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Ofsted reports a decline in childminders

Ofsted has published its latest round of statistics on childcare providers and inspections. The figures show a two per cent reduction in the number of registered childminders between 31 August 2015 and 31 December 2015, a continuing trend that has seen the number of childminders decrease by 10,000 since 2012. However, despite this drop, childminders are offering 581 more places since August.

In contrast, the number of home childcarers (primarily nannies) and providers of childcare on non-domestic premises (such as nurseries) has remained more stable over time.

The proportion of providers judged good or outstanding has remained at 85% and is currently the largest proportion ever. Inspections from 1 September 2015 onwards were carried out under the new Common Inspection Framework (CIF), but this has not resulted in a significant change in inspection results.

As at 31 December 2015 there were seven childminder agencies registered with Ofsted, but none had been inspected.

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

“The latest figures reinforce that the number of registered childminders continues to decline. But we have also seen a substantial increase of places available to parents within childminder settings.  The nature of childminding is changing, with settings increasing capacity by taking on childminding assistants.

“It has been encouraging to see the growth of good and outstanding settings over the last few years. But, this is under threat with the erosion of local authority support and we are calling for the Government through the promised workforce development strategy to ensure that childminders have more support for training and development.

 “We need urgent action to attract childminders into the sector and to encourage those already working in the profession to stay. We know that childminder agencies in their current form are not the solution. Childminders provide a unique, flexible home based service to children and their families and they will be crucial to delivery of the Government’s 30 hour offer.”