Childminder numbers in England have fallen by approximately 10,000 in the last five years according to figures reported by Labour in today's Guardian.
Speaking about the figures, Labour's shadow education secretary, Lucy Powell (pictured, right), said: "This is an embarrassing failure from a government that talks the talk on supporting families but continually under-delivers and disappoints.
"Childminder agencies were meant to be an innovative solution to help parents manage work and childcare flexibly, yet these figures show that the scheme has been a total flop, and childminder numbers are plummeting, driving up costs and increasing pressure on parents to find a place.
"Ministers are wholly failing to ensure parents have access to flexible, high-quality affordable childcare."
Speaking to The Guardian, PACEY's Director of Communications, Victoria Flint, said "Registered childminding will play a vital part in government plans to increase free early education to 30 hours a week. PACEY is calling for increased support for childminders both to ensure that childminders already in the sector remain in business and to feel confident about their future, as well as encouraging new entrants into the profession."
We have been keen to point out that while it is clear that the number of registered childminders has fallen in recent years, the number of childminding assistants is on the increase. Childminding business models are therefore changing, rather than being in steep decline.
Annette Kingsley-Scott, registered childminder and PACEY Local Facilitator, said "The job has changed so much. “Standards have gone up so much. Year on year they keep on rising. I see it as a good thing , but compared with 10 years ago it’s not the job it was. I’m passionate about my work, but it’s a challenging job. It’s not something to go into lightly. You have to go in with your eyes open."
Read the full piece in today's Guardian.