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OFSTED requires that childminders inviting children into their home carry out a risk assessment in order to identify potential danger, this is a daunting part of preparing to be a childminder - the assessment is evaluated during a home visit.
Risk assessment is not about eliminating risk, but making sure that you are aware of the areas of your home and garden that pose a danger so that you can manage it properly. If you have identified areas that pose a threat to little ones, then you will be aware of those dangers and will manage the situation appropriately.
The Health and Safety Executive recommend five simple steps to undertaking a risk assessment:-
- Identify the hazards
- Decide who might be harmed and how
- Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
- Record your findings and implement them
- Review your assessment and update if necessary
For your OFSTED nspection, you should go into as much detail as possible about the risks in your home. You will need to document the risks in each room that children can enter to show that you are aware of the dangers, and you must cite the actions that you will take to prevent accidents from happening. You will be able to find risk assessment templates from childminding associations, but there is no templated way to fill these in because risks vary in every different situation.
As well as covering risks associated within your home, you must also carry out a risk assessment for your garden and for outings that you take your children on. If you do a school run for older children, taking younger ones with you, then that will also need to feature in your assessment.
Most local authorities offer training for risk assessment which you can often attend for free. They will teach you about how to construct a risk assessment document, how to identify risk within a setting and steps to take to minimise risk.
Having completed your risk assessment, you must revisit it regularly and keep it up to date. Make a point of reading through the documents that form your risk assessment at least once a month. This will reinforce your understanding of the risks, but you will also find it easy to add in new risks you identify along the way, making for an even more thorough and comprehensive document. If you don't keep your risk documentation up to date then you will have more work revising it when your next inspection comes round.