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No end to childminder slump in sight

Ofsted have released their statistics on childcare providers and inspections in England covering the period between 31 December 2017 and 31 March 2018. The statistics show another decrease in the number of registered childminders and a slight increase in non-domestic providers. A majority of providers (94 per cent) continue to be judged as good or outstanding, with the gap between non-domestic providers and childminders narrowing by one per cent. 

Number of providers

Since last term, there has been another one per cent decrease in the number of registered childminders, bringing the total number down to 41,700 (previously 42,300). This continues the downward trend, bringing the total drop in childminders up to 15,700 (27 per cent) since 31 August 2012. The decline in the number of childminders is due to more providers leaving than joining the sector. Out of those who have left the sector during this period, the average registration time was nine years. However, the number of places offered by childminders remains at a decrease of 11 per cent, as childminders continue to offer more places.

The number of non-domestic providers has increased to 27,200 with a larger number of providers joining than leaving the sector. However, since March 2015, the number of non-domestic providers has decreased by three per cent overall. 

Childcare on non-domestic premises are providing 80 per cent (1 million) of all childcare places, an increase of 2 per cent since August 2012. Childminders are providing 19 per cent (252,100) of all places, a decrease of 1 per cent since December 2017 and a total decrease of 2 points since August 2012. 

Inspection judgments

The proportion of childcare providers on the Early Years Register judged to be good or outstanding is 94 per cent, a 20 per cent increase from 31 August 2012. 

The number of childminders judged good or outstanding is 94 per cent (78 per cent good and 16 per cent outstanding), a one point increase since the end of December 2017. For childcare on non-domestic premises, 95 per cent were judged to be good or outstanding, (73 per cent good and 22 per cent outstanding). The gap between non-domestic providers and childminders has again narrowed by one point since 31 December 2017. 

All regions have similar proportions of providers judged good or outstanding with the North West and the South West having the highest proportions (96 per cent) and London the lowest (91 per cent).

Childminder Agencies

On 31 March 2018, 11 childminder agencies were registered with Ofsted. Of these, 7 had childminders on roll and were therefore eligible for inspection. Four childminder agencies have been inspected to date and all have been judged 'Effective'.

Commenting on the new statistics, PACEY Chief Executive Liz Bayram said:
“Once again, we have lost another 600 childminders in the last term – and well over a quarter (27 per cent) since 2012. It is a bitter irony that during this time, childminders have also seen the ‘grade gap’ with non-domestic providers narrow to only one per cent, with 94 per cent of childminders are now graded ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

There is action government and local authorities could take now to help stop this decline and PACEY is frustrated by the lack of urgent action. Like all small businesses, childminders tell us they need prompt and sustainable payment for the early education entitlement. This doesn’t happen for many of them and, with more now delivering funded places, this is becoming a critical concern.

We need more to be done to improve parental awareness and understanding of childminding, so current vacancies are filled and we need unfair policies – like the ban on claiming early education for related children – to be overturned. At a time when there is unprecedented demand for childcare, we should be doing all we can to support new childminders to register and to retain our current childminding community.”

Read the full report and join our related children campaign.