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New statistics on childcare and early years providers

The Department for Education has published the results of its survey of childcare and early years providers in England, which it conducts every two years. Childcare and Early Years Providers: 2016 was carried out by Kantar Public (formerly TNS BMRB) between March and July 2016, through 9,945 telephone interviews with a wide range of providers.

The survey covers a wide range of areas, including key provider characteristics; childcare attendance and capacity; workforce composition and qualifications; financial information; and government-funded early education and childcare. Some of the key findings are summarised below.

The early years workforce

  • There were an estimated 452,100 early years staff in either group-based providers, school-based providers or working as childminders, and 3,092,100 childcare places across all provider types in 2016.
  • There has been an increase in the number of childminders since the last survey (46,600 up from 46,100) though this is still a drop of 2,200 since 2011.
  • One in five childminders (20%) worked with other registered childminders or childminding assistants.
  • Around one in seven (14%) childminders had an assistant who worked for them, and usually it was just 1. In total 9% of childminders had one assistant and 5% had 2 or more. This equates to 9,200 childminding assistants across England.
  • Childminders typically offered childcare for a longer period of time than group-based providers. While 13% of group-based full day providers offered provision for 11 hours or more, this was the case for one in five (20%) childminders.

Spare capacity

  • Three-quarters (75%) of group-based providers had some spare capacity.
  • There were 27,900 spare places for under school-aged children amongst childminders, an average of 1 spare place per childminder.
  • There was less spare capacity in providers rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted than those rated less highly.


  • A large percentage of early years staff were qualified to at least level 3, including 79% of PVI group providers and 69% of childminders.
  • Staff in school-based settings were more likely to be qualified to degree level (level 6) than those in other settings.


  • Half of PVI group-based providers and 21% of childminders increased their fees in the past year.

Funded early education and childcare

  • The vast majority of group-based providers (96%) and school-based providers (91%) offered the 15 hours of funded childcare, as did half of sampled childminders (51%).
  • At the time of survey, considerable numbers of providers did not know whether they planned to offer 30 hours funded childcare. Group-based providers were the most likely to say they did plan to (63% at time of survey), and childminders that they did not plan to (33%).