Ofsted figures show ongoing fall in childminders - but childcare places stable

The number of childminders has fallen by a fifth since 2015, the latest Ofsted statistics show.

Childminder numbers have been falling since 2015
Childminder numbers have been falling since 2015

The figures show that there were 37,600 childminders, as of 31 December 2019, 10,300 fewer childminders than there were  as of 31 August 2015, or equivalent to a drop of 22 per cent.

The latest statistics have been published as childminders face an unprecedented threat to their survival, and with thousands calling for support during the coronavirus crisis.

As we reported yesterday, more than 9,000 childminders having written to their local MP since the weekend on this issue.

Nursery World understands that the Government is due to make an announcement on support for self-employed workers imminently.

Meanwhile, the Ofsted figures show that the number of places offered by childminders has only decreased by 11 per cent since August 2015, because individual childminders are each offering a higher number of places on average - even though there are fewer childminders and fewer places offered by childminders overall.

The figures are from Ofsted statistics on childcare providers and inspections as at 31 December 2019.

Since the previous official statistics were published on 31 August 2019, 2,300 childminders have left the childcare sector and 1,500 joined – a net decrease of 900. 

Ofsted said that the childminders who left during this period had been registered for more than 10 years on average, based on the assumption that the exact date they left the register was 31 December 2019.

The statistics also show regional variations for childminders joining and leaving the sector.

The region with the highest number of joiners and leavers between 31 August and 31 December 2019 was London, while the lowest was recorded in the North East. The North East had the lowest net decrease in the number of childminders, down by 24 during the current reporting period. 

The region with the highest net decrease was the South East, with 147 fewer childminders since 31 August 2019.

Commenting, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said,These figures show why it’s so vital that the Government takes urgent action to support self-employed childminders during this crisis. 

For years now, we have seen a slow but steady decline in the number of childminders operating in the sector. With so many heavily reliant on parent fees for their income - which will fall dramatically following the Government instruction to all childcare providers to close to all but key workers and vulnerable children - without additional financial support, many will not be able to survive this difficult period.’

Childminder movement within successive September to December periods


Source: Ofsted

Childcare places

Despite the ongoing fall in childminders, the number of childcare places has remained relatively stable since August 2015, which Ofsted said was due to a slight increase in the number of places offered at non-domestic premises (i.e nurseries and pre-schools).

The figures show that there was a net increase of 200 more early years settings between the end of March and end of December 2019.

There were 27,500 providers on 31 December 2019, up by 200 providers since 31 March 2019. Numbers are fairly stable over time, with no change since 31 August 2015.

Childminder places decreased between August and December 2019. However, there was a slight increase in the number of places offered by childcare on non-domestic premises. This meant that the overall number of places decreased by around 6,400 (less than 1 per cent) since August 2019.

On 31 December 2019, there were 1.3 million childcare places offered by providers on the Early Years Register.

Childcare on non-domestic premises

Providers on non-domestic premises offered 82 per cent (1.1 million) of all childcare places, which is an increase of 2 percentage points since August 2015. On average, each provider offered 45 places.


Childminders offered 18 per cent (231,200) of all places, a decrease of 3 percentage points since August 2015. The average number of places offered by childminders was 6.5.

Inspection judgements

The Ofsted statistics also include the latest data on early years inspection judgements.

Between 1 September and 31 December 2019, Ofsted has carried out 3,600 full Early Years Register (EYR) inspections under the new Education Inspection Framework (EIF). Of these, 87 per ent had a judgement of good or outstanding. Ofsted said this was the same proportion recorded in the corresponding reporting period in 2018.

Childcare on non-domestic premises

At their most recent inspection, 97 per cent of nurseries were good or outstanding, unchanged since 31 August 2019. This was made up of 74 per cent of childcare on non-domestic premises judged good and 23 per cent outstanding.


At their most recent inspection, 95 per cent were good or outstanding, the same proportion as the end of August 2019. This was made up of 79 per cent of childminders judged good and 17 per cent judged outstanding.

© MA Education 2020. Published by MA Education Limited, St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, London SE24 0PB, a company registered in England and Wales no. 04002826. MA Education is part of the Mark Allen Group. – All Rights Reserved