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'It's such a shame' - Norfolk couple say numbers of childminders are declining

PUBLISHED: 14:18 13 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:18 13 September 2019

Inigo and Donna Visiers childminding at their home in the village of Bracon Ash. Photo: Inigo and Donna Visiers

Inigo and Donna Visiers childminding at their home in the village of Bracon Ash. Photo: Inigo and Donna Visiers

Inigo and Donna Visiers

A Norfolk couple who have received an outstanding Ofsted report say it is sad that the number of childminders is declining.

Donna and Inigo Visiers, have been awarded outstanding by Ofsted for their childminding services. Photo: Donna and Inigo VisiersDonna and Inigo Visiers, have been awarded outstanding by Ofsted for their childminding services. Photo: Donna and Inigo Visiers

Donna and Inigo Visiers, from the village of Bracon Ash, have been childminding for a combined total of 20 years and say they love their job.

Ms Visiers has just received her third 'outstanding' since 2009 and her husband his second from the education watchdog.

But despite being thrilled with their results, the couple say that the number of childminders is declining because of competition from nurseries and their workload.

Mrs Visiers said: "We are still around but we are few in numbers and it is difficult to compete with nurseries who take a lot of the children.

Children playing at the home of Donna and Inigo Visiers, whose childminding services have been awarded 'outstanding' by Ofsted , Photo: Donna and Inigo VisiersChildren playing at the home of Donna and Inigo Visiers, whose childminding services have been awarded 'outstanding' by Ofsted , Photo: Donna and Inigo Visiers

"Nurseries also have a lot of people to do different jobs. But as a childminder you have to do everything, make dinners, do the cleaning, plan the curriculum, do the finances, accounts and paperwork.

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"There is a lot of work, which is why we think people are put off."

The couple child mind from their home, in School Road, and say that they can offer a warm and homely environment, with flexible hours to fit around busy parents.

Children playing at the home of Donna and Inigo Visiers, whose childminding services have been awarded 'outstanding' by Ofsted , Photo: Donna and Inigo VisiersChildren playing at the home of Donna and Inigo Visiers, whose childminding services have been awarded 'outstanding' by Ofsted , Photo: Donna and Inigo Visiers

"We can focus on the individual needs of each child and we love it because we have great fun with them and we get to watch them develop," said Mrs Visiers.

"But we can also be flexible to a families needs outside of the hours of normal nurseries, which can be a huge help to them."

Gemma Easterbrook, whose two children Florence, 7, and Arthur, 4, use their services, said: "Donna and Inigo are an extension of our family and the care they provide is second to none. They have cared for our two children as if they were their own and we simply would not be without them."

Childminders are inspected under the same regulations as nurseries and follow the same curriculum, as well as having home inspections to make sure it is a safe environment for children.

Mrs Visiers added: "We get regular phone calls and we accept children all throughout the year at any time.

"I hope that childminding will continue because it will be sad to lose such a fantastic service for children, parents and for us."

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