At the moment, childminders are allowed to care for 6 children under the age of 8, 3 of whom may be under 5 and 1 of whom may be under 1. This is the basic legal ratio allowed for childminders.

It does not take into account the childminder's experience, how long the childminder has been minding, or his or her Ofsted grade. It takes no notice of whether a childminder works alone or with another childminder.

There is a great shortage of childcare in my area and I am having to turn business away because I am not allowed to care for extra children without OFSTED's express and very specific permission, granted only in exceptional circumstances. This not only restricts my business, it also restricts parental choice.

I would like to see the Government allow experienced childminders with Good or Outstanding grades to increase their ratio by law, without having to request a variation from OFSTED. .

Why is this idea important?

Raising ratios would instantly create more childcare spaces and allow childminders to increase their income with minimum effort from the Government. It would also serve as an encouragement for childminders to achieve the higher grades of inspection. Parents and OFSTED would be reassured that the childminder could cope with greater numbers because of their experience and grade.

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