Ofsted has published its latest round of statistics on childcare providers and inspections. The latest figures have revealed a fall of 500 registered childminders to 43,500 between December 2016 and March 2017. This is the continuation of a downward trend, with a total drop of 24% since 31 August 2012.
Similarly, the number of registered home childcarers (primarily nannies) has decreased by 100 since 31 December 2016 to 10,700, remaining fairly stable over time. In contrast, the number of non-domestic providers (such as nurseries) has increased by 100 in the first three months of 2017 to 27,000 but is down 3% since 31 August 2012.
Despite the steady drop in providers, primarily childminders, the number of childcare places offered by providers on the Early Years Register has remained broadly stable.
As at 31 March 2017, the proportion of childcare providers on the Early Years Register judged to be good or outstanding was 93%, up from 74% as at 31 August 2012.
Looking at childcare on non-domestic premises, 95% were judged as good or outstanding at their most recent inspection, the same proportion as the end of 2016. For childminders, 92% were judged good or outstanding, which was up one percentage point since the end of 2016.
Since September 2016, the 30 hours free childcare scheme has been piloted in 8 local authorities (LAs). Inspected providers saw an average increase of 6% in piloted areas and across England, childcare places have increased by 1% within the same time period. This suggests that providers in the pilot areas may have increased their supply of places as a result of the 30 hours pilot.
PACEY Chief Executive, Liz Bayram comments on the latest stats:
"This latest Ofsted data just reinforces PACEY's previous call for urgent action at national and local government level. Without renewed efforts to recruit new childminders and to support current childminders to remain in the profession, children and families will not benefit from thus quality, flexible form of childcare.
The 30 hours offer could support more childminders to run sustainable businesses but only if local funding levels are high enough and there is an ongoing local focus on supporting individuals to enter and stay in childminding. We know some local authorities do this really well. But they are the minority and we need the DfE to do more to champion childminding with local authorities and, through its workforce plans, show how childminding is valued and rewarded as a profession. Without this action, sadly this trend is only set to continue."
Are you a childminder who has left the sector?
Family and Childcare Trust is conducting research into why people stop working as childminders, on behalf of the Greater London Authority. If you have any connections with former London childminders, please get in touch with Sam Shorto. An incentive will be paid for childminders who participate in the research.