Scores of unemployed parents to become childminders

Neil Puffett
Tuesday, April 21, 2015

More than 200 unemployed parents could register as childminders after completing a controversial government-backed course.

A total of 353 people completed Barnardo's course for unemployed people to become a childminder. Picture: Lucie Carlier
A total of 353 people completed Barnardo's course for unemployed people to become a childminder. Picture: Lucie Carlier

Figures provided by Barnardo’s, which ran the ABC Pathway Programme, show that so far 37 out-of-work people have registered as a childminder with Ofsted after completing the course, and a further 60 are in the process of registration.

The charity is hoping that a further 115 people who completed the course last month will go on to register as well, potentially taking the total as high as 212.

In total, 511 people enrolled on the programme, with 353 going on to complete it – a completion rate of 69 per cent.

Funding for the initiative had been provided through the Department for Education’s £120m National Prospectus Grants Programme, but ran out last month.

Barnardo’s has announced that as a result of funding coming to an end, the course will not continue.

"We would like to thank all the local authorities, children's centres and partners involved for their support and a huge thanks goes out to the learners who have worked so hard in completing the programme," a statement from the charity said.

"We hope as many [participants] as possible go on to become registered with Ofsted and have wonderful futures as childminders."

It had been hoped that around 800 parents would eventually become childminders, providing in the region of 3,000 additional places.

The project suffered an early setback when The Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (Pacey), which had initially agreed to be a partner on the Barnardo's bid, withdrew its support a month after funding was announced because it disagreed with how the Department for Education wanted the programme to work.

However, Pacey supported the project in other ways, including providing participants with cost price membership.

Childcare is high on the political agenda with Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats all pledging to extend free provision if they are in government following next month’s general election.

The Liberal Democrats have promised to boost free childcare entitlement to 20 hours a week, while Labour has pledged in its manifesto to increase free childcare to 25 hours a week.

And the Conservatives have pledged to provide 30 hours of free childcare each week.

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