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Number of childcare providers drops by 8,800 in two years

By Rachel Lawler
 
funded childcare
The total number of childcare providers in England has fallen by 8,800 since 2016, according to statistics released by the Department for Education (DfE) today.
 
The statistics also show that almost half of all group-based providers that charge parents for childcare have increased their fees in the past year.
 
Childminder numbers
The statistics show a significant decrease in the number of childminders England – down from 46,000 in 2016 to 40,900 in 2018.
 
The number of group-based providers also fell from 25,700 in 2016 to 23,600 in 2018.


Fewer childcare places
The average number of registered places with group-based providers has also decreased in the past two years from 48 to 45. At the same time, the average number of registered places in school-based settings has increased from 37 up to 39.
 
The statistics also reveal a drop in the overall number of childcare places in England – down from 3,093,000 in 2016 to 2,841,300 in 2018.
 
Increasing fees
The statistics also show that almost half (47%) of group-based childcare providers that charge fees have increased these in the past 12 months. The same was true for 14% of school-based nurseries and 21% of childminders.
 
Provider closures
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said: “The sector has long watend that sustained childcare underfunding would lead to provider closures.
 
“As such, it is incredibly concerning to see the government’s own statistics estimating that we’ve lost almost ten thousand providers – accounting for over 250,000 childcare places – since 2016.
 
Underfunded policy
“With nearly half of group settings having increased fees in the past year, many parents are also feeling the impact of this underfunded government policy.
 
“These facts should now be impossible for ministers to ignore, not least when they’re coming from their own department.
 
"Study after study has shown that underfunding is having an impact on sustainability and is costing parents more money. It's time that the government stops pretending that all is fine, and starts taking action to ensure funding levels to ensure funding levels actually cover the true cost of delivering quality childcare.”
 
Labour comment
Tracy Brabin, shadow early years minister, commented: “We have repeatedly warned the Government that their underfunding of early years education and childcare would lead to providers closing their doors. But they refused to listen and today we see the consequences.
 
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