December 2014

Views and experiences of childminders

Report summary

Aims and Methods

This report presents findings from a qualitative study comprising twenty in-depth interviews carried out with childminders across the country. Interviews took place from May to September 2014.

Interviews aimed to explore:

  • Current provision, including factors influencing capacity, fees and staffing 


  • Experiences of offering funded two and three-year-old provision, including views on the barriers and facilitators to providing this care 


  • Views of the infrastructure and support available for the sector, including the introduction of childminder agencies.


Key Findings 

Capacity to provide funded places 

The level of funding for two-year-old places was generally felt to be sufficient. However, barriers to providing funded places included concerns that disadvantaged two-year-olds (and their families) may require additional support. Some childminders reported limited demand, although this may change as eligibility extends and awareness grows. The number of childminders offering funded places might increase if: 

  • The funding available for three and four-year-old places is increased


  • The payment structures are designed to minimise cash flow difficulties


  • Clear information is disseminated on the accreditation process and eligibility criteria


High quality provision 

High quality early years provision depends on a well trained work force with embedded quality assurance processes and access to continuing professional development. The findings from this study suggest that high quality provision could be supported by: 

  • Bursaries and flexible course formats for Level 3 qualifications


  • Access to affordable on-going continuing professional development


  • Support for local quality assurance systems to embed good practice



Childminders currently use a range of sources for advice and support, from Local Authorities, childminder networks, professional associations and Ofsted. This support was viewed as invaluable, and important for maintaining standards. Childminders felt they needed more detail on how agencies will operate in their local area to make an informed decision about whether to join. They would value further information regarding: 

  • The financial viability of agencies 


  • How childminder independence will be maintained 


  • How childcare places will be allocated 


  • The proposed approach to quality assurance