Today Ofsted published its latest statistics on early years providers and inspections in England, which cover the period from 31 August to 31 December 2016.
- The number of childminders registered with Ofsted has continued to decrease, with a drop of 700 between August and December. Overall, childminder numbers have fallen by 23% since 31 August 2012. The largest regional decrease has been in the West Midlands (27%) and the smallest in Yorkshire and The Humber (20%). Looking at childminder data over time, Ofsted speculates that the drop is mainly driven by fewer childminders joining the sector, as the number leaving the sector has remained broadly constant.
- The number of non-domestic providers has remained stable at 26,900 over the last four months, but is down 3% since 31 August 2012 (though Ofsted speculates this could be due to the fact schools are no longer required to register their early years provision separately).
- The number of childcare places offered on the EYR has increased slightly to nearly 1.3 million due to an increase in places offered by childcare on non-domestic premises.
- Although childminder numbers have dropped by 23% since 2012, the number of childminder places have only decreased by 9%, with the average number of places offered by childminders has increased from 5.1 to 6.1.
- More than nine in 10 providers (93%) on the Early Years Register (EYR) were judged to be good or outstanding, up 2 points since August 2016 and up 19 points since 2012. This rise is mostly due to an increase in the proportion of providers judged good.
- 95% of providers of childcare on non-domestic premises were judged to be good or outstanding at their most recent inspection, which was the same proportion as in August. For childminders, 91% were judged good or outstanding, up 2 points from 89% in August. As non-domestic providers must be re-inspected within 12 months of receiving a grade below good, they have had more opportunity to demonstrate improvement than they did previously.
- New providers are more likely to be judged good or outstanding at their first inspection than they were four years ago.
- Providers leaving the sector are more likely to have had inspection judgments of RI or inadequate than those that remain.
- The proportion of good and outstanding providers is highest in the South West (95%) and lowest in London (90%). For childminders, the regional variations are particularly significant, with 93% of childminders in the South East graded good or outstanding compared to only 88% in London.
- As at 31 December 2016, nine childminder agencies were registered with Ofsted and active. This is an increase of one since August. Of these nine agencies, only one has been inspected and judged ‘Effective’.
Commenting on the report, Liz Bayram, PACEY's Chief Executive, said, "It is extremely encouraging to see an increase in the number of good and outstanding settings which demonstrates the commitment of the sector to focus on quality despite the significant erosion of local authority support for training.
"However, it is worrying to see yet again a decline in childminder numbers, and this has to be urgently addressed. Registered childminding will need to play a vital part in delivering 30 hours, yet we know from our recent research that many parents don’t realise they can access funded places from childminders, and that local authorities need to do more to support and promote childminders to encourage parents to use them.
"It is also vitally important that Government does much more to encourage new childminders into the sector. Re-launching the childcare business grants was a welcome first step, but when Childminder Agencies clearly aren’t the solution and there was no specific focus on recruiting and supporting childminders in the Government’s workforce strategy, we need urgent action to take childminding out of the shadows and to recognise the vital role childminders play in early education."