If you are thinking about working with children, or looking for a suitable childcare provider in your area, you might have come across ‘childminder agencies’. We have written an article to explain what a childminder agency does, and why you might want to use one if you are thinking about becoming a childminder (or are a parent looking for a childminder near you!).
Want to work with a childminder agency near you?
What is a childminder agency?
A childminder agency is a childcare provider that helps to locate and train early educators, e.g. childminders. They’re a form of quality assurance and support.
A good childminder agency takes great pride in vetting any childminder that joins them. For instance, Koru Kids carries out background checks like enhanced DBS checks, ‘right to work’ checks, ‘known to Ofsted’ checks, reference checks, and provides free, in-depth training.
Childminder agencies have been an option for parents and childminders since 2014, when they were first allowed to form by the Department for Education. This is why they are all relatively ‘young’ businesses.
As of October 2021, there are 7 childminder agencies in the UK, according to Ofsted’s records:
- City Childcare Childminding Agency
- Integrity Childminder Agency
- @Home Childcare
- Rua Kids Ltd (Koru Kids)
- Rutland Early Years Agency Limited
- Suffolk Childcare Agency Limited
What’s ‘Rua Kids’, and is it different to Koru Kids?
Don’t worry if you see ‘Rua Kids’ somewhere instead of Koru Kids! When we set up Home Nursery, we did it as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koru Kids. Sticking with the theme of Maori names, we chose ‘Rua’—Maori for ‘two’—for our second legal company. So the legal name for our Home Nursery company is Rua, but the team and service is 100% Koru Kids. You can just think of the two as one flourishing family.
Our CEO and founder, Rachel Carrell, was born and raised in New Zealand, where Maori is an official language.
Are all childminder agencies national, or are they local?
Some childminder agencies operate in specific areas, sometimes as local as a 15 mile radius from the agency offices. Some operate across all of England. Koru Kids started out in London and the surrounding counties, but is quickly opening up home nurseries across England—so don’t worry if we’re not active in your area just yet, we probably will be soon!
If you want to speak to us about becoming a childminder, click here. We will keep hold of your email when you apply, so if we’re not operating near you just yet, we can contact you when we are ready to offer you full support. If you’re a parent looking for childcare in the UK, click here and let us help you find a local childminder or nanny!
Do all childminder agencies offer the same support?
Childminder agencies all offer some form of support. It could be basic training, or some initial help with getting started, and telling you where to get the relevant training. Koru Kids are one of the only agencies that provide complete training and also help you through every stage, even helping you sort your enhanced DBS check and health declaration. Just as we think about the ‘whole child’ in our childcare approach, we think about the ‘whole childminder’ when we support our childminders.
Do childminder agencies get Ofsted ratings?
Childminder agencies do receive a form of Ofsted rating—a childminding agency report. The majority of childminding agencies don’t have reports yet, because they are quite new, and it can take Ofsted 6 years. Some agencies have been registered with Ofsted since 2014, and have yet to receive their first report. Koru Kids have been providing childcare in the form of our well-loved nanny service since 2017.
What’s in a childminder agency Ofsted report?
The report details whether or not a childminder agency is effective in the service it provides. The Ofsted reports for childminder agencies looks at qualities like leadership and management, the childminder agency’s services, and the impact of the agency’s services on the quality of the education and care provided by its childminders. Ofsted then concludes that the agency is either ‘effective’ or ‘ineffective’.
Can childminder agencies provide ratings like Ofsted?
Yes. We provide incredible support to any childminder working with Koru Kids, so they can receive a Good or Outstanding rating.
We look for passionate, reliable people who genuinely love to work with children. Our training is in-depth, and covers everything you need to know when you become a childminder. It doesn’t stop there—our post-registration training includes a whole day of Forest School training. As a childminding agency, we have a greater focus on the great outdoors than most. The more training an agency can offer you, the more likely you’ll get that coveted Outstanding rating.
What would be good qualities to look for in a childminder agency?
