalism and offer of childminders, alongside other childcare providers.
- How to find out about childminders in their local area.
- Their right to use childminders and other registered providers for their child's funded entitlement to ELC.
- The possibility and benefits of using blended placements, including for the funded entitlement.
There have been encouraging trends in recent years of increases in the numbers of childminders both offering, and delivering, funded ELC to families. However, these increases have been from a low base and it will be important to build on these trends and support more childminders to be able to offer funded ELC.
Through Funding Follows the Child we want to support more families to use childminders, where they are able to meet the underpinning National Standard, to access their child's funded ELC entitlement.
In addition to supporting childminders to meet the National Standard, this requires clear, concise and timely communication with parents and carers to ensure that they have clarity as to what providers they can access their child's ELC entitlement.
In an earlier stage ahead of the anticipated expansion of the ELC entitlement in August 2020, we launched a national marketing campaign to raise parents' awareness of the ELC expansion in which childminding featured prominently. Alongside which we expanded the information available on parentclub.scot/elc about childminding as an option for funded ELC, including as part of a 'blended model'.
Our Short and Medium Term Commitments
In the context of providing robust evidence of the benefits of childminding, to support longer term parental communications:
17. Restart the planned IPSOS MORI research into the benefits for children and families of childminding, which the Scottish Government is funding. This will be overseen by the Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland and SCMA. The evidence base we will gain from this will be invaluable, and will help us to promote childminding in the long term.
In the context of providing parents with information about the ELC expansion and choices available to them:
18. Promote childminders as a positive option for ELC with parents and carers, through a refresh of the information on Parent Club designed to let parents know about how childminders can support their child. Working with local authorities to compliment the national level information with tailored inclusive local information. Including:
a) information about flexibility and choice
b) helping parents to understand the professionalism of the childminding sector
c) illustrating quality, including how national guidance on learning in the early years is used in childminder settings.
19. Identify in collaboration with sector representative bodies (SCMA, CALA and EYS), local authorities and other partners, good practice examples from local authorities which work in partnership with childminders to explain and market the options available to parents. For example, the way that parents are informed about their options for their child's funded entitlement, including the way in which information about funded providers is shared. Share these examples with all local authorities and take learning for national level communications.
20. Include childminding examples and parental choice in any ELC marketing campaign. This will include hearing from parents who have used childminders, both for the full funded entitlement and as part of a blended placement. We will work with partners to identify a range of case studies, to help families to understand the benefits and the practicalities. For example:
a) A family that chose to use a childminder for all of their funded hours
b) A family that split their funded entitlement between a nursery and a childminder – including the benefits, and the practicalities of how they applied for it.
c) A family that had reservations about using a childminder, but was pleased with the impact on their child.
d) A family that used a childminder for their eligible 2 year old.
e) A family that uses a childminder both for younger children and for school age childcare, possibly where the younger child then obtained a funded place on turning 3 years old.
f) A childminder who works mainly outdoors.
In the longer term we want to work with our partners to design marketing and parental choice information informed by the results of the IPSOS MORI research and the wider range of evidence available through our partners.