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Childminder Agencies

As set out in More Great Childcare, the Government is legislating for the creation of childminder agencies.

The Government wants agencies to:

•       act as a lever to improve the quality of provision

•        increase the number of childminders in the market, through removing barriers to entry and offering an alternative to working completely independently

•        see childminders who elect to join agencies provided with more support, including training and development

•        further improve the quality of childminders for parents.

The Department has now written to over 60 organisations who have expressed an interest in trialling elements of childminder agencies.  These are a mix of organisations, representing businesses (ranging from multi-national nursery chains to individual childminders), academies, maintained schools, national childcare organisations, children’s centres and local authorities.  The trials will begin later this summer.

The trials and the linked evaluation, will inform the development of regulations and the final version of the framework document.  The Department expect that anyone wishing to set up an agency, and have it registered with and inspected by Ofsted, will be able to do so from September 2014.

Next week we will be posting a set of Frequently Asked Questions on the Foundations website.

Report on early learning for two year olds

During 2012-13 the Department funded trials in ten local authorities to offer early learning to two-year-olds in specific areas.  The report draws together some of the learning from the trials around stimulating growth in the local market and increasing capacity in early education settings (including with childminders and schools); improving and sustaining good quality early education; and  encouraging parental demand for the new entitlement and overcoming barriers to take-up.

Visit the 2 year olds section of our website



Early Years Theme Grant holders

The Department for Education has announced 16 specific early years and childcare grants to voluntary and community organisations to support you.  Full details of these organisations and the focus of these grants can be found at:



CANparent Update

It’s been a busy period for the CANparent Trial since we last updated you in December 2012 so we wanted to tell you about the latest developments.  These include: the publication of the interim independent evaluation report findings, preparations for a one year review of the trial, the official launch of CANparent in Bristol, and the announcement of the Department’s preferred bidder to deliver parenting class market development services 2013-15.

Interim evaluation findings released

The evaluation interim report findings were officially released at a CANparent Evaluation Conference on 13 March 2013.  The trial’s Evaluation Team, led by Professor Geoff Lindsay from CEDAR presented a summary of the findings during this well-attended event.  Attendees, including both trial and non-trial providers, came to hear the findings and to discuss the implications for the trial and future market development.  Their feedback is being fed into the Department’s one year review of the trial.

You can access the full CANparent trial evaluation interim report from the Department’s website.

CANparent’s one year review

The Department is keen to understand what has worked well and less well, to inform further improvements for the second year of the trial.  This review will pull together learning from a number of areas including the independent evaluation, management information and feedback from partners, in particular trial participants.

Market development contract

The Department recently advertised a number of contracts open to voluntary and community sectors organisations.  Among these was a contract for supporting the development of the parenting classes market.  Following a competitive procurement process, a consortium led by Family Lives and supported by Ecorys, the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships and the Family and Parenting Institute, are the Department’s preferred bidder.

Bristol’s on YouTube

Bristol, the fourth trial area, has been under the spotlight recently.  The Family Strategic Partner recently commissioned a video which visited a parenting class at a children’s centre in Bristol.  It features a number of parents who talk about their experiences of parenting classes and includes insightful interviews with the facilitators of the session.  You can access the full video via YouTube.

The official launch this week received the full backing of the Bishop of Bristol, Bishop Mike Hill along with the Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson.

Keep in touch

You can keep in touch with CANparent via Twitter at #CANparent, the DfE Facebook page, or email us to receive regular updates.

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