Policy and Politics
Pre-School Learning Alliance to open its doors to childminders
The Pre-School Learning Alliance is to offer childminders a bespoke membership package from early next year, following the National Childminding Association's bid to attract a wider membership under a new name.
The Alliance says it has been inundated with requests from childminders for dedicated membership support and that offering a comprehensive membership package for childminders is a natural progression.
Plans to launch a bespoke membership package for childminders were first announced by the Pre-School Learning Alliance (PLA) at its annual AGM and conference in the summer.
The Alliance’s move to open up membership to childminders comes in wake of the news that the National Childminding Association is to change its name to the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years from the start of 2013 in a bid to attract members from across the early years sector.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, told Nursery World that its childminder membership package will be very competitive with exisitng offers, with practical support, a dedicated helpline and free training.
Currently, free Educare CPD training is only available to pre-school and nursery members. However, as of next year the Alliance will extend this offer to include dedicated training support for childminders.
Mr Leitch said, ‘As NCMA looks to widen its horizons away from its core constituents, we have been inundated with childminders asking for bespoke membership support. In the last six months we have seen a growing number of childminders join the Alliance, despite us not having a dedicated membership package in place.
‘Given the challenges that childminders are currently facing, including the threat of deregulation and loss of professional status, they need the very best representation to policy makers and ministers, so [the NCMA's change] is an interesting move at an interesting time.'
He added that nurseries and pre-schools will continue to be the primary focus for the Alliance. However, it would consider campaigning on behalf of childminders if there is no other support.
- The Pre-School Learning Alliance can be contacted on 020 7697 2595.