About Early Years report
The annual About Early Years report has recently been released. Commissioned by Ceeda and supported by influential names in the industry, it provides an in-depth analysis of the childcare sector. The report provides important and valuable information for everyone working in the childcare sector. Here we bring you the headlines of the findings.
A fall in numbers
The number of non-domestic childcare providers has remained stable. The latest report shows that the number of registered Childminders has dropped again. There is a worrying trend with increasing numbers of Childminders closing their doors over the past 5 years.
With much of the legislative workload being done outside of working hours, Childminders have long since felt the pressure of their work taking a toll on their personal lives. Now with the introduction of 30 hours of funded childcare and the financial pressures this brings, will we see the numbers of active childminders decrease further?
Worryingly, the report confirms that 31% of the Childminders questioned were not confident that they would still be operating in 12 months time. The benefit of quality Childminders to children and families is obvious.
Will Ministers stop to analyse the recent report findings and take action to prevent further losses to the industry?
Quality remains high
Despite the issues faced by the sector, quality childcare is still on the rise. 94% of childminders were rated as good or outstanding at the end of March 2018. This is an increase from just 71% 5 years ago. This goes to show the dedication of Childminders in the UK. Despite increasing pressures and financial deficits our Childminders are continuing to provide excellent care and education for the next generation.
Closing the gap
The About Early Years report highlights a really important issue. Children in the most deprived areas are missing out on quality childcare.
The number of childcare places per child in the most deprived LAs has fallen in the past 2 years to just 0.25. This figure is made more alarming when compared to the least deprived areas when there are 0.43 places per child.
There is also a worrying difference in the quality of childcare in these areas. Childminders are twice as likely to be rated Outstanding in the least deprived areas compared to the most deprived areas. So how does this affect attainment and closing the gap?
In 2017, just 56% of children known to be eligible for free school meals achieved a good level of development at the end of reception. This is compared to 73% of all other children. The About Early Years’ report confirms that the progress in narrowing the gap between the average performance of all children and the 20% lowest attaining children has halted. A separate report by the Education Policy Institute suggests that it will take well over a hundred years to close the gap by the end of secondary school.
We are failing the children that need us most.
This report provides robust research and accurate data that clearly shows the issues faced by the Childcare Sector at the moment. We can only hope that those in power take note and make positive changes for the good of our children and those who do such a great job of working with them.
The About Early Years Annual Report is available to download here.