If you are thinking about becoming a childminder, you want to find an agency that provides:
- Training that is free, or reasonably priced. Expensive training is a real obstacle for anyone starting a business, and could be a red flag that the agency is only out to make money from the training, not support childminders over the long term
- Training that gives you more than just the basics. Agencies like Koru Kids go above and beyond to make sure anyone starting a childminding business with them has world-class training, that enables them to bring the EYFS to life in an outdoor-based, child-led approach
- A supportive process from the very beginning. The agency should do it’s best to help potential childminders every step of the way, and keep supporting them while they are up and running
- Careful vetting process. You want to join an agency with other early educators who care just as much as you do, not an agency that lets anyone in just because they want to make money
- Great income, and opportunities for career progression. Koru Kids make sure our childminders charge in line with other high quality childcare services. This means that on average, childminders working with us in inner London earn about £37,000 per year, after our fees and their own expenses, but before tax. If you want to expand and work with 1 or 2 assistants, you can earn up to £70,000 per year.
- Transparency and communication. A good childminder agency is open about their practices, their core values, and happy to answer questions. They are easy to get hold of, and friendly and professional when they respond
- Child-centred through and through. A childminder agency that doesn’t have children’s best interests at the heart of everything they do won’t be any good to a childminder that joins them. When we support our childminders, we support the children in their care, and the parents that use their services.
What sets Koru Kids apart from other childminder agencies in the UK?
Because of our established nanny service, we already have an amazing network of parents across the UK. Our respected after-school nanny service opened up in London in 2017. Now that we are opening the doors to our home nurseries, we can use the expertise and network we have gained to help our childminders fill their places quickly.
When we say ‘world-class’ training, we really mean it. Our free training for childminders covers everything:
- Paediatric first aid
- Safe sleep
- Food hygiene
- Quality childcare
- Outdoor learning (Forest School)
- Positive behaviour management
- Building relationships
- Parent tours
- Running your business
- Record keeping
- Setting up your home
- Serving food in your setting
Extensive research and expert advice
Everything we do is research-based. We spend time finding out precisely what parents need from a perfect childcare provider, and what childminder applicants want in their role. Because we don’t want to tell people what they want and need. We want to hear it from you.
We care deeply about making life easier for families in the UK. Childcare is difficult to come by, and can stop parents from returning to work entirely. If we can create successful childminding businesses, and enable parents to return to work, confident their children are looked after by a loving, qualified childminder, we can sleep well.
All the admin
To enable our childminders to spend their time actively engaging with children, and their weekends relaxing, we take care of all the admin. All the contracts, policies, payroll, paperwork and help with tax returns. We even help you set up a pension, which can be a real pain when you’re self-employed.
We want anyone working with us to be happy with their earnings. That means we help you charge what you should for the quality care you provide, and expand with assistants to make a really great childminder salary. We even vet and train assistants for you, so it’s as hassle-free as it could be.
Financial support and home set-up
Aside from all the training and checks, setting up your home to be a wonderful home nursery can be expensive and time consuming. So we offer a £500 interest-free loan, with more financial support available. And we offer hands-on help with our dedicated interior design team.
All our years of research have showed how important it is for children to spend plenty of time outdoors. That might not seem like news to most parents. It’s clear that children who spend more time outdoors are happier and healthier overall. But when we think about how we can help the children that come into our home nurseries, we think about their future.
Children need to know more than spelling and counting. They’ll need emotional resilience. The ability to adapt to new environments and situations. Open-mindedness and curiosity. Acceptance, empathy, and kindness. We want our childminders to embrace our Koru Ethos, and help children fly.
Home Nursery—a childminder agency for the 21st Century
If you are thinking about becoming a childminder, and would like the support of a childminder agency like us, we’d love to hear from you—click the link to find out more.
If you are a parent looking for a home nursery that offers everything your child truly needs, please follow the link to find out more about childminders near you.
Interested in becoming a childminder?