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DfE proposes Ofsted registration fee increases for early years providers

By Rachel Lawler
childcare providers Ofsted fee increase
The Department for Education has opened a consultation on proposed changes to the application fee and annual fee paid to Ofsted by early years providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register.
The consultation is proposing changes to the application fee and annual fee due to come into force in April 2020.
It is also seeking views on the principles that should “underpin a revised Early Years Register fee model” which will be introduced in April 2021.
Proposed changes
The DfE says that the cost of inspection and regulation is currently subsidised by tax-payers, with childcare providers paying less than an estimated 20% of the costs associated with the Early Years Register.
The proposed fee increase aims to help Ofsted recover more of the costs associated with inspection and regulation.
The proposed new fees, suggested in the consultation, are:


Childcare category

Current fee rate

(set in 2010)

Proposed application and annual fee from April 2020


Band 1





Band 2

Sessional providers





Sessional providers subject to transitional arrangements




Band 3

Full day care providers




Tiered pricing
Opened today, the consultation is looking for views on a revised fee model that will tier prices depending on the type of provider registering.
The consultation opened today and will be gathering views until 10am on 9 October 2019.
Anyone interested in early education and childcare, including local authorities, sector representatives and professional bodies based in England, are invited to submit their views.
Increased costs
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said that the increased fees should be accompanied by an increase in funding for the early years sector. He said: “It’s not surprising to hear that Ofsted want to increase registration fees - there’s no doubt that running costs will have increased in line with inflation in recent years. And it’s good to hear proposals that will tier prices depending on provider type.
“But it is staggering that after years of the government denying any negative impact of rising costs on providers, including dismissing those struggling as “outliers”, they’re now asking the sector to swallow yet another increase to their outgoings.
“It is appalling that thousands of providers have closed their doors and many thousands more are scraping by on funding rates calculated on operating costs from seven years ago.
“If the government can admit that Ofsted need a fee increase to keep pace with inflation then it’s beyond time they looked again at early years funding. That means not only an urgent increase in funding levels but also a commitment to review them annually – anything less would reek of double standards and consign many more providers to closure.”
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