A male childminder speaks out

A male childminder from Somerset is encouraging others interested in making a difference to a child’s Early Years development to follow in his footsteps.

Andrew Rose for web

Somerset County Council is calling for individuals to consider childminding as a rewarding career with many benefits. These include working from home, and having a positive impact on children’s learning and development, while providing a valuable service within your local area. 

Andrew Rose, 34, from Highbridge, a dad to three girls, became a registered childminder in December 2013, and currently cares for a number of youngsters aged between 10 months and 7 years.

Having always thought about going into social work, it wasn’t until his daughters came along that he began to explore the possibility of becoming a childminder.

“Childminding is a worthwhile profession that has a lot of rewards,” says Andrew. “I would encourage others, and especially men, to take the step to become a childminder and break the stereotype. For me being a childminder has enabled me to work around my children, receive up to date training and offer a place for other children to develop and learn with me and my family.

“I feel it is very important to change the opinion of some that stereotype childminders, as everyone deserves to do what they enjoy doing.”

Having a male childminder also helps ensure that any notions of ‘man’s work’ and ‘women’s work’ are tackled at an early age.

Andrew adds: “I found it hard at first to be the only man in the room at childminder meetings. However I have been introduced to other male childminders along the way, and I don’t find it an issue any more as I have lots of support from local childminders.”

The profession offers you the chance to be your own boss, working from your own home – perfect if you have your own children to look after. In 2014-15 over 80% of Somerset’s childminders were rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council, said: “Some people have a fixed idea of who a childminder is or can be. There is also a misconception that childminding is just a step up from babysitting. This is far from the reality, as childminding professionals have to answer to the same standards and legislation as nurseries and schools.

“Any individual interested in Early Years education and development – whether male or female, from educational professionals seeking a change of career and people looking to become self-employed, to students establishing themselves in the world of work – can benefit from becoming a childminder, and offering a local, homely and flexible childcare option to Somerset families.

“With most parents of three and four year-olds now claiming up to 570 hours of funded childcare available per year and with the implementation of the  two year-old funded entitlement, we want parents to know what’s available, so they can find the right local childcare option for them. That may be a nursery, pre-school, or registered childminder.”

The Council can offer start up support for insurance and documentation, guidance and training for childminders. There is also a childminder mentoring scheme with 15 lead childminders Somerset-wide holding drop-in sessions, and offering peer-to-peer support. New childminders can currently apply for a childcare business grant of up to £500 from Central Government to help with start-up costs – to find out more, phone 01633 652143 or email childcaregrantenquiries@liberata.com

To find out more about becoming a registered childminder, and for an information pack, please visit www.somerset.gov.uk/register, email sfid@somerset.gov.uk or phone 0300 123 2224.

Notes to editors

While childminders set up and work independently of Somerset County Council, the authority can provide support, guidance and training to new childminders.