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Drop in childminders continues as inspection judgements improve

Ofsted has published its termly statistics on childcare providers and inspections in England covering the period between 31 August 2017 and 31 December 2017. The statistics show another slight decrease in the number of registered childminders, and an increase in the number of non-domestic providers. A majority of providers (94 per cent) continue to be good or outstanding, and the gap between non-domestic providers and childminders has narrowed by one per cent.

Number of providers

Since last term, there has been another one per cent drop in the number of registered childminders, bringing the total number to 42,300. This is the continuation of a downward trend, with a total drop of 15,100 (26 per cent) since 31 August 2012. The decline in childminders has been driven by more providers leaving than joining the childcare sector. However, the number of places offered by childminders has only decreased by 11 per cent, as childminders continue to offer more places.

The number of non-domestic providers such as nurseries and pre-schools has increased by 100 since last term. In contrast to childminders, the number of non-domestic providers has remained fairly stable over time, and only decreased by three per cent since August 2012.

Childcare on non-domestic premises now provide 80 per cent (1.0 million) of all childcare places, which is an increase of two points since August 2012. Childminders offer 20 per cent (253,500) of all places, a decrease of two points since 2012.

Inspection judgments

The proportion of childcare providers on the Early Years Register judged to be good or outstanding is 94 per cent (74 per cent good and 22 per cent outstanding). This has been consistent since last term, but represents an increase of 20 percentage points since August 2012.

The proportion of childminders judged good or outstanding now stands at 93 per cent (78 per cent good and 16 per cent outstanding). For non-domestic providers, the number is 95 per cent (74 per cent good and 22 per cent outstanding). This gap between non-domestic providers and childminders has narrowed by one point since 31 August 2017.

Of the 400 maintained nursery schools in England, 98 per cent have received a grade of good or outstanding at their most recent inspection. Of all early years provision inspected in maintained schools and academies, 90 per cent were judged good or outstanding on 31 December 2017 – unchanged since last term.

On 31 December 2017, all regions in England had fairly similar proportions of providers judged good or outstanding. However, the North West has the highest proportion (96 per cent) and London the lowest (91 per cent).

Childminder agencies

On 31 December 2017, 11 childminder agencies were registered with Ofsted. Of these, six 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:
“Yet another fall in the number of registered childminders, bringing the total drop to 26% since 2012, continues to concern PACEY as it means less families can choose childminding if they want to. Whilst the number of childminding places hasn’t fallen as significantly is of little comfort. We have said before that childminding in England is at a crossroads. Nearly all (93%) childminding settings are now ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ at a time when there is unprecedented demand for childcare. Childminding therefore should be thriving. However, as the latest statistics show, it is likely to continue to decline unless action is taken from government and local authorities to make the funding sustainable for childminders to deliver the free entitlement; to actively encourage childminders to be part of local delivery plans and to improve parental awareness and understanding of childminding provision.”