Ofsted has published its Childcare and Inspection Outcomes (as at March 2015), highlighting a reduction in the number of Ofsted registered childminders.
The statistics show a reduction in the number of registered childminders by seven per cent, between March 2014 and March 2015. However, the number of providers on non-domestic premises has increased by one per cent over the same period.
The number of places offered by registered providers has increased marginally, at less than one percent, despite there being 4,017 fewer registered childcare practitioners since March 2014.
In contrast, the percentage of providers judged to be ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted has increased from 78 percent over the same period.
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, said:
“We are of course concerned to see a further decline in the number of registered childminders, but this needs to be balanced with the growing number of childminders now employing at least one childminding assistant, so that they can offer more places
“Nevertheless, our recent Building Blocks research revealed a fifth of home-based providers were unsure as to whether they would still be working in the profession in 12 months' time, and this should be a cause for serious concern for a Government keen to drive through a significant increase in the number of free childcare places.
“It is the duty and responsibility of local authorities to actively manage their local childcare market, and this includes encouraging more people to become childminders. Without this, the number of registered childminders is likely to continue to fall, and families will lose the benefit of this quality, flexible provision.
“The extension of the free entitlement presents a great opportunity for local authorities to support different settings to work in partnership to share delivery, stretching Early Years Education (EYE) hours through the whole year, and supporting families with flexible support.
“PACEY is also playing its part; actively promoting professional development, advice, and peer-to-peer support, to all childcare professionals. Not only because it improves outcomes for children, but because it supports settings to be confident about growing their businesses in the future, to remain sustainable, and to rise to new challenges.”