England has lost a quarter of its childminders in the last six years, according to new figures from education watchdog Ofsted.
There were 41,700 childminders registered with Ofsted in March 2018. This has dropped by 15,700 (27 per cent) since August 2012.
The statistics also showed that 94 per cent of childminders were judged good or outstanding in March 2018, compared to 95 per cent of nurseries, children’s centres, pre-schools and nursery schools.
Liz Bayram, chief executive of PACEY (Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years), pictured, lamented the fall in the number of childminders saying: ‘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 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.’
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, pictured, called it ‘incredibly concerning to see that the number of childminders has continued to decline’.
He added: ‘To lose 27 per cent of a workforce over less than six years is simply unacceptable, and it beggars belief that the government has still not seen fit to do anything to tackle this ongoing trend.
He urged the government to address concerns over ‘excessive paperwork’ and to substantially increase hourly funding rates as well as ‘removing unfair rules preventing childminders from claiming funding for related children’.