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Government figures show childcare providers rising to the challenge of more free places

Government figures released in June show that the childcare sector has risen to the challenge of increased demand. A recent Department of Education [National Statistics: Provision for children under 5 years of age: January 2015] report revealed that more 3- and 4-year-olds than ever are getting free childcare.

However, despite this increased demand on providers, the figures showed that of the 1.3 million 3 and 4-year olds currently receiving funded early years education (650,000 3-year-olds and 675,000 4-year-olds), over 1 million were doing so in settings rated either 'good' or 'outstanding' by Ofsted.

Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, said:

“It is incredibly encouraging to note that despite the significant increase in numbers, childcare professionals are rising to the challenge, and maintaining the high quality of their settings.

“We believe that through investment in a workforce development strategy that supports childcare professionals to improve continually throughout their career we can continue to build on this impressive achievement throughout the sector.

“As our recent Building Blocks report shows, a more skilled workforce is a more confident one, and this confidence is vital in enabling the sector to grow and meet these challenges.

We will continue working with the Government with a view to seeing such a strategy put in place.”