Ofsted has published its latest round of statistics on childcare providers and inspections. The figures show a three per cent reduction in the number of registered childminders between 31 March 2015 and 31 August 2015, a continuing trend that has seen numbers decrease for the last three years. However, despite this drop, the number of places offered by childminders has increased slightly by 55.
In contrast, the number of home childcarers (primarily nannies) and providers of childcare on domestic premises has increased slightly and is remaining stable over time.
The overall number of places on Ofsted’s Early Years Register has decreased by one per cent during this period. One of the main reasons for this is that schools are no longer required to register their early years provision for 2-year-olds separately.
The proportion of providers judged good or outstanding has increased each year of this inspection cycle – from 80% as at 31 August 2014 to 85% as at 31 August 2015. However, most of this increase came in the first half of the 2014-15 academic year.
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, said:
“It is concerning that the number of registered childminders continues to decline, but this needs to be balanced with an increase in places offered which points to the growing number of childminders who employ at least one childminding assistant.
“We know from our Building Blocks report that almost a fifth of 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 when the Government has made a commitment to double the number of free childcare places.
“PACEY is actively playing its part to promote professional development, advice and peer-to-peer support to all childcare professionals. But local authorities need to do more to manage their local childcare market, and encourage 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.
“Now is the time for Government to take action and fund childcare places adequately, and put in place a workforce development strategy to encourage new entrants as well as encourage those already working in the sector to stay in the profession so that children and their families can benefit from a choice of high quality childcare in a variety of settings that best meets their needs.”