Alliance comments on data showing 4% of early years settings closed in just 11 months

Commenting, Early Years Alliance chief executive, Neil Leitch, said:

"Earlier today, we released shocking documents showing that the government has been knowingly underfunding the early years sector for years. These figures show the consequences of that shameful decision.

"With nearly 400 group providers and 2,000 childminders lost in just 11 months, how much more proof is needed that sector funding and the support the early years has received during the pandemic are both wholly inadequate?

"Every nursery, pre-school and childminder is of huge value to the community they serve, the parents they support and the children they educate. That so many quality providers have fallen by the wayside is a tragic and yet totally inevitable result of this government’s early years policy. If these figures don’t open the eyes of ministers to the need for a funding review, who knows what will."



  • Ofsted figures published today have shown that 4% of providers on the Early Years Register have closed in just 11 months, with a net loss of 221 childminders and 21 group settings in the month of May alone.
  • Since June 2020 the sector has lost 1,807 childminders (5.2% of the total), along with 370 group settings (1.6% of all group settings on the Early Years Register).
  • The full dataset on childcare joiners and leavers from July 2020 to May 2021 are available to download here: Joiners and leavers in the childcare sector - GOV.UK (
  • The data has been published on the same day as the Early Years Alliance released documents it received following a two-year FOI battle with the DfE, showing that government ministers were aware of a deliberate strategy of underfunding three- and four-year old early entitlement places.
  • In 2020/21 providers were paid less than two thirds of what civil servants estimated to be the true cost of provision (£4.89 per child per hour on average, versus the £7.49 it would cost to "fully fund" the 30-hour childcare offer). More information is available here: Private government documents show ministers knew that underfunding early years would mean higher childcare costs for parents | early years alliance (