Partnership working between Islington childminders and the local authority supports high-quality practice and provision in a home setting as part of Islington's Bright Start services for parents and children. Childminders that work in partnership with the local authority find it helpful as a way to share skills, knowledge, ideas and good practice with a diverse range of colleagues. Professionals from a range of services attend the CM forums and in this way, you receive regular opportunities to gain expert advice as well as a network of professional contacts to draw upon.
Childminders that take part in partnership working will:
- have the opportunity to work with our most vulnerable children from the Priority Early Learning (PEL) panel that support families in need.
- Provide emergency childcare
- Offer places for children in receipt of free early education entitlement
If you have not yet signed but would like to then please contact one of the childminding coordinators:
We warmly encourage Islington childminders to work in partnership together with us.
In Islington’s early years and childcare service there are two qualified early years childminding coordinators, Sandra Nicholson and Jo Hunter who work as part of a larger teaching and learning team. They monitor the quality of practice in home-based settings, deliver preand post-registrationtraining and are the first point of contact for advice and support for childminders in the borough. They work closely with Islington’s Family Information Service and Renate Laux, Childminding and Childcare Information Officer, to support families to find childcare and childminders to fill their vacancies.
Benefits of partnership working
It supports the offer of high quality practice and provision in a home setting as part of Islington’s Bright Start services for parents and children.
- It can form part of your marketing strategy acting as an attractive selling point for parents who can be reassured that you are making best use of the support on offer from the local authority. Information for parents on the local authority Website Partnership working encourages them to speak to their childminder about partnership working.
- It provides opportunities to share skills, knowledge and good practice and discuss ideas with a diverse range of colleagues.
- Through forums you can gain expert advice from professionals across a wide range of services as well as a network of professional contacts to draw upon.
- You can participate in programmes such as Healthy Early Years London
- You can use the Register of good practice to share aspects of good practice between each other.
- Access to expert support and advice from childminder coordinators.
- An annual home monitoring visit to discuss and monitor statutory requirements and the quality of practice and provision, considering strengths and identifying any areas for improvement. This includes how you support children’s learning and development.
- Telephone and email advice from childminding coordinators.
- Access to childminder groups in children’s centres led by a senior early childhood practitioner. These are held in a play-based environment and workshops are held over the year on a variety of subjects for CMs to take away ideas and information.
- A termly childminder forum to receive important updates and information.
- Access to bespoke termly safeguarding training workshops.
- The opportunity for you to offer to parents, free entitlement places for 3 and 4 yr. olds and places for children allocated through the Priority Early Learning Panel.
- The opportunity to offer emergency childcare brokered through the Family Information Service.
Participation in partnership working involves:
- An annual home monitoring visit from a childminder coordinator with follow up of any identified actions for improvement.
- Your attendance at least two childminding forums a year to keep up to date with relevant information. These are either held in the evenings or on a Saturday for approximately 2 hours and include local and national updates, safeguarding information, speakers from wider services and opportunities for discussion.
- Regular attendance at Bright Start childminder groups.
The annual home monitoring visit
This is arranged in advance and lasts about 90 minutes. A monitoring form (Appendix A) is sent out ahead of the appointment, some of which can be filled in before the visit. During the visit the form will be completed and an assessment of the quality of practice will be made in discussion with the CM coordinator and the childminder.
At this time, a rating of red, amber or green (RAG) will be given to support with identifying strengths and areas for development. A copy of the final report with relevant actions will be emailed to childminders. The criteria for the rating can be found in Appendix B.
Free early education funding
All childminders who receive funding from Islington to provide free early education entitlement (FEEE) places to 2, 3 or 4 yr. old children and those from the Priority Early Learning Panel must participate in partnership working (This does not apply to childminders registered with an agency). This includes the annual monitoring visit which is in line with DfE guidance (2018 A4.18 pp22-23) that sets out local authority requirements to ensure:
- That the provider meets the needs of disabled children and children with special educational needs
- Effective safeguarding and promotion of welfare of the children for whom the early education is provided
- That providers actively promote fundamental British values and not promote as evidence based views or theories which are contrary to established scientific or historical evidence and explanations
- That the early years provider takes any measures identified in a report from Ofsted to improve the overall effectiveness of the provision
Safeguarding and Inclusion
Islington Council has an overarching responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children and young people in their area. Childminders offering funded places will have the opportunity to complete their DBS with Islington local authority.
Islington partnership working supports the principle that equality of opportunity is fundamental when developing a high quality service to childminders, children and parents. It is essential to ensure that no one is disadvantaged on grounds of race, culture, language, disability, gender or class. Islington local authority is committed to building a fairer place to work and live and has established a Race Equality Network to tackle systemic racism Early years race equality audit
In turn, Islington partnership working is committed to monitoring childminders in a fair and open way.
Partnership working with childminders: RAG rating process (Appendix B)
For childminders who participate in partnership working, a green rating signifies the following:
- that the provider meets the needs of disabled children and children with special educational needs
- that effective safeguarding and promotion of welfare of the children for whom the early education is provided is in place
- that providers actively promote fundamental British values and help to ensure children are safe from terrorist and extremist ideologies
- that the early years provider takes any measures identified in a report from Ofsted to improve the overall effectiveness of the provision
- an Ofsted outcome of good or outstanding
- a DBS check in place for the childminder, assistants and family members via the update service, or within a 3-year window
- an excellent capacity and ongoing commitment to improve by participating in partnership working, regularly liaising with other professionals and by attending training and Bright Start childminder groups to enhance skills and knowledge
- strong leadership and management including planning and systems to ensure that every child receives an enjoyable and challenging learning and development experience, which is tailored to meet their individual needs. This includes regular self-evaluation to improve the quality of provision.
- participation in continuous professional development including bespoke safeguarding training to advance childcare knowledge
- provision for children to begin to know about their own and other people's cultures and differences, in order to understand and celebrate the diverse society in which they live.
- an effective observation, assessment and planning cycle and the completion of assessment reports for individual children on a regular basis, including the 2-year old progress check.
- a stimulating and interesting learning environment and a range of experiences to support the development of strong characteristics of learning as well as skills and knowledge across the 7 areas of learning and development.
An Amber rating signifies:
- an Ofsted judgement of requires improvement, good or outstanding but with some welfare concerns e.g. minor safeguarding concerns, poor practice for children with SEND
- a significant number of the requirements identified in the Green rating that are unmet
A Red rating signifies:
- an Ofsted outcome of not met, inadequate, requires improvement, good or outstanding but with one or more breaches of the statutory EYFS requirements
- statutory training is out of date for more than 6 months and the childminder has not taken responsibility for updating childcare knowledge
- serious leadership/management concerns; limited knowledge of responsibilities with regards to children’s individual needs.
- a significant number of aspects in the Green rating are unmet.