Ofsted has published its termly statistics on childcare providers and inspections in England covering the period between March and August 2017. During that time, there has been another two per cent drop in the number of registered childminders, bringing the total number to 42,743. This is the continuation of a downward trend, with a total drop of 26 per cent since 31 August 2012. However, the number of places offered by childminders has only decreased by 10 per cent, as childminders continue to offer more places.
The decline in the number of childminders is driven by more providers leaving than joining the childcare sector. For example, 2,320 childminders left the sector in April to August 2017 and 1,568 joined – a net decrease of 752. However, provider numbers have decreased at a slightly slower rate since December 2016.
The number of non-domestic providers such as nurseries and pre-schools has remained broadly the same overall, and there is no notable change in the number of home childcarers such as nannies. The number of childcare places offered by providers on the Early Years Register has remained fairly stable.
More than 9 in 10 providers on the Early Years Register were judged to be good or outstanding – 94 per cent of all providers. This up one per cent since March and 20 points since August 2012. There has been a steady rise in the proportion of providers judged good, and only a small increase in the proportion of providers judged outstanding.
Looking at childcare on non-domestic premises, 95 per cent were judged as good or outstanding at their most recent inspection, the same proportion as in March. For childminders, 93 per cent were judged good or outstanding, which was up one percentage point since March.
As at 31 August 2017, 11 childminder agencies were registered with Ofsted. Of these, six had childminders on roll and were therefore eligible for inspection. Two childminder agencies have been inspected to date and both have been judged ‘Effective’.
PACEY Chief Executive, Liz Bayram commented on the latest statistics:
“This further reduction in the number of registered childminders is deeply concerning. Childminders provide a high quality, flexible early education service. They are particularly good at promoting young children’s language development and behavioural self-regulation. Yet children and families are losing out on this unique form of childcare as childminder numbers continue to decline.
“Government can’t say that 30 hours is a success if it means we are losing more and more childminders from the profession. PACEY is clear what needs to be done to help halt this decline and make childminding sustainable. Childminders need more help with start-up costs and a removal of the key barriers preventing them from delivering funded places. This means a higher hourly rate; an end to delayed payments and burdensome red tape from local authorities; and a removal on the ban on childminders providing funded places to related children. These are all factors contributing to a decline in childminder morale and sustainability that government could resolve.
“We also know many childminders would like to deliver funded places but are not able to simply because no parent has asked them to. So childminding must also be actively championed by national and local government and the health service to parents, so they understand that childminders are Ofsted-registered and deliver the EYFS just like other settings.”