We know that finding great childcare in London is a huge challenge for working parents. Understanding the different options available and choosing the right one for your family can make you feel like you’ve fallen down a Google-shaped rabbit hole. Childminders provide a hugely popular childcare service, but plenty of parents remain unsure of what they offer. We’re going to answer some of the common questions you might have about childminders in London and across the UK.

Two children exploring a forest with their childminder

What is a childminder?

A childminder is self-employed and usually works from their own home with children from multiple families. All childminders must be Ofsted or agency-registered by law. Because of this, registered childminders have had background and reference checks, and a check with social services, before they open their doors. This vetting process makes them really appealing to parents.

While childminders deliver a fantastic method of childcare, they are in high demand, especially in London. The latest Ofsted statistics reveal that as of August 2020 there are 36,600 childminders across the UK, down from 44,000 in December 2016. Don’t worry though – we’re on a mission to change this with the launch of Koru Kids Home Nurseries in London (you can read more about this amazing new childminding service here). For many families, childminders are the perfect ‘best of both worlds’ to nannies and nurseries, so we’re training more great ones!

What is the difference between a childminder and a nanny?

Nanny and childminder jobs are very different, although they are easily confused.  

Childminders vs Nannies: Setting and structure

A childminder usually operates from their own home, so parents pick up and drop off at the childminder’s house or registered premises. A childminder often looks after a few children from different families, so the kids can develop important social skills and enjoy plenty of group interaction. Childminders have to follow a more structured curriculum, built on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) (the government’s mandated learning programme) and its milestones. Our Home Nursery Early Educators build on the EYFS with a focus on a unique outdoor learning ethos.

In contrast, nannies care for a child (or children) in the family’s own home. They are unlikely to look after more than one family at once, unless they’re part of a nanny-share agreement. Generally parents have more say in how a nanny looks after their child, which is great for those who want to be extra hands-on in their children’s childcare experience. Unlike a childminder, it’s up to the parents to provide toys and resources for any activities your nanny will be doing. Luckily, Koru Kids nannies have plenty of support from us, so they’re never short of ideas.

Childminders vs Nannies: Ofsted registration

Childminders have to be registered and are inspected regularly, either by Ofsted or their agency. Koru Kids have the statutory powers to qualify and inspect our childminders, because we are registered with Ofsted as a Childminder Agency. This happens annually, while government Ofsted inspections can be several years apart. 

Nannies don’t need to be Ofsted registered to do their job. If you want to access government help with childcare costs, you can ask your nanny to join the voluntary Ofsted register. Just remember that they don’t have to if they don’t want to. Ideally, your nanny will come from a trusted provider who carries out DBS checks and vetting for you. 

Either way, the requirements are stricter for childminders than nannies – although at Koru Kids we’re stringent with our checks on both.

Childminders vs Nannies: Working hours

Childminders usually offer standard hours from Monday to Friday, or at least most of the working week. This makes them a solid, reliable choice for pre-school children. 

Nanny availability varies. Your nanny might work with you for a couple of hours a week, or full time, depending on your requirements. After school nannies are particularly great for older children that need wraparound childcare. 

As a rule, childminders are more like nurseries when it comes to operating hours, while nannies are more flexible – for example, if you need an early start or later finish around your job.

Child being pushed on the swing by their childminder

What is the cost of a childminder?

The cost of a childminder varies according to the hours they work – part-time or full-time – and location. In London, the average childminder charges around £7 per hour, but there’s a huge variation between different locales. Parents may also need to factor in extras like food, nappies, and wipes, which quickly add up.

Koru Kids Home Nurseries charge an all-inclusive fee – typically just £79 for a ten hour day. With a maximum ratio of three children per adult that’s incredible value for money. Freshly prepared hot food, snacks and supplies are all included, which makes budgeting really simple.

Childminders are registered, so you should also be able to claim any government support you’re entitled to. That might mean tax-free childcare of up to 20% off your bill (up to £2000 a year), or funded hours for over 3s. You can read more about government childcare support here.

Are there any drawbacks to having a childminder?

Good childminders can be hard to come by, although we’re working hard to change that! Childminders are also best for younger children. If you’ve got older kids who already attend school, a childminder might not offer the after-school hours you’re looking for. In this case, a brilliant part-time nanny can fill the gap.

How can I find a great childminder in London?

Some local councils provide a list of childminders on their website, but these lists are often out of date. Lots of parents find childminders simply by word of mouth, but if there’s a popular childminder in your local area availability can be tricky. At Koru Kids we help you find the best fit from all our qualified Early Educators in London. We’ve spent years honing this process with our nannies, so we know exactly what parents are looking for. It’s a really easy, fuss-free way to find the perfect childminder near you.

Our Home Nursery service is childminding for the 21st Century. If you’re looking for great childminders in London, join our waitlist. We can’t wait to welcome you!

Interested in becoming an Early Educator (a childminder) with Koru Kids? Find out more here.