Childminder Leavers Drive Overall Decline in Numbers

Childminder Leavers Drive Overall Decline in Numbers

In addition to is pandemic analysis, Ofsted’s annual report also looked at the overall picture of the childcare sector. Alarmingly but perhaps unsurprisingly, there were far more leavers than joiners in 2020-21, as many who might otherwise have come into the sector waited to see what was happening with Covid-19. Even so, there were well over 6,000 new registrations, but not enough to balance the nearly 12,000 who left the sector.

Earlier this year the government was criticised for dismissing concerns about the shrinking sector by pointing out that it is largely driven by reducing childminder numbers. While this is true, and this year childminder numbers dropped by 8%,  compared with a 5% fall in 2019-20, it should not be overlooked that they remain extremely popular with parents. It might be the case that nurseries and other childcare providers are able to ensure that most children are not left without a place, but it will not be the case everywhere. Research published last month in fact suggested that there are now significant and increasing regional differences in childcare availability.

Ordinarily Ofsted’s report would also reflect changes to the inspection ratings compared with previous years, but with very few inspections carried out during the 2020-21 period, the figures remain very close to those of 2019-20.