Childminders concerned over potential rise in Ofsted registration fees
PUBLISHED: 13:47 06 August 2019 | UPDATED: 13:47 06 August 2019
Archant Norfolk 2017
Parents could face a hike in childcare fees amid a consultation to increase Ofsted registration fees.
And in response to that there are fears from childminders in Norfolk that any increase could add extra financial burdens on them.
The Ofsted consultation closes on October 9 and it is proposed that the annual registration fee, which has not increased since 2010, for childminders would increase from £35 to £43 from April 2020.
Laura King, 63, a Norwich childminder of 38 years, said: "Putting up the fees is not going to help the situation for childminders who are struggling as it is. There is a possibility that would have a knock-on effect on parents."
Mrs King, from Lambert Road in Sprowston, said childminders in Norfolk were already "losing out" financially because of the 30 hours free childcare for three-four-year-olds, which started in September 2017.
The base rate given out by central government via Norfolk County Council to nurseries, pre-schools and childminders in the county is £3.65 but that can increase to £4.05.
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Mrs King, who loses out on 50p per hour per chid who receives the funding, said: "The 30 hours funding is causing problems. This is why a lot of childminders are not able to sustain their businesses unless they are charging for extras."
She added she had "lost some really good colleagues" because of the pressure of funding-related paperwork.
She added it was important for parents to have freedom of choice for childcare and said childminding offered a "unique" homely environment.
Another Sprowston childminder, Karen Ryan, 60, from Cromwell Road, said: "I don't like the idea of having to pay more. I'm running at a loss on the 30 hours funding. I know that other childminders are struggling."
In June 2019 there were 877 childcare providers across Norfolk.
Out of these 877 providers, 465 were domestic childminders, compared with 534 in September 2017.
A Department for Education spokesman said: "We recognise the sector may need time to adjust to any proposed increase next year, which is why we are engaging with them now."