Childminder numbers fall by a fifth since 2015
New figures from Ofsted have revealed that the number of childminders registered with the inspectorate fallen by a fifth since 2015.
The data shows there were 38,500 childminders registered with Ofsted on 31 August — 500 fewer than the number in March this year.
Reflecting on the latest figures, Alliance chief executive Neil Leitch warned that political parties were not taking the situation seriously, despite childcare becoming a central isse during the general election.
He warned that: "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 has 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.”