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Becoming a child care provider in Waltham Forest

Last updated 8 September 2014

Current performance and the Borough's Childcare Strategy

In August 2010 only 50% of childminders and 52% of childcare on non-domestic premises (full daycare, preschools, etc) in the borough were rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted.  This was clearly not good enough.

Since August 2010 we have adopted a holistic view of improving quality within our childcare settings and now adopt a model where providers are expected to meet all legal and statutory requirements that must be complied with, and not just those that are regulated by Ofsted.  These are categorised under the same headings as the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework (see below), and include statutory regulations such as Employment, Health & Safety, Equality, Data Protetction, Safeguarding/Duty of care, Legal status of organisation, Accounting/Finance and Building/Planning regulations.

This approach has resulted in a significant improvement in the quality of childcare delivered in the borough over a relatively short period of time.

In August 2013, 66% of childminders and 76% of childcare on non-domestic premises (full daycare, preschools, etc) in the borough were rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted.

Whilst this is a significant improvement, it is still not good enough.  Our aim is to be operating above national averages, and to be one of the top performing boroughs in London, and we hope that you will play a part in achieving that goal.

How can we support you?

We understand that opening a new childcare provision can be daunting, with all the legal and statutory requirements that you have to meet.  In order to assist you in meeting those requirements we are able to offer support in 2 ways:

The Hub

We have recently developed a new education website.  The website address is https://thehub.walthamforest.gov.uk. This website had been designed to ensure that providers have all the relevant information that they need in order to meet their statutory requirements and business plan effectively.

You will have to register before you are able to see all the relevant documents.  Once you are registered, under the 'Policy and Guidance' heading you will find a section called 'Early Years and Childcare'.  Click on this and you will be directed to a page called 'Early Years'.  Here you will find all the information you will need to be aware of to comply with your legal obligations.

We recommend that everybody who expresses an interest in opening childcare in Waltham Forest visits the website to read and understand all the requirements in the first instance.

One to one support

Once you have looked at The Hub website and want to progress with opening a childcare provision we can offer support across a range of staff who have the relevant knowledge and expertise in their area of work.  They will be able to provide support, advice and guidance which will enable you to understand and meet the relevant statutory requirements and provide high quality safe childcare provision for children.

a) Learning, Development & Assessment Requirements

Childcare on non-domestic premises (full daycare, preschools, etc)
Early Years Consultant - Elisha Brett
email: Elisha.brett@walthamforest.gov.uk

Childcare on domestic premises (childminders)
Childminding Development Workers
email: education@walthamforest.gov.uk

b) Safeguarding & Welfare Requirements

Business Support Officer - Elizabeth Freer
email: elizabeth.freer@walthamforest.gov.uk
Advice on employment, health & safety (non-premises related), equality, data protection, safeguarding/duty of care, legal status of organisation, accounting/finance and business planning, information on the type of childcare we need and where it is needed.

Premises Health & Safety Officer - Kevin Murphy
email: kevin.murphy@walthamforest.gov.uk
Advice on meeting the 'Managing Health & Safety in a Childcare Premises' requirements (document available on The Hub), building regulations and planning requirements.

Environmental Health Service
email: food.safety@walthamforest.gov.uk
Advice and support on food safety requirements and registration, and infection control. 

We strongly recommend that you contact each of these individuals/services at your earliest convenience to benefit from this service.  Each of the individuals/services above will provide you with a written report, free of charge, stating all of the requirements for their respective area and the actions required where these are not being met.  This will assist you in ensuring that any business and action plans that you have in place to set up your childcare provision are robust and cover all the required areas.  This will ultimately assist in ensuring the quality and success of your provision.

How do I become a childcare provider who is commissioned by the Local Authority to deliver Free Early Education Places to eligible 2, 3 & 4 year old children?

Please note that in Waltham Forest we only commission providers to deliver the FEEE if they have been assessed as meeting all their legal and statutory requirements, not just those required as part of the Ofsted registration process. In order to meet this requirement a report will be required from your Early Years Consultant, Business Support Officer, Premises Health & Safety Officer and the Environmental Health Service to confirm compliance.  It is therefore vitally important that you engage with these individuals at the earliest opportunity to expedite the commissioning process and ensure you are able to offer FEEE places when your childcare provision opens.

Information for childminders only

In addition to the above, the Education Improvement Support Service will signpost you to the Local Authority approved training.

Training consists of three courses and costs approximately £230 in total.  It lasts for three months.  In order to attend the training, you will need to have a certain level of literacy, so there will be a literacy assessment.  You will be required to reach a minimum level of Level 1.  We will signpost you to ESOL classes if we feel you would benefit.

Once your training is complete, we will start your registration with Ofsted and support you through the registration process and beyond.  Registration can take up to six months, although 8-12 weeks is the norm.  Please be aware that Ofsted will ask you for proof that you have completed a Local Authority approved course when they visit you and we give them the names of childminders who have not complied with this.

For further information please contact Elizabeth Freer, the Childminding Business Support Officer, on 020 8496 3577 or email elizabeth.freer@walthamforest.gov.uk

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