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.
- 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%).