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How to Choose a Childminder

Trio's Childminder Agency

Early Years Foundation Stage

Support with Payments

Real Life Stories


How to Choose a Childminder

All childminders MUST be registered with either Ofsted or a Childminder Agency.

Choosing a Childminder to care for your child or children can be a difficult time for parents. To help you at this difficult time, Trio have produced a free document to give you some background information on what childminders do and questions to ask to find the right childminder for you and your family.  Click here to download a copy.

You may also be interested to read our Real Life Stories from parents and childminders below.

Trio Childminder Agency

Trio's mission is to enable quality childcare. There is nowhere this is more important to us than in our agency.

Trio's Childminder Agency, is registered by Ofsted – registration number CA000005.

Childminders in our Agency are registered and inspected by ourselves rather than by Ofsted. In addition to fulfilling the criteria of the Early Years Foundation Stage (see below), Trio Agency Registered Childminders:

  • are only registered if we believe they have the potential to be good or better – only good is good enough
  • must undertake a minimum of 20 hours professional development (training) per year (not necessary for Ofsted Childminder)
  • have a named Agency contact that they can go to for advice and support (no equivalent for Ofsted Childminders)
  • will receive a Trio monitoring visit within 6 months of registration (no equivalent monitoring/support from Ofsted for its childminders)
  • will receive monthly contact from Trio (no equivalent contact from Ofsted for its childminders)
  • will receive a minimum of two visits annually - one of which will be an annual inspection (Ofsted registered Childminders are generally only inspected once every inspection cycle – 4 years)

Like Ofsted registered Childminders, Trio Agency Childminders are self-employed and are responsible for all business decisions, but unlike Ofsted childminders, they will be given paperwork to support them with their business in order that they can spend more time with the children in their care.

We currently register childminders in Swindon, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire.

For a list of Trio Agency Childminders, click here


Early Years Foundation Stage - EYFS

Every child is different - a unique individual - as any parent with more than one child in their family will know! Each child brings with her or him a very individual wealth of life experiences, relationships, knowledge, understanding and skills. This is true even for a baby of a few months. The EYFS, which is the statutory framework that all Early Years providers must follow, ensures that every child is provided with the best support for their learning and development, from birth to five and beyond.

For further information, visit: EYFS information for parents website

Support With Payments

Some 2- year old children are entitled to up to 15 hours early education for 38 weeks per year (i.e 570 hours per year). Criteria for this entitlement can be found at:

All 3 and 4- year old children are entitled to funding through the Early Years Entitlement of up to 15 hours per week 38 weeks per year (i.e. 570 hours per year), from the term after their third birthday.

Childminders can offer funded sessions for 3 & 4 year olds and qualifying 2 year olds.

You may be able to get help with payments for childcare through Childcare Vouchers or Working Tax credit. Further details can be found at:

Real Life Stories

Erin’s* Story (Parent)
Erin initially used a nursery for her son John’s 2 year old funded place but he hated it. He cried continually and she would be called in to pick him up. A friend told Erin about Jill, a childminder who took 2 funded children, and Erin decided to give it a go. At Jill’s home, John was happy from day one. Jill took John to places like Millett’s Farm and Santa’s grotto. Erin explains, “I can’t drive so couldn’t take him. With Jill he did the things I couldn’t but wanted to. I am so pleased he didn’t miss out”. As Erin couldn’t drive, Jill was also able to pick John up in the morning and drop him home at the end of the day. John struggled with his speech and Jill advised Erin on what to do to help his development. John, now 3, has left Jill’s care and has settled into preschool. His sister, Lucy has just started using her 2 year old funding with Jill.

“My only regret is that John didn’t go to a childminder sooner. Two year olds need a childminder’s home.” Erin (Mum of John and Lucy).

Anka’s* Story (Parent)
Anka explained that Eva’s Dad passed away when Eva was 1. Eva became very clingy and shy. Anka decided to use a childminder, Ali, for Eva’s funded 2-year old place and she settled in well. Ali shares information about how Eva is doing on a password protected website – Anka loves this as she can see new pictures each day. Before long Eva stopped being clingy and Anka says, “she started being her own person. Ali is brilliant. I can’t fault her. Eva learns so much with her.”

“If you’re thinking about using a childminder – GO FOR IT!” Anka, Mum of 2 year old funded child

Lily’s* Story (Childminder)
Lily has been childminding for 16 years and has been taking funded 2 year olds for 5 years. Over 50% of the funded 2 year olds she has cared for have previously failed to settle into pre-school, but have quickly settled with her. She puts this down to the fact she only has 3 young children at a time. She is able to offer flexibility in hours/days and occasionally offers a collection service. Activities include trips to the shops and library, forest school, sand and water play and growing vegetables and flowers. She values the fact that while she offers advice, parents/carers do not see her as an authority figure and realise she is there to help not to judge.

Amy’s* Story (Childminder)
A typical day includes going to a toddler group or park or soft play in the morning and then an activity in the afternoon. Typical activities include: cooking, making play dough, painting, messy play, role play, singing, reading etc. During the holidays we go out on trips on a daily basis. I have a good relationship with all my parents and always take time to listen to them. I have found that lone parents especially can just want someone to talk to - being a single parent myself, I can relate to this. Although I offer advice based on my experience, I do tell people it is my opinion and if necessary I point them in the direction of other professionals. I have had enquires from working parents who would like to use me for more than 15 hours so they can find employment - a choice they don't get through preschools which usually only offer morning or afternoon 3 hr sessions. Therefore a childminder is more flexible. I wish I had spaces to take on more children.

* Names changed for confidentiality