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Quality increasing in early years but childminder numbers continue to fall

Today Ofsted has published the latest Childcare Provider and Inspections report which highlights the increased quality of early years settings. As at 31 August this year, 91% of providers on the Early Years Register were judged by Ofsted as good or outstanding - a huge jump from 74% in 2012.

While the numbers of available childminder places have decreased by 1% since 31 March 2016, childminders still currently offer one fifth (257,500) of the total childcare places on the early years register.

However the number of registered childminders has fallen by 3% (1,601) in the same period; the latest figures showing a worrying decline of 22% in the number of childminders in the last four years.

82,696 childcare providers were registered with Ofsted as of 31 August 2016, this figure has only declined by a minimal amount (0.3%) since March.

Commenting on today’s figures, Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, said:

“It is extremely encouraging to see the growth of good and outstanding settings over the last few years, especially as the quality has increased despite the erosion of local authority support. That said, while the quality of the sector is clearly at an all-time high, the quantity of practitioners is not, and this has to be urgently addressed.

“The promised workforce development strategy must be the priority - to ensure that childminders have the support they need for training and development.

“Childminders provide a unique, flexible home based service to children and their families and they will be crucial to delivery of the 30 hour offer, which is drawing ever closer. Government figures state that 45,000 new places will be needed from September next year. It is more important than ever before that childminders get the support they need to ensure that they remain in business, feel confident about their future, as well as encouraging new entrants into the profession. PACEY will be focusing on how to support our members to understand the opportunity that 30 hours presents, and developing resources and business tools to help  you over the coming months.”