Ofsted figures show less registered childminders


The number of childminders registered with Ofsted has fallen by more than 1,000, according to the latest figures released by the inspectorate.

The Registered Childcare Providers and Places statistics - now published by Ofsted twice a year rather than quarterly - show that there are 80,619 providers on the Early Years Register providing a total of 1,309,339 places.

There are now 1,048 fewer registered childminders at the end of March than there were at the end of September 2012.

On 30 September there were 55,826 childminders compared with 54,778 at the end of March. There were a total of 3,520 leavers and 2,472 joiners.

According to the figures, the number of nursery providers has fallen marginally over the last six months from 25,705 settings to 25,688. There were 1,118 leavers and 1,101 joiners

There has also been a very small decline in nursery places since March last year. As of 31 March 2013, there were 442 fewer places, bringing the total number of places provided by nurseries to 1,029,219 as of the end of March.

Overall, the number of early years registered childcare places has decreased by 0.4 per cent over the six month period, a net decrease of 4,913 places.

The number of childminders running a business together (categorised  as childcare on domestic premises) is largely the same as this time last year, with 142 providers, providing 2,698 places.

Comparing the statistics with March 2012, there has been a loss of 1,569 childminders and the number of nurseries has also fallen by 112 settings.

Catherine Farrell, joint chief executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), said: "We know that in these difficult economic times, families value the flexible, high-quality childcare and early learning that childminders provide and any fall in childminder numbers is unwelcome news

She went on to say: "If current Government proposals to withdraw local authority support to childminders and introduce childminding agencies proceed as planned, they will only serve to further threaten the sustainability of the profession."