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Three out of four eligible children take up 30 hours, with greater role for childminders

The Department for Education have released the 'National Statistics for Education Provision: children under 5 years of age' otherwise known as the Early Years Census. The statistics reveal that a majority of eligible two-, three-, and four-year-olds are accessing some funded early education in a good or outstanding setting. The DfE estimates that three out of four eligible children are taking up 30 hours. Childminder participation in the delivery of funded places has increased, with at least seven per cent of three-year-olds and six per cent of four-year-olds taking up their 30 hour place with a childminder.

Two year old offer

  • 72 per cent of eligible two-year-olds took up some funded early education, up from 71 per cent in 2017.
  • Two-year-olds were slightly more likely to take up their funded place in a maintained nursery school or nursery class.

Universal entitlement

  • 94 per cent of all three- and four-year olds benefitted from some funded early education – the same rate as last year.
  • 92 per cent of three-year-olds took up some funded early education, down one per cent since last year
    • The majority of children are taking up their universal entitlement with private and voluntary providers, including childminders. The proportion attending maintained nursery schools and nursery classes in primary schools have decreased slightly over the last five years.
  • 95 per cent of four-year-olds took up some funded early education, the same as last year
    • The proportional split of four-year-olds across provider types has remained broadly similar in recent years with the majority accessing their universal entitlement in reception classes.

30 hours funding

  • As of January 2018, 296,920 three- and four-year-old children were taking up the 30 hour funding. The DfE estimates that three out of four eligible children are taking up 30 hours.
  • The majority of extended entitlement was provided at private and voluntary providers, including childminders – 83 per cent of three-year-olds and 76 per cent of four-year-olds in a 30 hour place.
  • 82 per cent of three-year-olds benefitted from some extended entitlement at private and voluntary providers, including childminders.
  • This is reflected by the higher number of children in a 30 hour place with childminders – seven per cent of three-year-olds and six per cent of four-year-olds (for 15 hours, the figure is two per cent and one per cent).
  • However, the number of children accessing funding from a childminder is likely to be even higher due to the fact that in instances where a child splits their entitlement over more than one provider, only the provider where they spend the majority of their time is counted.
  • The release attributes the higher number of providers delivering all entitlements to a rise in the number of childminders participating in the scheme.

Find support on 30 hours.

Ofsted ratings

  • 95 per cent of two-year-olds and 93 per cent of three- and four-year-olds took up a funded place at a setting rated good or outstanding.
  • For a 30 hours place, the figure is three points higher at  96 per cent.
  • Only one per cent of children across each entitlement above were at a setting rated inadequate.

PACEY (Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years) Chief Executive Liz Bayram comments:

“It is good news that a majority of three- and four-year-olds are taking up some form of funded early education in a good or outstanding setting. However, it is concerning that uptake of the two-year-old offer has remained static. The Government should investigate the reasons behind the stall as a matter of urgency.

“PACEY are pleased to see evidence that childminders – who have historically  been underrepresented in the delivery of the funded entitlements –  are playing a bigger role, particularly in 30 hours. We urge government and local authorities to build on this progress by removing the key barriers preventing more being involved: low funding rates, delayed payments and other ‘red tape’. More also needs to be done to raise awareness among parents that childminders can provide funded places, on their own or in partnership with other settings.”