Childminder numbers fall by a fifth, Alliance responds

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said:

"An early years sector without childminders seemed unthinkable a few years ago but that is what these statistics show we are facing.

“Anyone following the childcare funding crisis in recent years will have no problem identifying the culprit. The pressure has been huge, and it’s been particularly hard for those smaller providers who offer fewer places with higher overheads.

“No one thinks this is a sustainable situation, but we are yet to have a serious conversation about it during this election. Instead, each party has been trying to outdo the other with ever more generous offers of ‘free childcare’. That’s not good enough. If we want flexible, high-quality childcare that puts the child’s interests first then we need think about how we get there.

“I always say that childminders are canaries in the coalmine when it comes to the challenges facing the sector and it’s time we looked properly at why so many are leaving. That means addressing properly the early years funding shortfall and thinking carefully about early years policy, rather than carrying on with this apparently never-ending bonanza of ‘free childcare’ in the name of winning votes.”


About the Alliance

  • The Early Years Alliance is the largest and most representative early years membership organisation in England. A registered educational charity, it also provides high-quality affordable childcare and education to support children and families in areas of deprivation throughout the country.
  • The Alliance represents 14,000 members and supports them to deliver care and learning to more than 800,000 families every year. We deliver family learning projects, offer information and advice, produce specialist publications, run acclaimed training programmes and campaign to influence early years policy and practice.
  • The Alliance website is