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Sunday, 06 February 2011 14:38

Childcare places drop significantly

More than 3,500 childcare places were lost in the last three months of 2010, according to the latest Ofsted statistics - more than three times the figure for the previous quarter.
According to the Registered Childcare Providers and Places report (see table in attachment, right), 562 nurseries opened and 652 nurseries closed between the end of September and the end of December 2010, leading to an overall loss of 90 settings and 3,133 childcare places.
This was mitigated by a small rise in the number of childminders, for the first time since Ofsted started publishing data a year ago showing the number of 'active' providers and a breakdown of the numbers of those joining and leaving the sector.
This is positive news for childminder numbers, which have been in decline for several years.
There are now 173 more people registered with Ofsted as currently working in childminding.Despite the rise, there are 521 fewer childminder places. This can be explained by the fact that childminders who left the sector in the previous quarter were providing more childcare places on average (4.5) than those childminders newly registered with Ofsted (3.5).
Overall, this means that there are now 3,632 fewer childcare places at the 30 December than at the end of September.
Ofsted also released statistics on the latest round of inspections, showing that just under seven in ten childcare providers achieved good or outstanding grades. There was also more than a 50 per cent drop in the number of inadequate childcare providers over the past 12 months.
Article by Catherine Gaunt
It is positive indication that providers of inadequate childcare provision are being closed down, however the reduction in childcare places is a significant problem where there is often an under supply already. This has a significant impact on families where both parents need to work in this economic climate. This may also mean that a rise in the requirement for nannies may be seen in the near future.