Competition for places, condemnation of the Government’s Code of Practice and restricted cash flows. Can the love of providing quality childcare really be enough for someone to start-up their own nursery today?
We are often asked for advice by those considering starting a nursery, on where to start, best practice or simply if the idea is right for them.
The shape of the industry today, suggests that nursery owners have never had it so tough, so would new, and inexperienced owners be able to cope?
We thought who better to ask than our readers, experienced and professional childcare providers? We want to hear about your experiences and advice on running a nursery, so that we can provide the next generation of providers with a future reference point to help them make their decision.
Are there any common mistakes that you’ve learnt from over the years, or is there a secret to maintaining a healthy relationship with parents?
As part of Parenta’s commitment to quality, we regularly call childcare workers after they achieve their Children and Young People’s Workforce qualification to ensure they are happy with the service they received.
In our most recent survey, we were delighted to achieve 100% satisfaction rating with some extremely positive comments.
Colleen B. Level 3: “My assessor was brilliant! I have developed new skills – particularly around safeguarding and Health & Safety.”
Georgina P. Childminder: ” The learning was fantastic, really well delivered. I have learnt lots of new skills throughout the whole course and no improvements could be made to the service at all! The tutor support was fantastic and support was second to none, I would definitely recommend to other people!”
Michelle K. Childminder: “My tutor was brilliant, extremely helpful. I will stay in touch with her after the course.”
Paulete T. Nursery Nurse: “I hadn’t done any learning for 30 years, but I really enjoyed it. My tutor helped with any problems but there wasn’t really any issues at all and I learned lots of new skills.”
The government’s publication ‘More great childcare’ (January 2013) set out the vision for quality in early education and childcare. The goal was to make sure there is more great childcare available for parents and children. The introduction of early years educators (level 3) will ensure those who work with babies and young children are increasingly skilled and professional, and early years teachers will be expected to be educated to the same level as a primary school teacher.
Charlie Taylor, chief executive of the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), said: “There is nothing more important in early education and childcare than the quality of the staff who are delivering it. The workforce supporting our babies, young children and their parents should be well qualified, well respected and well led.”
From September this year, early years teacher trainees must have at least a GCSE grade C in English, Maths and Science, or their equivalent. From September 2014 they will have to pass the same skills test as classroom teacher trainees. (Download the teacher standards here)
Following an 8 week public consultation undertaken by the NCTL, which ended on 22 April 2013, the early years educator criteria were published last week, to some criticism from the industry. Early Years Educators will be expected to hold GCSE Maths and English to start the course, which is equivalent to an A-level. (Download the qualification criteria here)
Education minister Elizabeth Truss said: “Good quality early years education, which is teacher-led, has been shown to be beneficial for children, especially those from low-income backgrounds. It makes a difference to young children’s lives and enables them to learn and grow.”
The Pre-school Learning Alliance has, however, expressed disappointment that there is no explicit commitment to learning through play in either qualifications, or reference to working with children with special educational needs.
Chief executive Neil Leitch said: “We are dismayed that the government has chosen to ignore the advice of qualified and experienced early years and childcare practitioners and make no explicit reference to learning through play in both of these qualifications.
“In our consultation responses to the government we stressed the importance of referring to learning through play in these qualifications as this is the cornerstone of high-quality early years provision in this country. That the government has chosen to ignore such a key foundation of early years practice is a grave concern.”
He also disagreed with the government’s claim that the creation of the early years teacher and educator qualifications would improve the status of the sector, noting that although early years teachers will have to undergo the same skill tests as classroom teachers they will not be granted “qualified teacher status”.
Parenta Training, were described as ”excellent” in delivery of qualifications and quality assurance in an EV (External Verification) visit from EDI this week.
As a leading childcare training provider, we have made admirable strides in the past year in successfully helping child care professionals efficiently gain childcare qualifications.
Barbara, the EDI verifier, commented that immense progression had been achieved within our procedures and practice and that Parenta Training continues to demonstrate excellent skills, currently being ahead of the programme within the QCF (Qualifications and Credit Framework).
She left Parenta Training’s centre without giving any actions, and we’re now authorised to make direct claims for CCLD’s meaning our learners receive their completion certificates much quicker.
Debbie Sinclair, a Regional Training Manager at Parenta Training said of the achievement, “I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to the whole team for their continued support. The outcome today is a huge testament to our hard work.”
All three- and four-year-olds in England will be entitled to 15 hours of free childcare a week from 1 September. Ross Watson, CYPNow, asks what providing an extra 2.5 hours of free childcare will mean for parents and providers.
Two-and-a-half hours of free childcare a day is not enough time to get anything done, according to Belle Kaur, whose three-year-old son Jason currently attends the nursery at Fox Hollies Children’s Centre in Acocks Green, Birmingham, each morning. “It is hell doing the day-to-day essentials like shopping. He has tantrums in the car and in the shopping centres,” she says.
Like every other three and four-year-old in England, Jason is currently eligible for 12.5 hours of childcare a week under the government’s free entitlement scheme. Kaur uses her free hours over five days, paying extra for Jason to stay longer on Wednesdays and Fridays.
But from 1 September the Kaurs will be eligible for an extra 2.5 hours of childcare a week under government plans to extend the free entitlement to 15 hours a week for all three and four-year-olds. The new rules are also more flexible, allowing parents to use all their hours over a minimum of three days if they wish. Local authorities are also encouraged to work around the needs of individual families, even allowing parents to use their free childcare allowance for up to 10 hours a day. (more…)