Sir George spent a morning with childminers in Andover, as part of National Childminding Week 2007.
With Lorna Wagner, the local Childminding Development and Network Co-ordinator, he started off with Joyce Heard in Fishers Close on Admirals Way, where Joyce looks after three children. He then went to the Smannell Road Church Centre, where the Andover Childminders Association were celebrating with an Ugly Bug Ball.
"Serena Balch, the Chairman of the local National Childminding Association, and her team did a splendid job putting on additional entertainment for the children, who dressed up as bugs - as did the childminders."
Sir George heard about the checks that are regularly made on both childminders and their homes, and the paperwork that each childminder did to assess the progress of the children they were looking after. "Childminding is the right answer for parents who want their children to be in a homely environment, with one person the child will get to know and trust. And increasingly childminders are trained to teach as well as to care. I was enormously impressed by what I saw. Childminding has become a well-qualified profession which can compete with alternative forms of day care that may be more expensive."