The EYE Childminding project is being launched by PACEY in the summer with almost £400k from the Department for Education.
On Monday (10 April), the DfE announced the award of grants to Action for Children and PACEY, which it said is to help 'up-skill' childminders and 'empower them' to deliver the extended free entitlement, as well as make sure their businesses are sustainable. It formed part of a larger announcement of an extra £50 million to facilitate a further 9,000 places for the 30 hours programme.
Through the EYE Childminding project, PACEY will enhance the support it offers to childminders to review their business sustainability and consider how delivering the funded places could work for their setting. This will be done through an online business sustainability toolkit and peer support, developed and delivered by childminders.
The project, which is being funded by the DfE until March 2018, will also aim to address a key concern of many childminders – a lack of parental demand for a funded place in their setting, by promoting childminding as a high-quality option for parents eligible for the 30 hours.
Findings from PACEY’s Building Blocks survey, published last month, revealed that many childminders have vacancies they would like to fill, and a third are considering delivering the 30 hours once it rolls out in September. It also found a further third of respondents are still weighing up the pros and cons of offering the extended entitlement.
A total of 1,888 childcare providers, including nurseries, pre-schools, childminders and nannies across England, responded to the survey.
Sue McVay, director of partnerships at PACEY who is leading the project, said, ‘While any registered childminder can offer a funded place, we know the vast majority do not and for many this is simply because they have never been asked. Our project will not only support childminders to review their business sustainability, it will also champion childminding to parents and to local authority decision makers.
‘Working in partnership with the Institute of Health Visiting and with other parent networks, including Netmums, PACEY will promote childminding as a high-quality option for parents wanting to use their 30 hours and will work with target local authorities, to ensure they have truly integrated childminding into their childcare offer, so parents can choose childminding or a combination of childminding and group care for their 30 hours.’