Are childminders prepared to reopen? We asked 150 across England and here are the results.

Last week we sent out a survey to our Chilminders after the Government announced plans to reopen settings – potentially as soon as June 1st (with a deadline for the final decision to be made on 28th May). The confusion across the sector was clear but with recent clarification on this guidance, we asked a series of “how prepared” questions to get specific insight into Childminders’ plans, thoughts, and overall trends towards the reopen.

Department for Education has made clear to PACEY here that:

If you are a childminder that is already open and currently caring for children of key workers or vulnerable children, you can stay open and continue caring for these children. However, you should not take on any more new non-eligible children.

If you are not currently open at all, you could now open for a child or children from ONE other household, providing it is in line with current guidelines to minimise the risk of spreading infection.

It is up to you as an individual to decide whether you want to open now or take time to prepare to open to all children from 1 June. This is all with the continued provison that the final decision on whether childcare settings and schools can reopen will be taken on 28 May and is dependent on the rate of COVID-19 infections continuing to decline at the current rate.

Here are the results of our survey… 

We asked 150 Childminders 

Are you currently open/looking after children?

Of 150 childminder respondents, 39% said they are currently looking after children and 59% not currently. 0% said other and 2% did not answer. Data accurate as of Monday 18th May. 

 

Are you looking after any key workers’ children currently?

Of 150 childminder respondents, 36% said they are currently looking after key workers’ children and 62% said they are not currently looking after any key worker’s children. 1% said other and 1% did not answer. Data accurate as of Monday 18th May.

We asked some scale-based questions. Those that answered 0-3 are “not confident”, 4-6 “unsure” 7-8 “fairly confident” and 9-10 “confident”. 

On a scale of 0-10 (10 being very and 0 not very), how prepared do you feel for reopening?

Of 150 childminder respondents, 52% gave the answer 5 or below to how prepared they feel for reopening. Furthermore, the average rating was 5.1 out of 10, with just 26% of all respondents answering 8 or above. This paints a very mixed and varied picture across the sector with some feeling very prepared and others not very. 

On a scale of 0-10 (10 being very and 0 not very) how likely are you to open fully in June in line with the current Government guidance?

Of 150 childminder respondents, 46% gave the answer 5 or below. Furthermore, the average rating was 5.7 or “unsure” out of 10, with 38%% of all respondents answering 8 or above or “confident and very confident to reopen”).

This short survey shows a very varied outlook on reopening but gives us more insights into the sector’s challenges and thoughts about the Government guidance. In addition to these questions, we received over 100 anonymous comments and additional notes, some of which we have highlighted below.

What Childminders are saying…

I feel ok about opening for the children but I’m nervous about school wraparound care as I have changed how I do drop offs and pickups, I can’t self distance from the babies and toddlers as they need more physical contact for reassurance. My job is to protect which I will do my best to do and parents understand and have the option to keep the children home.

 

I have nothing put in place at my setting by the Government to protect yourself and the children that will be coming to my setting . And that worries me.

 

I’m struggling with this: I don’t feel comfortable in sending my own children to school but I will have to do school runs and bring exposed children to my house. If I do school runs, I need to drag my children along to school anyway. Also, all children will have different different times to start and finish the day. I also pick up from a different school. I don’t know how can I manage it all without exposing children to various trips to schools. Also, I wasn’t eligible for financial help from the Government and if I don’t open my setting, I can’t justify receiving any money from parents. They have contributed with some money but it’s nothing near to what I was supposed to get. I just lost two children as parents don’t want to expose their children and they are coping fine working from home. I feel the pressure and I have started to think about a possible change of career.

 

Should children attending become slightly ill as they do it’s all going to be so hard to send everyone home for 2 weeks and close that’s just ridiculous. We will never be open and entitled to no income.

 

All of the parents I currently have on my books have been working from home before the lockdown and can continue to do so. I have been caring for an after school key workers child who is on the front line at a hospital. I would be very anxious about the children coming back and mixing with this child.

 

Never really closed down as I continued to look after a key worker child, I have made more provision in my garden for returning children to play safely and I have put processes into place regards temperature checking, and other processes that make me feel my setting is as safe as can be.

 

As long as we follow guidelines, use common sense, and not panic, we should be fine and so will the economy.

 

Relooking at my business model to see how many children I can safely look after. This will financially affect me. Also have One staff member that I might need to furlough as we are not sure how many parents will be returning. A high number of parents will continue to WFH.

 

We feel a September opening is more appropriate to protect staff and children. The number of positive cases are still very high. We feel very vulnerable and not safe yet.

 

Most of the families I offer care to have indicated that they will be working from home and will not need my services at first.

 

I have to open so I can earn however I would prefer to stay closed until September due to fear for myself and my own family.

 

I’ve undertaken training, put policies and procedures in place and feel ready to open

 

It is far too early to reopen schools and EY settings and risk staff and families’ lives. I feel very strongly about this and will not send my own children.

 

This survey is accurate as of 18th May, it is not strictly scientific but gives us a good view of what is clearly a very difficult and challenging time for Childminders. 

We’ll discuss this survey and a wider nursery based survey we sent from our parent company Connect Childcare (with an additional 650+ respondents) this Thursday at 2pm in our “Preparing to reopen – webinar”.   

 

Join our webinar this Thursday to discuss this survey and how others are preparing to reopen their doors on 1st June. 

 

Webinar link:Register For The Free Webinar 

This Thursday 21st May at 2pm BST with special guests from across the sector.