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Nursery leaders have welcomed news from Ofsted that ninety per cent of all nurseries in England are now Good or Outstanding.
Nurseries have continued to improve and the proportion of early years providers with ratings of Good or Outstanding is the highest ever, according to the early years regulator’s latest report.
The North East continues to have the highest proportion (96 per cent) of nurseries judged Good or Outstanding for overall effectiveness and London continues to have the lowest proportion (87 per cent) of nurseries judged Good or Outstanding for overall effectiveness.
The number of nurseries has fallen by 0.8 per cent (207) and the number of childminders has fallen by 1.6 per cent (770). However the number of childcare places has remained stable
In response to the figures, Purnima Tanuku, National Day Nurseries Association’s chief executive said: “Ofsted highlights some great news in this report with 90 per cent of all nurseries now good or outstanding, including those which have been inspected under the new framework since September last year.
“However, the trend for a contraction in the number of nurseries continues, with one per cent fall since December. This is worrying considering the expected increased demand for places once funded childcare for three and four year olds increases to 30 hours and emphasises the importance that Government funding fully covers delivery costs.”
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, also welcomed the news that “the number of providers rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ is continuing to increase, despite the numerous challenges facing the sector”.
He said: “These statistics reflect the continued commitment, passion and dedication of the early years workforce and serve as an effective rebuttal to those who continue to unfairly question the quality of provision delivered by the PVI sector.”
He expressed concern about the decline in childminders and said the Department for Education needs to look at why this is happening.
Liz Bayram, chief executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, also voiced her worries over the fall in numbers of registered childminders, saying: “It is extremely concerning to see the continued decline in the number of registered childminders, particularly given how critical the government has said they will be to delivering the 30 hours offer. We know that childminder agencies are not the answer, and we need urgent action to attract childminders into the sector and to encourage those already working in the profession to stay.”