As in previous years, childminders account for the majority of providers exiting the sector. There with 410 fewer childminders registered with Ofsted at 31 December 2017 than at 31 August 2017.
According to the statistics, as of 31 August there were 40,827 childminders registered with Ofsted. This fell to 40,417 childminders as of 31 December 2017. More childminders left than joined the sector.
The number of childcare providers on non-domestic premises (that is nurseries and pre-schools) also fell, the data shows.
As of 31 December, there were 24,313 providers on the Early Years Register, down from 24,382 at 31 August. During this time, 772 providers joined the sector, while 841 left.
This is in contrast to the previous Ofsted statistics which showed the number of nurseries had risen.
It follows reports suggesting that hundreds of nurseries are being forced to close because of the introduction of 30 hours childcare.
Despite the fall in providers on non-domestic settings, the number of nursery places has slightly increased and is up by 1,789 places. This rise resulted in an increase of childcare provision overall.
As of 31 December 2017, there 1,292,144 childcare places offered by providers on the Early Years Register, up from 1,290,556 at the end of August.
Ofsted says that the introduction of the 30 hours in September may have contributed to the slight rise in the number of nursery places.
Liz Bayram, chief executive of PACEY, said, 'Yet another fall in the number of registered childminders, bringing the total drop to 26 per cent since 2012, continues to concern PACEY as it means less families can choose childminding if they want to.
'While the number of childminding places hasn’t fallen as significantly is of little comfort. We have said before that childminding in England is at a crossroads. Nearly all (93 per cent) childminding settings are now ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ at a time when there is unprecedented demand for childcare. Childminding therefore should be thriving. However, as the latest statistics show, it is likely to continue to decline unless action is taken from Government and local authorities to make the funding sustainable for childminders to deliver the free entitlement; to actively encourage childminders to be part of local delivery plans and to improve parental awareness and understanding of childminding provision.'
The figures also show the proportion of childcare providers judged to be good or outstanding has remained at 94 per cent.
A breakdown by provider type shows 93 per cent of childminders were rated good or outstanding compared with 95 per cent of non-domestic providers.
Commenting on the latest Ofsted early years and childcare statistics, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said,'These figures make clear that nurseries, pre-schools and childminders are continuing to provide quality, passionate childcare that fosters in our youngest children the curiosity, skills and confidence a lifelong love of learning requires. And this is despite the barrage of challenges the sector currently faces. That over 9 in 10 settings are achieving Good and Outstanding ratings as they grapple with underfunding and resist the political drift towards schoolification and ever earlier assessment is testament to the dedication and quality of childcare providers in this country.'