Ofsted attempting to tackle huge drop in number of childminders

Ofsted has launched its updated online registration system for Early Years settings in England, a desperately needed digital makeover to tackle the fall in the number of childminders.

Ofsted
Ofsted

Government figures show that in just 10 years, the industry has lost 24,200 childminders, representing a loss of over 40%.

According to Ofsted, there were 38,500 childminders registered with Ofsted on August 31st 2019. Numbers have been falling over an extended period and were down by 500 (1%) since March 31st 2019, and by 9,500 (20%) since August 31st 2015.

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However, Ofsted’s new registration system, which while not altering the documents and training required, marks a significant step towards reigniting enthusiasm for establishing a childminding business, according to national childcare provider Yoopies.

A spokesman for Yoopies said: "Historically, childminders have had little support to navigate the establishment of their own business.

The registration process has been characterised by an absence of clarity with regard to which register to apply for, as well as a serious lack of centralised guidance concerning the documents and training required.

"It is therefore unsurprising that the last ten years have been marked by fewer childminders joining the profession, with many being put-off by the difficulty of the application process itself.

"The new accessible system is a positive step forward which invites and guides applicants, rather than scaring them off."

Ofsted also reported that despite the decreasing numbers of childminders, the number of childcare places increased by 1% since March 31st 2019, due to an increase in the number of places offered at non-domestic premises.