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NEWS: Ofsted report shows decline in providers in England

This week Ofsted published its latest main findings report on early years and childcare providers in England. The report outlines the number of providers that have registered with Ofsted (joiners) and the number that have left (leavers) between 31 August 2020 and 31 March 2021.

According to the figures, at the end of March 2021 there were 72,000 registered providers in England, a loss of over 3,000 since 31 August 2020. This is driven mainly by a reduction in the number of childminders who make up around half of all registered providers. The figures continue a long-term trend in falling provider numbers due to more people leaving the sector than joining. 

The proportion of providers in England that were judged good or outstanding by Ofsted remains unchanged at 96%. This is because full graded inspections did not take place during this time due to the pandemic.

You can find the full Ofsted report and underlying data here.

Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:

 "This is no surprise to PACEY as this decline in England has been taking place over many years now. The pandemic has accelerated it with many registered childminders pushed to breaking point due to the pandemic, facing reduced income due temporary closures and shifts in family working patterns that are changing childcare needs. This disruption is likely to continue for many more months to come.

"We continue to push the Department for Education to put in place a sustained and long-term plan to support childcare and early years providers including childminders to thrive. This starts with increasing the levels of funding for providers delivering early education entitlements. Childminding is in decline because less people are choosing it as a profession because it is undervalued and poorly paid.

"Time and time again we hear from childminders that they can earn more working in the local supermarket. So we have to encourage more childminder registrations, but as part of a wider plan to address the sector’s low pay, low morale and high staff turnover. If we don’t, then our youngest children won’t receive the high quality early education that they deserve."