This autumn marks the 40th anniversary of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY). Since 1977, PACEY has focused on supporting everyone working in childcare and early years to provide high quality care and early learning for children and families.
As technology and ways of working develop, professional bodies need to be innovative in how they support their members. Scroll down to find out how PACEY has been doing just that.
Childcarers have had to face much change over the past forty years, and this September’s roll-out of the government’s plans to double the entitlement to funded childcare to parents of three and four year olds is the latest challenge that childcarers have had to face. It has received a great deal of media coverage as childcare businesses have described the potential detrimental impact on their businesses.
Now more than ever before, childcarers need to focus on the business aspect of their work – as well as caring for children. Childminders are small business owners in their own right, yet developing business skills doesn’t tend to be the first thing you’d think of if you’re thinking of becoming a childminder.
Even for established childminders, PACEY research has found that 49 per cent of childminders felt they could do more to grow their business or make it more sustainable or profitable. 55 per cent said they could make improvements to how they run their business.
This summer PACEY launched a new, free online resource, Business Smart, to support childminders to develop their business skills, knowledge and confidence – at whatever stage of their career they are. Developed by childminders for childminders, it provides inspiration and ideas from other childminders as well as guidance on everything from the initial stages of writing a business plan to marketing, planning new services or expansion.
We were delighted to be able to work with Lloyds Bank to develop the toolkit, and funding was provided by a grant from the Department for Education.
We have had fantastic feedback on the toolkit so far. Childminders have benefited from everything about setting up and developing their childminding business all in one place – and having access to interactive tools such as a business health check and a cost calculator.
Business Smart is a great example of the continued innovations that PACEY has developed to help make childcarers’ working lives easier. We’ve been delighted that so many members of PACEY childminders have come forward to share their ideas and expertise. It is one benefit of a membership organisation that we are able to draw on the enthusiasms of our members to share with others. The toolkit is full of success stories that we hope will be a real inspiration to others as well as providing practical and accessible information and advice.
Delivering the new 30 hours funded childcare policy will continue to be a challenge for childcarers, but we hope that our Business Smart resource will help childminders to navigate some of the business choices available to them – and to ultimately thrive as successful small businesses in their own right who can continue their vital role in helping prepare children for a bright future.
Victoria Flint, Director of Programme Communications, PACEY